5 Reasons Chefs Wear Chef Hats

Throughout history, the uniforms of some of the most common jobs have changed, with the chef’s hat being at the center of one of the most dynamic occupations in terms of fashion. In fact, the origins of the chef hat have very unexpected roots. But why do chefs wear hats?

Chefs wear chef hats to show their experience, to keep their hair out of the food, and to be stylish and trendy. This style of hat has been around for many years, starting in the Byzantine Empire, and has served a variety of different purposes in the world of cuisine. 

When it comes to chef hats, it is difficult to share only a few interesting facts. In this article, we will explore five reasons why chefs wear chef hats and discuss everything from the history of the hat to the meaning of the hat. 

Chef Hats Tell How Experienced a Chef Is

One defining characteristic of chef hats is the decorative pleats. In fact, in the earlier days of cuisine in France, the number of pleats on a chef’s hat indicated how many recipes that chef had mastered. For example, if your hat had many pleats, you were likely considered a master chef. 

Chef wearing g a chef hat carrying food
@vedrana2701 via Twenty20

The Height of the Hat Determines the Experience of the Chef

The number of pleats on a chef hat would traditionally determine how experienced a chef was, but the height of the chef’s hat can indicate the experience level of the chef. For example, a very experienced master chef would have a taller hat than a less experienced, beginner-level chef. In fact, early chef hats were built as high as 18 inches (45.72 cm) tall. Today, the average chef hat ranges from just 9 to 12 inches tall (22.86 to 30.48 cm). Read more about the height of chef hats in this article.

Chefs Wear Hats Because It Is a Tradition

The origins of the chef hat date back to the invasion of Greece by the Byzantine Empire in 146 B.C.E. When the invasions first occurred, Greek chefs fled to monasteries nearby to protect themselves and wore the traditional garb of monks in order to fit in, including tall stovepipe hats. 

The Greeks ended up adopting the stovepipe style hat even after the invasions settled. Greek chefs continued to wear this same hat style as a sign of rebellion and fraternity. It is believed, therefore, that the French chef hats that we know today were adopted by the French from the Greek. 

Chef Hats Are Stylish and Trendy

Master chefs certainly have a certain reputation to maintain. In fact, the pleated nature of the chef hat still serves an important role for the modern chef, as the sleek design of the chef’s hat is one of many ways that high-class chefs set themselves apart as respected professionals. Chef out this popular chef hat on Amazon.

Chef Hats Keep Hair Out Of the Food and Eyes

Although many high-class chefs worldwide still prefer to wear the traditional chef hat or toque, others settle for much simpler designs. In the kitchen, it is important that the hair is held back and kept out of the eyes and food. Modern solutions to this issue include everything from a skull cap to a simple net to a baseball cap.


It is no secret that chef hats have a rich and unexpected history. In fact, the chef hat is still very popular today, as chefs worldwide enjoy the sleek design and symbolic undertones of the chef’s hat. A hat that was once used to disguise Greek runaways now serves as a high-class staple of culinary fashion.