Have you ever looked at a chef and asked this question? Why are chefs hats shaped the way they are? Is it for style, comfort or tradition? I mean, they really do look quite ridiculous, so why wear them?
Well when digging into this question we discovered several possible answers. I’s really rather difficult to distinguish the reason for its odd shape, and it’s possible that it could be for a few different reasons.
Why are chefs hats shaped the way they are?
One possible explanation for the shape it that it allows air to circulate around the scalp. This circulating air helps keep the head cool in a hot kitchen, which would be a great benefit. But there are other explanations too.
The obvious reason for wearing a hat in the kitchen is to keep hair from entering the food. As a patron there’s nothing more gross than finding a stray hair in your meal. It can end a dream for an aspiring chef. The shape, and size of the hat, which is called a toque, offers ample room to conceal all of the hair a chef has. There is a legend that it was born when king Henry VIII’s chef was beginning to go bald. One day he sat down for a meal and found one of the chef’s hairs in it, so he sent the chef to the executioners block. Future chefs, not wanting to meet the same fate, donned this hat. I’m not sure how true this story is, but it certainly would encourage me to cover my locks.
Another that tries to offer an explanation to the question why are chefs hats shaped the way they are dates back to the ancient Assyrians. At that time the chef was a highly regarded man, who was often a close member of the kings court. The king would reward his head chef with his own crown, a hat that resembled a crown.
But there are more theories of why a chefs hat is shaped the way it is. One such theory dates back to the 7th century AD. Because chefs were often among the most intelligent and respected people around, it didn’t often sit well with the common, less intelligent folk. To escape the wrath of the dumb dumbs, they would seek refuge in churches. To stay concealed they would don the same attire as the local priests. But not wanting to ruin their afterlife by pissing off their god, they decided to wear a white hat that was similar to those worn by the clergy of the Greek orthodox church.