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The Chefs Hat

Traditional Chef HatChefs hat are an integral part of a chef’s outfit. Not only are they important for hygienic purposes, but also they symbolize the professionalism of this cooking position. There are a number of styles and designs available depending on preference.

History

The chef hat dates back as far as the Byzantine Empire: Greek cooks in monasteries donned hats which echoed those worn by Orthodox priests. The most well-known chefs hat is the tall torque design. Traditionally, this would contain one hundred pleats which reflected the number of ways a good chef could cook an egg. Today, there has been a move away from this showy head gear to more modern designs, including baseball caps.

Reasoning

The main reason behind a chefs hat, even when first created, is to keep hair out of the way and help prevent any stray hairs from falling into food when it’s being prepared. Many chefs also wear a hair net underneath, and then put a hat over the top for more aesthetic reasons. They are traditionally white, mainly due to the fact that this color shows up stains the most clearly and so is a good indicator when the hat should be cleaned and changed.

Designs

Chefs hats are available in a number of designs and materials. Most are produced from cotton or cotton mixes which stiffen the material. It’s also possible to purchase disposable hats which are made from paper and fiber combinations. Usually, they come as one-size and are elasticized or have adjustable backs with closures or Velcro. Most come in white, black, or with a checkered design. Styles include the following:

•    Traditional: A traditional chefs hat is designed with a wide band and puffed out upper section. Generally, they’re made from cotton so that they can easily be washed and breathe well, which is important for a hot kitchen environment. Most come with a hook and loop adjustable closure so that the size can be changed to accommodate different head sizes.
•    White Chefs Hat: Possibly the most iconic of all chef hats, this one has a wide band with a tall headpiece made from poplin to keep its shape. The height can reach up to 12 inches.
•    Pill Box Cap: The pill box chef cap fits snugly onto the head. They tend to be made from spun-poly twill which has the advantage of lasting longer than cotton-poly.
•    Chefs Mesh Top Skull Cap: Appearing the same in shape to the pill box cap, the main difference it that this one contains a nylon mesh. This mesh allows more ventilation to the head.
•    Chef Tie Back Cap: This is also similar in shape to the pill box cap, but it ties at the back of the head. Again, they tend to be made out of spun-poly for greater durability.

When looking into purchasing a chefs hat, there are numerous styles and colors to choose from. From a tall torque design to a baseball cap, you can find a chef hat to suit you.

A fashion accessory, professional statement, and above all a hygienic necessity, the chefs hat has developed from simply the traditional tall torque style. Today, it’s possible to purchase one in a number of designs and colors to cater to your own tastes.