Chef Hats

There are many variations on what chefs wear on top of their heads these days and they range from bandanas to the traditional tall, pleated hat that has been worn by cooks for centuries referred to as the “toque blanche.” A hat’s purpose in the kitchen is generally to prevent sweat and stray chef hairs from falling into the food they are preparing so any design that performs that function is acceptable. The traditional toque blanche began as a fashion item in 13th century France and soon found its way into the kitchen to create an appealing image of the cooks. It has evolved somewhat today and is now a tall, white hat that has a round base and a pleated poof on top. It is said the each pleat represents one way to prepare an egg and many toques have up to a hundred pleats. The white color started to become more prevalent in the middle 1800s as a chef named Marie-Antoine Careme thought is was more suitable in the kitchen to represent a pure, clean environment.