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Fun Facts About Chef Hats

By Author: Daniel Carters
Total Articles: 2

Chef hats have been around for centuries; in fact, they first started to appear in Assyria about 500 BC At that stage, the Assyrian Empire, which was one of the most powerful empires in history was having problems with cooks killing off the royalty by poisoning their food, whether or not for their own advantage or on behalf of another who sort power, it is unclear. The rulers decided because this was such a problem they would elevate the status of their head cooks so they became known as kitchen chiefs (nowadays chef’s) and were presented with a unique style of headgear that was similar to a kings crown to help distinguish them from other kitchen workers.

At this time most people were illiterate and the only ones who could read were the professionals such as engineers chefs monks and nobles. This cause Head Cooks (kitchen Chiefs) to be considered intellectuals who were at that time were often persecuted by the people.

For their own safety when not working head cooks (kitchen chiefs) found refuge in the Greek Orthodox Church. They wore disguises of monks robes and caps, which eventually evolved into a very early version of the traditional chef’s uniform.

Toque Blanche

The modern day white chef’s hat or “toque Blanche” which is the most commonly seen chef’s hat in Melbourne is thought to have originated from the days of King Henry the VIII. Apparently, he was annoyed with a hair in his food so ordered the beheading of the cook responsible. Since then cooks many cooks prefer to wear a hat to avoid this issue and being beheaded. This hat eventually became the well known chef hat of today.

The Beret and Skull Caps

The exact way the Beret and skull caps same about is not known, although there are some records that tell of cooks in English monasteries during the 17th century liked wearing the old discarded black skull caps of the monks

During the 18th century, it was uncommon for cooks to wear hats or chef uniforms, those that are known were shapeless white caps.

Most people agree that the modern black skull hat seen in many Australian kitchens became popular in the mid 19th century, when Alexis Soyer started wearing one while he was the Maitre Chef des Cuisines of the very famous and renowned Reform Club in London.

Soyer, worked with Florence Nightingale during the Crimea war to improve the standard of food supplied to soldiers in the military hospitals and his familiar black skull cap known as the “Soyer Boiler” was then adopted my cooks in the armed services right up until the 1960’s.

In England, at that time the Maitre Chef des Cuisine or what is now called the Executive Chef were the only ones permitted to wear the black skullcap or the similar beret. At that time females were prohibited from taking a chef apprenticeship a rule that fortunately has long been stopped.


The most common chef’s hat in Melbourne, the “toque Blanche” can trace its origins back to the cooks of the Assyria period about 500BC and the monks of the Greek Orthodox Church. The Beane, the beret and skill cap were first made popular in the 1804’s in the armed services hospitals.

More About the Author

Aussie Chef Clothing Company is Australia’s trusted and first choice for high quality chef uniforms, chef clothing and front of house aprons. https://www.aussiechef.com.au

Total Views: 32Word Count: 534See All articles From Author

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