It’s all about pride. If you have it in your profession, you will have it in your uniform, no matter what your walk of life. With the Chef’s uniform, there is more at stake than just keeping the uniform clean and white. A dignified look helps generate a feeling of professionalism. When you don the toque, jacket, checkered pants, necktie and apron, you are continuing centuries-old traditions. There are many apocryphal stories about the origin of the chef’s uniform, here are a few of the most popular.
The Toque or Hat – The Chef’s hat, or toque, goes back to ancient times. Thousands of years ago in Assyria, poisoning was a common way for a person to rid himself of enemies. Aware of this problem, Assyrian royalty selected their cooks cautiously. They were entitled to wear a crown of a similar shape to the royal family employing them, although made of cloth and lacking in jewels.
Chef Boucher, Careme’s mentor, who cooked for the Prince of Talleyrand, insisted that everyone in his kitchen wear a white toque for sanitary reasons. It kept hair up and out of the food while absorbing some of the moisture from an overheated brow. The tower of air inside the Chef’s hat kept the head cool in a hot kitchen.
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