Although toque describes at least three different hat styles, in the culinary world it refers to the tall white hat worn by a chef. Toques range from pouffy and relaxed to stiff and pleated. They were first worn by chefs in the 1820s.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.