Tattoos may be the second most common thing you can find in a restaurant, second to food of course. No matter where you look – cooking shows, upscale dining rooms and fast food burger joints like In N Out Burger, you'll find body art of all shapes, sizes and meanings. Culinary experts who are in the industry for life tend to get ink as an homage to their affinity for food, and many of them share similar ideas. Here are six of the most common tattoos you'll find in a restaurant.
1. The sectional pig
This popular choice should come as no surprise as charcuterie is expected to be one of the biggest trends, according to the "What's Hot Culinary Forecast." Many people love to get their fix of unique and interesting meats and cheeses, and chefs love to serve them. It's not uncommon for these delectable treats to be made in-house, which is what could be driving more and more talented kitchen folk to pay respect to the primary animal behind the popular plates – the pig.
Perhaps, Shane McBridge, executive chef at Colicchio and Sons, summed up the reason behind the pig ink. He told the Village Voice:
"I tend to use a lot of pork in my cooking," he says. "Ribs, pork shoulder, bacon – there isn't any cut on the pig I don't like. Who can say no to crispy ears?"
2. From eggs to artichokes
Maybe in the way that many culinary experts are drawn to the sectional pig, others excitedly get a tattoo of their favorite foods. Brie Huling, bartender at B Bar and Grill, told the source that her veggie tatts stem from vegetarianism beliefs.
She's covered in horseradishes, carrots, peapods and other veggies. Meat lovers, like one anonymous chef on The Savory, are inked with hams, steaks and fish. One man had the components of a sandwich across his knuckles – guess you don't want to mess with him.
3. Knives and blades
Arguably the most used kitchen tool, the knife has made a more permanent appearance in the kitchen – on the chef's body. Is there anything more bad to the bone than having the sharp blades of your skill tattooed on your arms, calves and chest?
4. Inspirational quotes
Right up there with knives is the amount of inspirational quotes that can be found on people's bodies who've at the very least had a tryst with the restaurant industry.
The reason bartenders, line cooks and kitchen expeditors write how much they love their jobs on their bodies is because this bunch is exceptionally passionate. At least, that's according to The Atlantic, which tried to take a stab at why tattoos were so prevalent in restaurants. A number of chefs told the publication that their work is who they are. It just makes sense that they'd write it on their bodies.
5. Mise en place
Whether it's literally the words "mise en place" or artwork of the display, this option is abundant in the cooking realm. The French phrase refers to a special place to keep ingredients. Most bars have a mise en place that are full of items to get the bartender through a shift, including fruits, herbs, straws, salt and other drink ingredients.
Don't be fooled by the simplicity of the concept. Without an organized mise en place, the kitchen and bar staff might stumble during dinner rush, when they're trying to robotically assemble meals and drinks for hundreds of guests.
If for no other reason then to look totally awesome, many in the restaurant industry, whether they work in the front or back of the house, have skull tattoos. Other people, however, take a more practical approach to the skeletal ink. One example published on First We First is of a tattoo that's a skull with a carrot through it. Over the bottom of the veggie is the word "vegan," which may be the chef's expertise or preferred cuisine.
As the source also pointed out, some food art is best "left on the plate." The skull, however, is a go-to option that many people know will look great, no matter where they get it done. With such a love for making things aesthetically pleasing, it's safe to say that many in the restaurant industry don't want ink that doesn't look as savory as it does in person.
Some chefs don't think twice about getting some food-centric ink, while others contemplate whether they'll be in the industry for life. Either way, current and former chefs don't have to live with tattoo regret if they've hung up their chef coats. There's always laser tattoo removal.
Over 45 million US adults* are living with tattoos, but now permanent ink can be a thing of the past. PicoSure® is the world's latest breakthrough technology in laser tattoo removal providing faster results in fewer treatments. Visit www.picosurear.wpengine.com to learn more and find a PicoSure Practitioner near you. * Source: Harris Interactive, 2012