The chef hat is also referred to as a toque blanche (white hat) and it is a widely recognized element of a chef's uniform. In fact, a chef hat is one of the most recognizable hats in the world. Intended to cover the entire upper head, the chef hat helps to prevent any stray hairs from getting into the food that is being prepared in the kitchen. The many folds that can be found on an original chef hat are believed to represent the many ways that an egg an be cooked. Many chef hats are made with exactly 100 pleats on them.
The roots of chef hats are often traced back to stocking caps that were worn by French chefs in the18th-century. The color of these stocking caps represented the rank or job of the person wearing it.
As a functionable article of work wear, a chef hat is similar to a hair net. Chef hats are usually made out of materials such as starched cotton, cotton blends, and paper. Chef hats are traditionally 9 to12 inches in height with vertical pleats, however they vary greatly. Disposable chef hats that are made from paper can be discarded once they become soiled, and are quickly becoming popular among chefs throughout the world.
Chef hats are available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes to differentiate chefs from cooks. While the hats that are worn by chefs are long or high, cooks generally wear shorter caps while working. Most chef hats are available with Velcro or elastic closures so you can fit them firmly on your head. Because it is usually hot in a restaurant kitchen, some chef hats also have a mesh on the inside to allow heat to dissipate.
Most people associate chef hats with the color white, however today, chef hats are available in a wide array of: styles, colors, fabrics and designs. The latest trend in modern chef hats is to use them as a means for the chefs to express themselves. The latest styles in chef hats combine style with functionality and include such things as: skullcaps, beanies, puffy pizza maker caps, baseball caps and berets.