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Not so sure why it is long and white ;\) but as a chef we always had to wear hats for hygiene reasons. This was to keep hair etc out of the food. Part of the OHS in Oz. And to....

To distinguish chefs from ordinary cooks, chefs chose to wear tall hats leaving the cooks to wear short hats, much like a cap. It has been said that the folded pleats of a toque, an established characteristic of the chef's hat, were added to indicate the more than 100 ways in which a chef could cook an egg!
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