Samuel Schiffer lives with noodles in his brain every day, but now he has noodles on his head. While the chef works with the edible version as lead pasta maker at Pasadena’s Semolina Artisanal Pasta, his new clothing line, Mister Parmesan, puts the carbs front and center with bucket hats, T-shirts, stickers, tote bags and caps taking center stage.
“I just stare at pasta all day,” says Schiffer, who launched the line this month with his girlfriend, graphic designer Catherine Soulé. “I just watch these machines extrude hundreds of pounds of pasta in one sitting and all I do is think about pasta. Everything in my brain is pasta all the time.”
The hilarious side project is a natural progression from Schiffer’s day-to-day job making fresh and dried pasta for Semolina’s showcase and restaurant wholesale accounts, as well as managing staff and testing recipes. It was also born out of kitchen necessity: California health and safety regulations require employees who prepare and handle food to wear some form of hair clip. The chef had already spent his career buying hats in the kitchens of AOC, Freedman’s and other LA restaurants and quickly sweated it out. So why not make your own and dedicate it to pasta?
On a whim, Schiffer, 29, asked “What if?” and imagined a Western-style rope script spelling out “spaghetti” in cursive like a tattoo, and Soulé, 30, got to work. Now there are “Bucatini” bucket hats in bubbly neon lettering; Navy and Gold Lasagna Trucker Hats; “ziti” ends where the word is formed with lightning; and a “Linguine” hat, available in black, white, and Dodger Blue. (The previous best-seller, he admits, is the design that started it all: the red dad hat with “spaghetti” rope lettering.)
“I don’t have a fashion background,” says Schiffer. “I have about a half degree in literature from Bard College and I have back problems. That’s basically all I bring to the party.”
However, Soulé has served as an art director or graphic designer for brands such as Goop, Adidas, Pabst Blue Ribbon and Aeropostale, using her skills — usually reserved for advertising and branding — to bring a caned, anthropomorphic top-hat cheesewheel to life.
Inspired by Warner Bros.’ singing and dancing Michigan J. Frog, Mister Parmesan (full name: Delaware J. Parmesan) is the moustachioed, vaudeville-inspired face of the brand. It appears throughout the line’s Instagram account alongside vintage cookbook photos and retro dinner scenes featuring the old-fashioned dishes and dinner guests in pasta attire photoshopped into the vintage photos.
“I think Mister Parmesan is ambitious,” says Schiffer. “I think he’s trying or achieving an idea of sophistication and class, but it’s shrimp and olives in a Jell-O shape. It just felt right.”
In one photo, a corduroy “Rigatoni” hat sits lightly on a lobster Christmas tree-like arrangement; in another, an inverted “Bucatini” bucket hat serves as a bowl for shrimp cocktails. Schiffer hopes to launch a newsletter written as Mister Parmesan, sharing recipes and photos from his own collection of old cookbooks and “recommending restaurants that are weird and old and not cool” or ones steeped in the same vintage aesthetic.
The Mister Parmesan line was launched in early March, with the first orders shipping later this month. The duo hope to stock their pasta fashions at local, hyper-curated corner shops and cookware stores, including Semolina Artisanal Pasta — owner Leah Ferrazzani has already offered to sell them at her Pasadena pasta shop. The brand is trying to keep producing locally and is collaborating with Glendale’s Stitch Art for embroidery and screen printing.
It is planned to continuously bring new designs to the market, e.g. B. shirts with stacked pasta terms printed on them, and expand the range to include items such as slippers and socks. It’s a silly, wearable art project and a declaration of love for pasta, and nothing, they say, is off-limits.
“The amount of stuff that we designed and didn’t put on the site is amazing,” says Schiffer. “We have some really crazy things where we were like, ‘This is too crazy and also too busy for the first run.’ We’ve got so much stupid stuff coming up, you have no idea.”
https://www.latimes.com/food/story/2022-03-10/mister-parmesan-apparel-pasta-lovers Mister Parmesan: A fun new clothing source for pasta lovers