If you’ve ever seen a kid dressed as a chef in a fancy dress contest, the hat has been the trademark. And if you’ve ever peeked into the kitchen of a restaurant (or if the restaurant was transparent enough to show you the kitchen), you know that kid got it right! White, starched, pleated and towering – a chef’s hat can be intimidating, but what even is going on here? Why Do Chefs Wear Tall Hats?
The most obvious reason
To keep the hair out of our plates, no points for guessing! As the story goes, King Henry VII found a hair in his soup. He got the chef BEHEADED.
Is it legal now to classify this as an overreaction?
Only if Anger Management was a thing back then!
Well, he asked the next chef to always wear a hat, so that his food never, ever comes with a side of hair.
But why not a normal-sized hat?
Like every other institution, the world of cooking comes with hierarchy. Break into a high-end restaurant kitchen and you’ll find a chef or two who is/are wearing the tallest hat. That’s the head chef you’re looking at!
The highest ranking chef will be found wearing the tallest hat and guiding the preparation of all foods. Where does this hat-height stratification emerge from, though? Well, in the 1800s, a famous French chef, Marie-Antonie, decided to introduce the concept of hat height. The toque would be a part of the chef’s uniform and would indicate class and standing. And here’s an interesting fact. The tallest chef hat ever worn by a chef measures 54 INCHES! That’s 1.37 metres. The talented chef who wore this toque is Rob L., and he holds the Guinness World Record for the same. Wonder if he’s the head of the head of the head of the head chef?
But what about those many, many folds on the toque?
Weird as it might sound to us, the number of folds on a chef’s hat indicated the number of ways they knew to prepare eggs. And one chef did know many, in fact, he knew a 100! So he got 100 folds on his hat! In the contemporary, however, the number of folds are more abstract and just signify the chef’s experience, rather than the number of ways they can cook eggs in!
And why are these hats white?
For the simplest reason. The white colour is the cleanest of all colours we know, and would show stains or dirt quickly. So, to assure that their restaurants were clean and hygienic, white toques are used by chefs.
Quite simple, right? Share with your friends who like knowing the reasons behind Why Do Chefs Wear Tall Hats and everything!
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