Sure, chefs have been wearing hats to keep their cool in the kitchen for, well, ever—but in recent years, the humble cap has shifted from mere practicality to a statement of allegiance to other Portland makers and their products:
The one that Ava Gene's made: The classic Jacobsen Salt Co. denim cap rose to max hat popularity when it was tied to the explosion of SE Division restaurant Ava Gene's. Chef Joshua McFadden and his staff sported the caps in all press photos of our 2013 restaurant of the year, and soon the blue hat was seen at dozens of restaurants sprinkling the Oregon-made sea salt—including our 2014 restaurant of the year, Lang Baan and our 2012 restaurant of the year cover girl, Ox. Get your own!
Forest for the Tress: The signature hat of Portland's annual street art festival—bringing even more murals to the Rose City this summer—has been spotted on Departure's Gregory Gourdet. There's a sexy new FFTT logo in the works, so expect to see the new edition of the hat in kitchens starting in August.
Oregon Olive Mill: Salt isn't the only local foodie product that gets its own swag. Dayton's olive oil makers supply Greek, Italian, and Spanish-style oils to restaurants around town, from pop-up Ruchikala to Imperial, and their cap has a fan in former Paley's Place chef Patrick McKee, who can now be found at Laurelhurst Market. Get your own!
Bunk Sandwiches: Sandwich guru Tommy Habetz sports his Bunk empire hat when he's not wearing one from Deschutes or The Tempered Chef in Toronto. Get your own, there are plenty to choose from!
Chop: Charcuterie lovers, unite. The embroidered hat from Portland's indie butcher is a favorite of the meat mavens at Nicky USA, who distribute Chop's savory goods—along with the rest of the region's best game meat, beef, chicken, and more. Get your own!
Canteen: The vegan juice bar and macro-bowl destination on SE Stark is known for its minimalist-cool design, as evidenced by their food pyramid-inspired cap—favorited by Le Pigeon Chef de Cuisine Andrew Mace and LA-based festival favorites Glitch Mob. Get your own!
Lardo: The chosen hat of Little T's Tim Healea, this trucker hat is part of a line of apparel that's perfect for the pork lovers in your life. Get your own!
Woodblock Chocolate: Once a regular wearer of the Jacobsen classic, Salt & Straw's ice cream genius Tyler Malek often sports this chocolatey cap to rep the supplier of the scoop shop's go-to cacao flavor, Freckled Woodblock Chocolate. The smooth and salty flavor also gets a sprinkling of Jacobsen salt, so no hard feelings. Get your own!
SE PDX: Portland-based denim makers Self Edge's initials conveniently read as the shortened form of a restaurant-heavy quadrant of Portland, so this hat has the potential to truly take off. Case in point? It was recently spotted on the hat trendmaker himself, Joshua McFadden of Ava Gene's. Get your own!
Have you spotted these—and other—local hats on chefs around town? Share your sightings in the comments.