The figure of the tattooed chefs is ubiquitous in the food world today, as essential to the culinary new wave as reclaimed wood and fancy burgers. But while seeing ink in the kitchen or behind the bar is no longer remarkable, seeing a good food tattoo—one that actually depicts grub, or celebrates the tools and techniques of cooking—is something worth writing home about.
More times than not, food tattoos fall short. Just because something tastes good doesn’t mean it’s going to look awesome emblazoned on your bicep, and it seems that love affairs with pizza, burgers, and pigs are sometimes best left on the plate. But on rare occasions there are triumphs.
James Beard award winner Sean Brock has the best food tattoo we’ve seen among chefs, a colorful sleeve depicting the heirloom vegetables that are fundamental to his cuisine. And a chef’s knife or mutton butchering diagram can look pretty dope when done well. If you’re thinking of showcasing your love of food on your skin, use these standout examples as inspiration
Click through the gallery above to see our favorite food-related tattoos.