The Fascinating Reason Why There Are 100 Folds in a Chef's Hat

Nick White/iStock via Getty Images
Nick White/iStock via Getty Images

There are two things you might not know about a chef’s hat, those towering and pleated white caps that are part and parcel of a gastronomical genius’s uniform. First, the correct name is a chef’s toque, the French word for "hat." Second, they usually have exactly 100 folds. And that number is for a good reason.

According to Bon Appétit, it's often said that the number of folds represent the number of ways you can prepare an egg.

To dig into the origins of this culinary mythology, it helps to know where chef toques came from. While history is slightly fuzzy on their definitive origin, one tale involves Greek chefs fleeing from Byzantine invaders around 146 BCE and taking refuge in monasteries, where the tall stovepipe-style hats of the monks helped them blend in. After the need for a disguise was gone, the chefs continued wearing the hats as a fraternal kind of attire.

Much later, in the 1800s, the toque blanche (white hat) was a common sight in kitchens and linked to the belief that white symbolized cleanliness. The idea was allegedly propagated by the chef for Charles Talleyrand, the first French prime minister. In the early days of French cuisine, the number of pleats were intended to represent the number of recipes a chef had mastered for a given food, like egg or chicken. Having a hat with 100 pleats meant you were a master chef.

This idea also applied to the height of the hat. The taller the toque, the more a chef knew. If you saw a chef with a towering cap, you could be sure they were likely the head of the kitchen. Marie Antoine Carême, considered a pioneering French chef in the 1800s, was said to have worn one 18 inches in height—so tall it needed cardboard support.

Toques aren’t necessarily standard attire anymore, but they still represent a devotion to the craft of cooking, and both their frills and height speak to a long tradition of mastering the art. After all, anyone who knows 100 different ways to prepare an egg is surely a fork to be reckoned with.

[h/t Bon Appétit]

The ChopBox Smart Cutting Board Has a Food Scale, Timer, and Knife Sharper Built Right Into It

ChopBox
ChopBox

When it comes to furnishing your kitchen with all of the appliances necessary to cook night in and night out, you’ll probably find yourself running out of counter space in a hurry. The ChopBox, which is available on Indiegogo and dubs itself “The World’s First Smart Cutting Board,” looks to fix that by cramming a bunch of kitchen necessities right into one cutting board.

In addition to giving you a knife-resistant bamboo surface to slice and dice on, the ChopBox features a built-in digital scale that weighs up to 6.6 pounds of food, a nine-hour kitchen timer, and two knife sharpeners. It also sports a groove on its surface to catch any liquid runoff that may be produced by the food and has a second pull-out cutting board that doubles as a serving tray.

There’s a 254nm UVC light featured on the board, which the company says “is guaranteed to kill 99.99% of germs and bacteria" after a minute of exposure. If you’re more of a traditionalist when it comes to cleanliness, the ChopBox is completely waterproof (but not dishwasher-safe) so you can wash and scrub to your heart’s content without worry. 

According to the company, a single one-hour charge will give you 30 days of battery life, and can be recharged through a Micro USB port.

The ChopBox reached its $10,000 crowdfunding goal just 10 minutes after launching its campaign, but you can still contribute at different tiers. Once it’s officially released, the ChopBox will retail for $200, but you can get one for $100 if you pledge now. You can purchase the ChopBox on Indiegogo here.

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Move Over, Mister Softee: Margarita Trucks Are Bringing Cocktails to Your Doorstep

The margarita man cometh.
The margarita man cometh.
Camrocker/iStock via Getty Images

If anything could possibly rival the appearance of an ice cream truck on a sweltering day, it would be the sight of a similar automobile emblazoned with the word margarita heading down your street.

Residents of San Antonio, Texas, can now make that dream a reality. La Gloria, a restaurant owned by chef Johnny Hernandez, is bringing its signature margaritas and other popular menu items right to people’s doorsteps by way of bright pink “Margarita Trucks.”

MySA reports that the first truck has already started making deliveries within 3 miles of Crockett Park in downtown San Antonio, but additional trucks will venture as far as Dominion, Stone Oak, Alamo Heights, and other neighborhoods in the coming days.


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“Today, safety is top of mind for everyone, and many of our customers are simply not ready to dine out,” Hernandez said, according to KSAT.com. “However, we know that doesn’t mean they don’t crave one of our famous margaritas.”

Those famous margaritas include La Gloria’s house recipe (on the rocks or frozen), as well as a variety of other refreshing flavors like prickly pear, mango, cucumber, and strawberry. The truck will also be stocked with a selection of taco kits and snacks like street corn, chips, salsa, and queso, and customers must purchase at least one food item with their alcoholic beverage.

Unlike ice cream trucks, the margarita trucks won’t exactly be cruising around town, ready to pull over for any spontaneous customer. Instead, they’ll operate more like regular food delivery services—you have to order and pay online in advance, and there’s an order minimum of $40.

While you’re waiting for some enterprising restaurateur to launch a fleet of margarita trucks in your city, learn how to make your own margarita at home with these priceless tips from a cocktail pro.

[h/t mySA]