One of the great things about working in a kitchen is the tradition!
As the story goes... in the seventh century A.D., chefs in Assyria wore crown-like hats that differentiated them from other kitchen help. It seems that kings were being poisoned by indignant chefs, so in order to placate them and make them feel special they were presented with a unique piece of headgear.
Fact or Fiction?
One tale from Henry the VIII’s era said that when King Henry found a hair in his soup, the king, so to speak, lost his head. Or rather, someone else did. The owner of the hair, a cook, was beheaded, and his replacement was politely requested to wear a hat to prevent further issue.
Adding a Bit of Taste
In the 1800s in France, a chef named Marie-Antoine CarÃªme decided that chefs deserved a specific uniform, and white was his color of choice, since it signified cleanliness in the kitchen.
Each rank in the kitchen had a different height hat. The chef, being the highest ranking of all the brigade, wore the tallest hat.
How Many Pleats ?
Their origin came from the idea that the more experience a chef had, the more pleats his hat had. A pleat could signify a technique or recipe he had mastered.
At one time, a chef had 100 pleats in his hat to signify the 100 ways he knew how to prepare eggs!
Today, the chef hat or toque blanche - French for "white hat" remains a symbol of authority and knowledge, and few pieces of headgear are as recognizable as the traditional white hat that many chefs today still embrace as their own.
Chefs Brigade are proud to manufacture a traditional cloth hat in two variants of height.