Why do chefs use tall hats? Why not hair nets?
The tradition followed since the 16th century in France, chefs hats are called ‘toque blanche’
Height represents the rank of a chef in those days.
At present, it’s just a tradition and style which is followed – no ranking system with a height of hats.
Toque – is a hat with no brims, and has pleats.
Traditionally different heights in hat indicate a rank within a kitchen, and they are designed to prevent hair from falling into the food when cooking.
In the 1800s the French began using the phrase ‘toque blanche’ to refer to the white hat worn by chefs as part of their uniform.
Chefs hat is called – Toque Blanche (French)
Toque means a ‘brimless and close-fitting hat’
Blanche means ‘white’
The reason for the tall and pleated shape of the ‘toque blanche’, however, has to do with skill and rank rather than hygiene. The pleats in a chef’s hat, back in the day, were said to represent the number of ways the chef wearing it could cook an egg - 100 pleats being the ultimate goal and badge of honor, denoting the skill, experience, and rank of the chef.
The color white was perceived as the most hygienic of colors, which helped to portray a sense of cleanliness in the kitchen.