Chef Tattoo Ideas | Culinary Inspired Body Art

A chef with tattoos prepares a bowl of food in a commercial kitchen

What to expect in this article:

  1. The latest trends in tattoos
  2. The cons of tattooing
  3. Tattoos from the Dalstrong community
  4. What kind of tattoo should you get?
  5. More Tattoo Ideas

1. The latest trends in tattoos

A chef with tattoos stands facing the camera with his arms folded

Tattoos have been around for thousands of years. While originally body art was reserved for specific sectors, as of lately we’ve seen tats popping up on just about everyone. These days a left arm full of tattoos no longer means you’re regulated to the outskirts. 

As the tattoo becomes more prevalent and accepted by society, we’re seeing all types of tattoo designs emerge. Some of our favorites have been found on the arms of chefs and food lovers alike.

From a cheeky dancing pastry to the different cuts of meat explained on a pig, food tattoos have become a standard in the culinary world. Think of a celebrity chef like Anthony Bourdain, whose arms were covered in different designs, and you can see just how appealing it might be to ink some sort of ingredient onto your body. From sleeve tattoos of a full menu, to mini tattoos of pork chops, to tattoo quotes from visionaries, these culinary tattoos have become synonymous with chefs and the stories they want to share. 

The simple truth is, you just look cool if you’re a chef with a culinary tattoo. To me, a good chef tattoo screams, “I’m someone to be respected, someone who doesn’t take themselves too seriously, and someone who is really into their craft.”

2. The cons of tattooing

Man with tattoos in red checkered shirt carries food in a kitchen wearing a black chef apron

While I recognize that a hand tattoo is not for everyone, I see body art tattoos as a form of self-expression and a celebration of art that is well worth exploring. I love tattoos. I have a few already and have been itching for more.

For a lot of people however, tattoos have a strong sentimental significance. For others, tattoos are simply a way of supporting a tattoo artist and their art.

Whether or not you’re a person who is interested in a bit of ink, we should consider the potential cons of getting a tattoo.

They are permanent. 

    While you may be obsessed with something at this stage in your life it’s quite possible that will change as you grow.

    For example, say you’ve been having a delicious smoothie every morning. Say you love your morning routine so much you’re thinking about getting a tattoo to commemorate it. While I respect a tattoo of one of your smoothie bowls as much as the next, you may find that you prefer toast for breakfast later on. 

    Knowing that you can’t erase that tattoo, without a very expensive, painful procedure, is key to making sure you want something on your body permanently. That said, a skilled artist can likely cover over something with a new tattoo design, so forever doesn’t necessarily have to mean forever.

    Tattoos can be seen as unprofessional or “bad.”

      Back in our parent’s generation, it was much less common to see sleeve tattoos on someone in certain companies or jobs. These days, tattoos are becoming more and more commonplace as the stigma around them reduces. I’d personally argue that if your company thinks of tattoos as a deal-breaker, you might consider if you truly want to work for that company.  

      I’ve also heard folks question whether or not you can still go to heaven with tattoos. My answer to that is of course you can (if heaven is a concept you subscribe to)! Whatever higher spirit or God exists, I can assure you that they won’t punish you for having an old school mom in heart with an arrow tattoo. I’d venture to guess that God might even have a few tats herself.

      3. Tattoos from the Dalstrong community

      As a former restaurant server, I’ve seen many slick culinary tattoos in my day. A chef friend of mine told me once that getting a food tattoo was a right of passage after graduating from culinary school. From blueberry pie tattoos to a stunning back piece full of zucchini spirals, there is a whole world of cool tattoos that you can further explore here.

      The following are a few of our favorite tattoos taken from our Dalstrong community via our FacebookInstagram, and Twitter feed that we wanted to share to hopefully inspire the next generation of those who’ll run a kitchen in style. Make sure to reach out to us on one of those platforms (or on our Youtube and TikTok) if you have any sick ink we may have missed. 

      We’ve divided some of our fan favorites into two sections: the chef’s knife tattoo and the food tattoo.

      1. The Chef’s Knife 

      Man reaches for a wall of dalstrong chef knives with a chef knife tattoo on his forearm

      Whether you’re the sous chef, the early morning pastry chef, or the executive chef, this skull and knife arm tattoo is bound to earn you some respect in the kitchen. Taking its inspiration from a more vintage tattoo design, with the smoking skull in a bowler hat, we can’t get enough of this badass black and white tattoo.

      Hat’s off to this buddy for knowing how to rock a solid tattoo while using the very best of the best kitchen tools, including the Frost Fire Series and The Shadow Black Series

      Colorful chef knife tattoo on a forearm next to a real Dalstrong omega series chef knife


      As a fan of both knives and the orca whale, I'm in love with one of the most unique tattoos I've come across today (and ever). From the galaxy-like color pallet to the potential plant-based food messaging - we can dig it.

      Plus just look at that tattooed chef showing off the stellar Omega Series 8.5" Kiritsuke-Chef Knife - Collectors Set. This is someone who truly doesn’t mess around with their kitchen supplies. 

      A colorful tattoo of a skull in flames wearing a chef hat

      Chef Ron Schrodt

      We love this tattooed chef for the bold statement they’re making with this piece. The combination of a flaming skull in a chef hat and the two knives to replace the usual bones shows us that this chef means business.

      While this may not be the tattoo for any mainstream marketplace, we’d want to try whatever they’re cooking.

      Tattoo of a female chef wearing a traditional white chef hat


      Done in the neo-traditional style, this tattooed chef hits the mark for having what a great chef tattoo should include: a knife, a chef’s hat, and fresh ingredients. We love the color, the illustration, and the fact that this woman knows exactly how to wield her chef's knife


      2. The Food

      A calf tattoo of a pork chop


      Whether it’s a pork chop specifically or some other slab of meat, we can’t get enough of this tattooed chef’s devotion to food as something holy.

      The meat in this tattoo literally shines (the way branded products always seem to in commercials). I’d without a doubt want to spend some time in this meat-loving person’s company.

      A colorful sleeve tattoo representing several vegetables


      My love of meat aside, this tattoo is any foodies’ dream. The beautiful illustrations of bell peppers, asparagus, and chili peppers would make any plant-based food company proud.

      We love the fluidity of the design and trust in their style enough to purchase any recommended tattooed chef products of theirs.

      A split screen image showing different angles of a food inspired tattoo arm sleeve

      @chefshug (again)

      This tattooed chef clearly boycotts the frozen food section with how fresh the images are in this tattoo.

      From a filleted salmon to a beautifully ripe vine of tomatoes, to a delicious-looking fig I’d eat a bowl of whatever they want to cook me, any time. This chef knows what’s good.

      A tattoo with images and titles for mushrooms onion shallots and tarrogan


      We appreciate how literal this tattooed chef is with the labeling they’ve included in their tattoo. Three of arguably the best ingredients are included in this tattoo: the oyster mushroom, shallot, and tarragon.

      Any rookie chef would be wise to mix these all together and serve them up like a pro. And any tattoo lover would be wise to take a hint from this body art.

      4. What kind of tattoo should you get?

      Close up of tattooed hands carrying a tray with a plate of bangers and mash

      Now that we’ve examined a mix of stellar chef and culinary-inspired body art tattoos you must be asking yourself, what would look best on me?

      While my favorite cook tattoo of the bunch was the more simplistic black and white skull, there are endless options when it comes to becoming the coolest tattooed chef in town. You could go with the culinary trends and get something like a cauliflower pizza crust tat or you could stick to something more classic and get something like this cool Rocker Knife.

      It’s important to take into account what style of tattoo you want and where on the body you intend to put it. A knife tattoo of a cleaver, for example, could be really impressive but probably wouldn’t look great on a small area of the body like an ankle. Just like The Raptor would look stellar paired with some sort of reaper character, but again you’d need to devote a larger portion of your body to the art.

      This sleek little paring knife could look fantastic with a traditional style pin-up cook tattoo, or you could keep it simple and just have the knife as a stand-alone piece. These brisket knives also have a beautiful, clean design that I think would make any tattooed chef proud. 

      Whatever you choose, make sure you take a look at the artist’s portfolio and flash sheets (tattoo designs they’ve pre-drawn for clients to choose from) before booking an appointment. Choosing a tattooer is often overlooked, but I’d argue the most important part of getting that perfect body art.

      5. More tattoo ideas


      You can also check in with our Expert Knife Finder Quiz and get specific recommendations based on your needs. 

      Dalstrong Expert Knife Finder

      Written by Monique Nicholas
      Based in Vancouver, Monique enjoys jumping into bodies of water, sending postcards, and adding lemon to every single one of her dishes.

      Chef Tattoo Ideas | Culinary Inspired Body Art

      Table of Content