Chef Hats in Many Styles
The chef hat is one of the most recognized symbols in the world. Like other chef clothing, it is a sign of quality food, and professional culinary arts. The toque, chef hat is the reward for years of hard work, training and skill that is coveted by professional chefs everywhere.
What is the history of the chef hat?
- The exact history is not known but here are some theories
- In the mid-seventh century, the toque is a traditional chef’s hat was designed in Assyria to look like a crown. This was to flatter the chefs into not poisoning the kings.
- It is said in Ancient Greece the chef hat was presented ceremoniously with a ring of laurel leaves to a chef.
- Another theory is in the 16th century chefs were accused of witchcraft. They sought refuge by creating a chef hat to mimic a bishop’s mitre.
- Standardization finally came when Chef Careme designed the headwear we know today. This chef hat was to establish a clean, sanitary, professional look for the chef.
- The height of the hat indicates the rank of the chef within the kitchen.
- A chef hat, toque has 100 folds. This is said to represent the number of ways a chef knows how to cook an egg.
What is the function of a chef hat?
- The main function of a toque is to keep sweat out of the cook’s eyes.
- The chef hat also keeps hairs from falling into food as it is being prepared and plated
Few chefs wear a traditional toque today. They have been replaced with disposable paper versions. These deliver the same look but have improved circulation and are cleaner. Similar to other apparel, additional non-traditional styles have been developed to perform the same functions. The main purpose remains to keep the chef comfortable and the food safe for consumption. The chapeau remains the symbol of the profession. It signifies the respect that all chefs deserve for being a part of a culinary team.