Professionalism, Uniform, and Hygiene Policy

Professionalism

As professionals at The Culinary Institute of America, we are constantly working to enhance the status of the hospitality industry. Students, faculty, staff, and alumni all share a common pride in their work, workplace, and appearance. We have all chosen the hospitality industry as our vocation. It is an ancient and respected profession. It takes many years of hard work, training, dedication, and tenacity to become a leader in this industry, but it takes only a few moments to dress, act, and think like a professional. The following standards of conduct are expected of anyone who aspires to be regarded as a professional in the hospitality industry.

Professionals:

  • refrain from abusive and foul language;
  • speak and act without prejudice to race, color, creed, religion, age, gender, disability, ethnicity, veteran status, marital status, or sexual orientation;
  • demonstrate and adhere to ethical business practices, with due respect for customers and colleagues;
  • promote understanding and respect for those alcoholic beverages used in the hospitality industry;
  • refrain from the abuse of drugs and alcohol;
  • treat all equipment and property with respect as if personal property;
  • are polite and courteous to all visitors, peers, and colleagues;
  • work with a positive attitude;
  • dedicate themselves to learning;
  • stay open-minded to the opinions of others;
  • share knowledge with others;
  • act reliably and dependably; and
  • act with honesty and integrity in their interactions with all people.

Personal Hygiene

Every professional in the culinary field should be acutely aware of the necessity to maintain the highest standards of personal hygiene and to present a businesslike appearance at all times. In the early stages of your program, you are issued a ServSafe® textbook, which discusses personal hygiene in detail. It is the responsibility of all foodservice professionals to bathe or shower, practice oral hygiene, and use deodorant daily.

Food Safety and Kitchen Sanitation

The CIA has developed comprehensive food safety and sanitation programs. You are responsible for food safety and food preparation area sanitation as an integral part of your learning experience, and are expected to abide by the guidelines set forth in each food production area. You are expected to taste food in kitchens using tasting spoons. Eating is allowed only in designated dining areas. Drinking liquid from a closed container and away from the workstation is the only acceptable way to consume liquids in kitchens and classrooms.

Uniform Care

You are expected to wear your uniform with pride and make sure it is neat and clean at the start of each class. Sitting on the floor, the ground, or the stairs in your uniform is not acceptable. The maintenance of your appearance is a professional matter; therefore, you are responsible for laundering and ironing your own uniform. For students living on campus, laundry facilities are located in each residence hall for your convenience. Alterations to your uniform are your responsibility. In the event uniforms do not fit properly, return them within five days of receiving them to Central Issuing in Roth Hall. New uniforms will be issued within five days.

The Student Dress Code

General

Promoting an environment where students learn to dress professionally is one of the ways in which the CIA helps its graduates achieve success. As such, the students, faculty, and administration of the college share the responsibility to maintain a Student Dress Code. While we present the code as a set of rules and requirements, we aspire to create a culture of enthusiastic cooperation and self-governance among the student body itself. The Student Dress Code must be observed in all academic buildings on days, and during hours, that the campus is open for student and/or public access:

  • Roth Hall, McCann Center, East Wing, Colavita Center, Admissions Center, Marriott Pavilion

The following are standards that are required when attending any class, or accessing any academic buildings:

  • You must be clean-shaven, with sideburns not exceeding the middle of the ear for men. Beards are not permitted.
  • Mustaches must be neatly trimmed and must not extend beyond the corner of the lips.
  • Facial jewelry (including spacers, gauges, etc.), in eyebrows, eyelids, lips, tongue, upper ear, or nose, is not permitted, and covering (with bandages, etc.) jewelry in place, such as piercings, is not acceptable.
  • Sheer or see-through clothing is not permitted.
  • Colored or logo T-shirts are not permitted.
  • Leather or denim clothing (of any color) is not permitted.
  • Hats, other than CIA-issued chef's toques, are not to be worn.
  • In all instances, hair must be of a natural color, groomed, and clean.
  • Headphones are not acceptable in class, nor in hallways and public contact areas.
Chef's Uniform
  • CIA-issued cleaned and pressed chef's checkered pants of proper fit, neither pegged nor cuffed. Pants must be hemmed above the natural heel and below the ankle.
  • CIA-issued cleaned and pressed white chef's jacket embroidered with your name. Sleeves of the chef's jacket may be folded only to the wrist, except in cases where practicality of the work being done requires otherwise.
  • CIA-approved clean white neckerchief.
  • CIA-issued clean white hat.
  • CIA-issued cleaned and pressed apron.
  • Black or white socks (only), which cover the ankle.
  • One plain ring and one watch are the only jewelry permitted. A CIA-issued group leader or student government pin will be permitted on the right front collar of the uniform.
  • In addition, veteran students are permitted to wear a CIA-issued pin that indicates their branch of service alongside the American flag. This pin must be worn on the left front collar of the uniform.
  • White undergarments are required for both men and women—colors or logos are not permitted.
  • The breast pocket of the chef's jacket may only contain one clip-on pen, one clip-on thermometer, and notecards or a small notebook.
  • Fingernails should be short, trimmed, clean, neat, and free of polish.
  • For sanitation reasons, gloves, aprons, side towels, and hats are not worn during certain activities that might lead to contamination (i.e., going to the restroom, taking out the garbage), as well as in non-class activities such as entering or leaving academic buildings, or eating meals in student dining rooms.
  • For safety reasons, wallet chains, visible key rings, and straps are not permitted.
  • All students in culinary (including meat and fish fabrication) and baking classes must wear clean, polished, black, sturdy work shoes that provide support to stand and work for long hours. They must have a closed back, non-slip soles, and black laces (when applicable).
  • Hair must be restrained above the collar in a professional manner, with solid white or black hair restraints, barrettes, or scrunchies.
  • Anything not specified in this section may not be worn with the uniform. Uniforms must be complete and worn as designed.
Hospitality and Service Management Uniforms for Culinary Arts
  • Clean and pressed white dress shirt.
  • White undergarments are required for both men and women—colors or logos are not permitted.
  • CIA-issued ties are required.
  • CIA-issued pressed bistro apron and properly fitting CIA-issued black vest.
  • Clean and pressed black skirt (no more than two inches above the knee) with hosiery for women, or trousers for women and men. Pants must be hemmed above the natural heel and below the ankle. No jeans, pants with grommets, or leggings. Pants should not be taper fitted, but have a flow of hemmed trousers/slacks.
  • Plain flesh-colored or black hosiery (no prints or seams) with skirts for women.
  • Plain black socks (above the ankle) with trousers for men and women.
  • Clean, black, polished, leather, low-heeled dress shoes or closed-black clogs. Shoes must be slip-resistant.
  • One plain ring and one watch are the only pieces of jewelry permitted. Spacers and gauges are not permitted. No facial/dermal piercings.
  • Two black click pens (no logo), one de-crumber, and one corkscrew must be carried in the apron pocket.
  • Fingernails must be short, trimmed, clean, neat, and free of polish.
  • If pants have belt loops, a solid black belt is required.
  • Hair must be restrained in a professional manner and off the face, with solid white or black hair restraints, barrettes, or scrunchies.
  • For safety reasons, wallet chains, visible key rings, and straps are not permitted.
  • No excessive makeup, cologne, aftershave, or detectable sprays and lotions.
Hospitality and Service Management Uniforms for Baking & Pastry Arts
  • Clean and pressed café chef's jacket
  • White undergarments are required for both men and women—colors or logos are not permitted
  • CIA-issued black bistro apron.
  • Clean and pressed black skirt with hosiery for women, or trousers for women and men. Pants must be hemmed above the natural heel and below the ankle. No jeans, pants with grommets, or leggings. Pants should not be taper fitted, but have a flow of hemmed trousers/slacks.
  • Plain flesh-colored or black hosiery (no prints or seams) with skirts for women.
  • One plain ring and one watch are the only jewelry permitted.
  • Fingernails must be short, trimmed, clean, neat, and free of colored polish.
  • Clean, black, polished, low-heeled dress shoes or closed-back clogs. Shoes must be slip-resistant.
  • Hair must be restrained in a professional manner and off the face, with hair restraints or barrettes.
  • For safety reasons, wallet chains, visible key rings, and straps are not permitted.
  • No excessive makeup, cologne, aftershave, perfumes, or detectable sprays or lotions.
Student Maître d'Hôtel Uniform
  • Traditional business suit, or jacket, tie, and trousers for men.
  • Traditional business suit, dress, or skirt/blouse combination for women. No jeans, pants with grommets, or leggings. Pants should not be taper fitted, but have a flow of hemmed trousers/slacks.
  • Clean and pressed dress-style shirts appropriate to the suit worn.
  • Flesh-colored or dark hosiery/dark socks (that cover the ankle) only.
  • Clean and polished dress shoes. Platform shoes and those with excessive heels (more than two inches) are unsafe and are not acceptable.
  • Jewelry accessories permitted—one post or stud earring per earlobe, one necklace, one watch, one brooch/pin, one ring, and one bracelet. Leather and cloth jewelry are not permitted.
Liberal Arts and Business Management/Hospitality Classes: Freshman and Sophomore Years
  • Students in all associate degree classes wear the required culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, or hospitality and service uniform.
Liberal Arts and Business Management/Hospitality Classes: Junior and Senior Years
  • Traditional business attire, such as suits, dresses, and sport coats, is recommended.
  • Ironed or pressed pants or skirts may be worn. Skirts need to be no shorter than two inches above the knee. Pants must be hemmed or cuffed. No shorts or capri pants. Leggings worn under clothing are acceptable.
  • Students are expected to dress neatly with clean and pressed shirts tucked in as appropriate. Turtlenecks and collared polo shirts are acceptable. T-shirts, or undershirts worn as outerwear, are not acceptable. Tops revealing bare shoulders, midriff, or cleavage are not permissible.
  • A sweater, tie, or sport jacket may be worn along with a collared shirt or turtleneck.
  • Shoes must be appropriate for wear at a professional business meeting. Sneakers, hiking sandals, shower shoes (flip-flops), or bedroom slippers, for example, are not acceptable. Platform shoes and those with excessive heels (more than two inches) are unsafe and unacceptable. Open-toe dress shoes for women may be worn; however, due to health and safety codes, they are not allowed in kitchens at any time, so plan accordingly.
  • Jewelry accessories are permitted; however, in the spirit of encouraging a professional environment, discretion is advised.
  • No sheer or see-through clothing is permitted.

Guidelines for Graduation Dress

In recognition of the commitment to professionalism and hospitality, students are expected to wear the following at graduation:

Associate Degrees
  • Flesh-colored or dark hosiery/dark socks only.
  • Clean and polished black dress shoes.
  • Black trousers, or black knee-length skirts for women (no short skirts or leggings).
  • CIA-issued, cleaned and pressed white graduation chef jacket buttoned to the top.
  • CIA-issued clean, white paper hat.
  • Hair must be a natural color, groomed, and clean. Hair colors such as green, blue, or pink, as well as outlandish hairstyles such as Mohawk cuts, are unacceptable.
Bachelor's Degrees
  • CIA-issued black cap and gown.
  • Dark, solid-colored pants for men.
  • Flesh-colored or dark hosiery/dark socks only.
  • Clean and polished black dress shoes for both men and women.
  • Hair must be a natural color, groomed, and clean. Hair colors such as green, blue, or pink, as well as outlandish hairstyles such as Mohawk cuts, are unacceptable

Additional Considerations

  • Outerwear (sweaters, coats, hoodies, and sweatshirts) may not be worn into the kitchens or bakeshops. Please use the lockers provided to store these items.
  • Students with injuries that require casts, crutches, slings or other aids for temporary conditions that significantly impair mobility cannot take culinary, baking, or table service courses. Student Financial and Registration Services will make every effort to place the student in an appropriate business management course.
  • Students with hand cuts and lacerations must obtain clearance from the Health Services Office to attend kitchen and bakeshop classes.
  • For the fish butchery room, white turtlenecks or white thermal shirts may be worn without a neckerchief. This is the only area that this substitution may be made.
  • White cotton headbands may be worn in hot weather. However, no portion of the headband should be visible under the chef's hat, and the headband must be removed when the chef's hat is removed.

Facial Hair Variance—Religious Beliefs

If you are unable to shave facial hair because of religious beliefs/customs, you must submit the appropriate documentation in writing to the Student Affairs Office. The associate vice president—dean of student affairs will then review your documentation and, if approved, issue you a variance. This letter must be carried on your person at all times.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

While you are in academic buildings on days the campus is open, the uniform and dress code must be adhered to, and will be enforced. You need to be in proper attire to be admitted to the Roth Hall dining rooms or self-service meal lines. The penalties for non-compliance with the dress code are consistent for all classes at the CIA:

  • Of your final grade, 10% will be for Professionalism, Uniform, and Hygiene. The professor will assess each violation of the policy while you are in the class.
  • You risk the possibility of having demerits issued.
  • If you are non-compliant, you will be dismissed from class to make the needed corrections.

You can avoid these penalties by demonstrating professionalism in all you do.