Why do many kitchen chefs have tattoos?

Anyone who has done much dining out over the past 10 years will have likely noticed a change coming over the people preparing their food. No longer a phalanx of indistinguishable figures in whites and toques, chefs have shrugged off the uniform and are hellbent on declaring their individuality. They do this in a variety of ways but none more striking than the tattoo, which has spread from biceps to hands, from chests to necks and faces. Some, as these illustrations from new book Knives & Ink document, refer to food (pigs, cakes and shellfish abound); others have personal meanings that benefit from a little explanation.

Of course, chefs are far from the only ones with tattoos these days, nor is the tattooed chef anything new.
Paul Bocuse has been sporting a coq gaulois on his bicep since his stint in a US army hospital during the second world war. A lot of chefs have been wearing tattoos for ages, but they weren’t showing it. They were hanging around with their white hats and long-sleeved chef’s jackets – now they’re wearing short sleeves. They are also, thanks to the rise of the open kitchen and a general easing of restaurant formalities, more visible to diners than before.

Executive Chef Cyril Boulais during tattoo session wearing Chef Skills Hk Naticki apron
Chefs are exceptionally enthusiastic and have extremely solid convictions that they can convert into their tattoos
. It signifies a lot of things for them like their love of great ingredients, their resourcefulness of their ancestors, or even the path that they chose for themselves, both artistically and professionally and even more... Tattoos make you unique and mean you are proud to belong to the community.

Knives & Ink Curates Culinary Tattoos and the Stories Behind Them book cover
Moreover, if you like tattoos, stories behind the tattoos, chefs with tattoos and nice tattoos drawings, we highly recommend you this book “Knives & Ink: Chefs and the Stories Behind Their Tattoos” by Isaac Fitzgerald, Wendy MacNaughton.
Knives & Ink features the tattoos of more than sixty-five chefs from all walks of life and every kind of kitchen. It delves into the wide and wonderful world of chef tattoos and shares their fascinating backstories, along with personal recipes from many of the chefs. Click here for a copy.

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