Thursday, August 17, 2017

Knives and Inks: Chefs and the Stories Behind Their Tattoos (with Recipes) by Isaac Fitzgerald & Wendy MacNaughton




Every one who gets a tattoo gets them for different reasons; to commemorate a person or moment, to carry something with them for the rest of their lives, or to ensure they will never work a desk job again. Isaac Fitzgerald has only dabbled in the culinary world as a sub-par sushi chef but one thing he noticed was every chef he met sported some kind of ink. The rock star chef life does have a certain kind of glamour to it. The tight-squeeze of a fast paced, fiery kitchen, no time for mistakes, losing yourself in perfecting the transforming craft of raw ingredients to cuisine. Fitzgerald always envied those in the kitchen life and sought to discover the stories behind some of their body's works of art. Accompanied by the pen and ink drawings by Wendy McNaughton, this makes for a fun book of stories, art, and recipes.
Some tattoos like Travis Michael Weiss, executive chef at Rebellion Washington D.C., are a tribute to their work. His tattoo sports all the ingredients he's used since childhood: blue crabs, Old Bay, silver queen corn, and pigs. The pig, Daisy, was the first pig Weiss had ever "harvested" or cooked from beginning to end. He is still taking suggestions for name of the blue crab. Weiss also included his recipe for "Mumbo Sauce". The book loving chef, Kate Romane of E2 Restaurant in Pittsburgh, PA has "TX715.R751975" tattooed on her fore arm. That magic number is the Library of Congress call number for Irma S. Rombauer's classic Joy of Cooking to honor her roots as a chef. Jamie Bissonnette of Toro NYC, Toro Boston and Coppa Boston has a devil chef, because he believes all artists have a sinister side. Or Sean Thomas of Blue Plate San Francisco who said "They're just pretty" which is as good a reason as any.
The back index references each tattoo and the names of the artists and shops where they were commissioned. Some of the tattoo shops and restaurants referenced have closed their doors since the book's publishing but hopefully these artists are still out their working their craft. Fascinated by the restaurant world? Try Food and the City: New York's professional chefs, restaurateurs, line cooks, street vendors, and purveyors talk about what they do and why they do it by Ina Yalof or Something to Food About by Questlove. For more creative professionals doing what they do, try In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers Artists and Entrepreneurs by Grace Bonney. For more Wendy McNaughton's doodles download Meanwhile in San Francisco on Hoopla.

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