There are several stories on how the origins of ’toque’ or the tall white hats worn by chefs came about. Let’s look at some of them here.
Chefs as Learned Men
Chefs are creative people who have mastered the art of chemistry (mixing the right ingredients together), physics (how to adjust the fire, heat or steaming accordingly when cooking) and even science of nutrition when churning out the dishes. Top chefs are celebrities in their own right. They dish out delicious palatable food for those who appreciate them.
In the 7th century Greece, chefs were considered learned men but were often persecuted. They sought refuge in the local church, where they donned the same costumes that the local clergy were wearing, hats and all, as a disguise. Eventually, not wanting to incur the wrath of God any more than the wrath of the local people, they started wearing white hats instead of the black hats worn by Greek Orthodox priests, and the toque was born.
(Source: “Some homes win places in movies”. Rebecca Jones News Staff Writer. 10 December 2000. Rocky Mountain News. Last accessed on 2 August 2011)
Chefs as high officials in society
In the times of the ancient Assyrians, personal chefs of royalty were in great regard. As trusted cooks to the royal household who feared saboutages of poisoned food, the chefs wore a `crown’ of sorts, in the same shape as the king’s, though made out of cloth and without all of those bothersome jewels.
(Source: The great toque controversy. Caroline E. Mayer, Washington Post Service. 10 May 1991. Austin American-Statesman. Last accessed on 2 August 2011).
All articles were extracted from the online database Factiva which is accessible at our eresources link.
Some recommended readings
Some recipes books by top chefs for your gastronomical pleasure.
1. Gourmet chic Asia: hot chefs, hip cuisines, top tables, signature recipes
Authors: Pauline D. Loh, Sylvia Tan, Amy Van et.al
Publisher: Singapore : Editions Didier Millet, c2010
Call No.: SING English 641.095 LOH
2. Now eat this! diet
Author: Rocco DiSpirito
Publisher: New York : Grand Central Life & Style, c2011
Call No.: English 641.5635 DIS -[COO]
3. Jamie’s 30-minute meals
Publisher: London : Michael Joseph, 2010
Author: Jamie Oliver
Call No.: English 641.555 OLI -[COO]
To check the titles’ availability in the libraries, please visit our online catalogue.
Posted by Kweh Soon Huat, Adults & Young People’s Librarian.