The Chef’s Hat, or toque, has always been a sign of tradition and ranking. The tallest hat in the kitchen is usually donned by the Executive Chef. It denotes leadership, expertise, respect, and authority. Today, many restaurant kitchens across the world have evolved and not everyone wears the tall chimney-shaped hat. As a result, there are a wide variety of chef’s hats on the market, some still traditional and some more modern.
If the hat is going to be worn in a working kitchen, the style will be dictated by the chef. If the hat is for home use, pick up a hat that you will feel comfortable in and that matches your personality and style. The style of hat you are going to wear is a matter of preference. Here are some of the best chef hat picks.
Tall White Chef’s Hat
For the traditional kitchen, you have the Classic French Oval Top with pleats. The hat is disposable and made from non-woven durable material and comes in a 10-pack. Available in white only.
Classic Chef Hat
The second option for traditional kitchen hats is the Classic Chef Hat. It’s a shorter, puffier version of the tall chef’s hat. This hat is made of a machine-washable polyester and cotton blend and has an auto-adjusting elastic band for an easy fit. Available in white or black.
The Skull Cap is a style of beanie that fits tightly around the head and helps absorb sweat. It is made with a soft and comfortable polyester-cotton blend. It has a mesh top for breathability and is a durable construction with reinforced stitching. Available in a variety of colors.
The Beanie Cap is a loose-fitting hat with a built-in adjustable elastic band. It is a washable cotton blend with a mesh top that is breathable, comfortable, and washable. Available in a variety of colors.
The Baseball Cap is a favorite among most modern kitchens. Most ball caps are made of cotton and have an adjustable strap in the back for a comfortable fit. The best part about this hat is that any baseball hat works from your favorite sports team to your favorite brand. The options are near endless.
A Brief History of Chef Hats
Chefs all over the world have learned the history of the toque. There is much debate on whether the hat originated during the Byzantine era or was created in the 1800s. Either way, the chef’s hat is a symbol of hierarchy and knowledge. The tall white hat with pleats on it used to indicate how many recipes a chef knew or the many ways to cook an egg.
Anyone walking into a professional kitchen would immediately know who was in charge. The white color of the hat was to represent hygiene and cleanliness. The toque is worn in some kitchens today and still signifies the chain of command. Most modern kitchens have adopted the use of skull caps, beanies, bandanas, and even baseball caps.
What Does a Chef’s Hat Do?
The chef’s hat and chef apron are part of the overall uniform. Aside from indicating who is in charge, a chef’s hat is a practical and safe way to prevent hair, sweat, or any other foreign object from falling into the food being prepared.
What Are the Best Chef’s Hats?
The best chef’s hats are going to depend on the type of kitchen you are working in. For example, if you are working in a 4- or 5-star restaurant, a palace, or a resort, you may be required to wear the traditional or classic toque. Some kitchens are more relaxed than others and you may be able to wear a more popular, yet still functional hat.
We would be remiss if we didn’t give an honorable mention to the bandana, a type of handkerchief used as a hat. They come in a variety of colors typically in a paisley pattern. They are washable and can be worn in several different ways.
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