“I got it because I genuinely love salt. I don’t taste the food—first thing I do is ask for the salt.” While waitressing through college, Alicia Tate took a salt shaker from the restaurant to a tattoo parlor. “People always ask if I have a pepper grinder hidden somewhere else.”
This inked cook posed for our photographer but spoke not a word.
Adam Schere, a Greenpoint cook, is a recovering vegetarian. While browsing through old French advertisements online, he and former kitchenmate Kyle Bochart were so taken with a vintage ad for a butcher in Avignon that Kyle tattooed it on Adam himself. “It’s a happy pig, he’s smiling,” explains Adam. “Pigs are made of 90 percent candy!”
“I got it when I first got the job at Fette Sau. I’ve always been into pork. The image is from a really old butcher’s diagram in a book from the early 1900s that I checked out of the library.” —Matt Lang
“It says ‘Opa.’ My grandfather was Greek and a chef. He taught me how to cook. My next tattoo will be a cilantro plant with its roots and ‘coriandrum,’ latin for cilantro.” —Allison Plummer
“It’s a Henkels Four Star. It was the last present I ever got from my father. I’ve had it for seven years and still use it almost every day at work. Once during dinner service I got stabbed in the calf by that knife. It was a freak accident.” —Adam Volk
John McSwain wanted “a phrase that would reference heart attacks. I love cheeseburgers—I’ll just keep eating them until I die.” He’s still waiting for the day a restaurant will feed him a free burger inspired by the ink spot. “I’ll get the name of the restaurant inked on the ketchup.”