Chef hats are an important part of the Chef’s uniform, and are referred to as a toque blanche. The word toque means ‘brimless hat’, while the word blanche in French means ‘white’.
Chef Hats, or Toques, are supposed to have 100 pleats, which symbolize the number of ways that a chef knows how to prepare an egg. While these days the Chef hat may not have that many pleats, it is still used to represent the Chef’s professionalism and experience, with the Chef Hats becoming taller with seniority. For example, a Head Chef may have a very tall toque, while an assistant chef will have a shorter one, and a mere cook or kitchen staff would wear skull caps, thus depicting the rankings of the chefs.
Chef Hats, provide protection and a hygienic working environment to prepare food, by preventing hair and sweat from falling into the food being prepared by the Chef.
In recent times, while Chefs may wear the tall toque during functions or events, for everyday use they prefer to wear something simple, as the traditional hat provides less air circulation and comfort to the chef who is working. On these lines, many chefs these days are preferring to wear paper disposable chef hats, as they provide greater absorption of sweat and greater comfort for the wearer. Paper Disposable Chef Hats also offer a greater sense of elegance and professionalism.
Whether it is made of fabric or paper, Chef hats are an important aspect of the Chef’s uniform. A chef is easily recognizable when they are wearing their toque or other Chef hat, and as we said before their ranking in the kitchen and their experience and know-how can be distinguished from the hat they are wearing. When you see a chef wearing a nice crisp clean uniform and hat, you can be assured of the strictest hygiene being practiced in that kitchen, building confidence with customers.