What's the origin of the chef's hat?


Thought there was a thread already for this 1999 Staff Report, but couldn’t find it.

I noticed a misspelling in the first paragraph: “The chef’s hat originated when a royal cook in the emply of King Henry VIII started going bald.”

I heard a completely different origin story.

To avoid hair in the cookery, chefs would wear a kerchief. In busy kitchens this got hot, so the stiff wrap with the pleated top was adopted to provide an air space to help stay cool.

They all have the sense of possibility.

Actually Cecil wrote on page 25 of Return of the Straight Dope–(WHAT? You don’t have a copy–for shame)

. This was from a column in the Reader before 1994.

Note that in VegForLife’s 1999 report said “…when chefs were considered learned men…” and “…took refuge in the local church…” , his reach exceeding his grasp.

So why is it called a “toque”, and does this have any relation to the name of the standard Canadian knitted cap?

It’s an old word, found in many Romance languages, meaning “cap”, and, yes, the Canadian ski hat is another use of the word.