Beyond the telltale blisters, oven burns, gouges, nicks, and corkscrew cuts, many Los Angeles food professionals are covered with more than just the everyday war wounds. Food tattoos are as common and as cool as Japanese knives–check out this season of Top Chef, for example. Chefs these days have as much ink as the occupants of most prison yards. Where do they get them? We asked around to see where chefs in this town go for their tattoos.
Chef Octavio Becerra of Glendale's Palate Food + Wine brandishes a Japanese Masamoto knife tattoo on his right forearm, thanks to the talents of LA tattoo artist, Craig Jackman of American Electric Tattoo Company in Hollywood. Becerra's first tattoo, an image of a hungry mouth feeding itself, was inked over twenty years ago at Sunset Tattoo. What's next? “A beautiful wine key on my left forearm,” Becerra says. “That way I have the whole food and wine thing coming together.”
Matthew De Marte, manager at Providence Restaurant, chose to go a more utilitarian route with his food tattoos. “They're all of household tools,” De Marte says. “A cheese grater, a Cuisinart, and a cork screw.” His tattoo of a classic cheese grater-an image that pays respect to his grandmother who first taught him to cook-and the Cuisinart were both done at the Tattoo Asylum. De Marte's wine key tattoo was done at Hollywood Tattoo.
Executive Chef Carolyn Spence of Chateau Marmont and Bar Marmont, has blooming flowers, fall leaves, and a comical representation of mirepoix that cover her arms. The quirky food tattoo of an onion, a carrot and a bunch of celery “doing the whole hear no evil thing,” Spence says, was created by Craig Jackman of American Electric. The artist created the image after talking with Spence and created a cartoon image of a carrot that hears no evil, a celery that speaks no evil, and an onion that sees no evil. “Because it's crying.” Spence adds.
If you're looking to devote permanent real-estate on your body to a food-based obsession, we offer this restaurant employee-approved list of LA tattoo shops and artists.
1.Craig Jackman at American Electric Tattoo Co.: 3532 West Sunset Blvd.; (323) 664-6530.
2. Hollywood Tattoo Studio: 6317 Hollywood Blvd.,(323) 464-9938.
3. Tattoo Asylum: 64 Windward Ave., Venice; (310) 450-1073.
4. Taku at True Tattoo: 1614 N Cahuenga Blvd.; (323) 462-4745.
5. Zulu Tattoo: 165 S. Crescent Heights Blvd., (323) 782-9977.