12 Houston chefs show off their food-themed tattoos

Service industry professionals are well-known for being inked to the max, and Houston’s chefs and bartenders are no exception.

We asked a dozen restaurant pros to show off their food- and drink-themed tattoos and what they mean to them. Here’s what they told us.

Alfonso Canchola, Big Vibe Group chef

Big Vibe’s Alfonso Canchola, who was the chef at Gratify but is now at Coppa Osteria, shows off his octopus and vegetable tattoos.

The Big Vibe Group

“The octopus is a very intelligent animal, it’s a reminder to never underestimate anybody, and also signifies multitasking in the kitchen. I have a heart tattoo made of vegetables (mirepoix, peppers, mushrooms, avocado), because vegetables are the heart of the kitchen, and that’s where my heart belongs.”

Chase Voelz, Bludorn chef de cuisine

Chase Voelz has a corn tattoo for his agricultural heritage.

Chase Voelz has a corn tattoo for his agricultural heritage.

Bludorn

“Growing up as a kid in southern Indiana, I spent a lot of time on our family’s farm. My grandfather was both a school bus driver and a farmer, who farmed corn and soybeans. Naturally, he’d pick me up from school and During harvest season I remember riding on the combine with him and raising pigs to show at the county fair. Throughout my childhood some of my fondest family memories were spent on the farm. the Indy 500 and a Kentucky Derby party, which kicked off the summer. still in our family today 147 years later.

Christine Ha, Xin Chao and the Blind Goat chef-owner

Christine Ha has two tattoos, one commemorating MasterChef on her back.

Christine Ha has two tattoos, one commemorating MasterChef on her back.

Courtesy of Christine Ha

“I got my back tattoo right after I won MasterChef season 3 in 2012. It was a life-changing experience, and I knew I wanted to commemorate it, so I asked my artist, Tracy Lambright of Scorpion Studios, who specializes in Japanese print , to design me something that incorporated the three ingredients I loved most and cooked frequently with throughout the televised competition: garlic, fish sauce (represented by the swimming anchovies), and cilantro.

I got my second tattoo on my wrist by the same artist because I was soon to open my very first restaurant, the Blind Goat, in 2019. I like to say food and words are my creative portals, the means by which I connect with others . I have a background in creative writing, and stories and cooking are both things I love in life, so I commemorated this by getting ink done of a chef’s knife and quill pen intertwined together.

I am visually impaired, so it took a TON of trust for me to let my artist freestyle on me.”

Felipe Riccio, Goodnight Hospitality chef-partner

Felipe Riccio loves Kunz spoons so much he got a tattoo of one.

Felipe Riccio loves Kunz spoons so much he got a tattoo of one.

Zach Horst

“My first tattoo is an actual-size Kunz spoon. It’s the perfect kitchen spoon invented by chef Gray Kunz. It is my favorite kitchen tool and to me, it signifies versatility and professionalism. A Kunz spoon is an extremely useful spoon in a kitchen And for a long time, only professional chefs would obsess over spoons (luckily now even home cooks do and should!). Below the spoon is a quote in French by Fernand Point, chef at the famous La Pyramide in the early 1900s, that translates to ‘Perfection is the sum of little things done well.'”

Jason Hill, Revelry on Richmond head chef

Jason Hill's two tattoos honor people who have passed.

Jason Hill’s two tattoos honor people who have passed.

Revelry on Richmond

“This blueberry tattoo by Catfish Perez is the most meaningful one that I have because it’s a tribute to my late mother in law, who was supportive of me and helped start out my food truck and donut business. Blueberry cake donuts were her favorite flavor. She also made blueberry muffins a couple of hours before she passed away, so when we got home from the hospital, the blueberry muffins were waiting for us.

Anthony Bourdain was my biggest inspiration as a chef. When he passed away, I wanted to pay tribute to him and support mental health awareness.”

Jeff Potts, 93′ Til executive chef

Jeff Potts is obsessed with octopi, as evidenced by his two tattoos.

Jeff Potts is obsessed with octopi, as evidenced by his two tattoos.

93′ Till

“I became obsessed with Japanese ramen when I moved to Houston and octopus is my favorite animal, especially because they’re super smart.”

Mark Pignone, Bosscat Kitchen & Libations sous chef

Mark

Mark “Piglet” Pignone leaned into his nickname with a pig tattoo.

Bosscat Kitchen & Libations

“The reason I got my tattoo is my last name. With a name like Pignone I was called pig all my life. At one point growing up my older brother was nicknamed Big Pig, my sister was Miss Piggy and I was Piglet. My mother even collected refrigerator magnets that were pigs in chef coats.We also had a small statue of a pig dressed as a chef. family are chefs, and food was always a big part of our family growing up. Everyone in our family can cook. Both of my grandmothers were great cooks and I have recipe books from them that we still use every holiday.”

Nick Fine, Underbelly Hospitality culinary director

Many former Underbelly workers have an Underbelly star tattoo, including Nick Fine who is still at the umbrella company.

Many former Underbelly workers have an Underbelly star tattoo, including Nick Fine who is still at the umbrella company.

Morgan Peters

“This Underbelly tattoo is a celebration of an incredible part of my life. The tattoo represents not only a restaurant but a way of life that I always want to continue! Underbelly will always be a part of my life no matter where I am, and This tattoo is a reminder of that! The Underbelly philosophy is: Explore your surroundings, learn about people, where they’re from and how to dine at the same table. .Understand that everyone has a story to tell. This is how we run our restaurants.

Paula Leguizamon, Urbe chef

Paula Leguizamon has two food-related tattoos.

Paula Leguizamon has two food-related tattoos.

H-Town Hospitality Group

“I was encouraged to get this tattoo because I had been the pastry chef of Hugo’s for just a year, I was very excited and about that I was learning and living, and I decided to get this tattooed with the phrase ‘Yes,'” chef’ because, for me, that expression means respect in the kitchen. I also have a tattoo of a vanilla flower, which I did because it’s my favorite smell and taste. was working with gold.”

Ryan Lachaine, Riel Restaurant chef-owner

Ryan Lachaine shows off four food tattoos, half of them of wheat.

Ryan Lachaine shows off four food tattoos, half of them of wheat.

Riel Restaurant

“I have three food-related tattoos. My first was a tattoo of a hot dog. I love hot dogs and I actually do a hot dog pop up once a year with the guys from Blood Bros called Dirty Dog. I have two tattoos of wheat because of my home province of Manitoba. Manitoba is one of the leading wheat producers in the world, with huge wheat fields all over the area. it, which is the address of my restaurant, Riel.”

Sam Ruiz, Space Cowboy bar manager

Sam Ruiz has many tattoos, but these three are her favorites.

Sam Ruiz has many tattoos, but these three are her favorites.

Space Cowboy

“I got my bourbon on the rocks tattoo when I was turning 25, and my father took me to Kentucky to experience Maker’s Mark distillery first hand. We both share the love of Maker’s Mark Bourbon. As for the spooky avocado, my favorite holiday is Halloween, I dyed my hair hot pink and got an awesome tattoo by one of my good friends, Octoboros [a local tattoo artist whose real name is Dana Marie King]. The Trash Panda tattoo is a very special and sentimental tattoo for me that will forever connect me to the people I chose to take this journey with. [All of the original Night Moves Hospitality bar staff have matching Trash Panda tattoos.]”

Yotam Dolev, Hamsa executive chef

Yotam Dolev has a fish tattoo, among others.

Yotam Dolev has a fish tattoo, among others.

Kirsten Gilliam

“One of my favorite tattoos is the butchered fish on my left arm. I love fish and seafood, and what I love most about fish is that every part of a fish is special in some way. Everyone loves the fillet, but the rest of fish is very underrated. I like to cook with all parts including bone marrow, liver, skin, head, and more. I really believe that you can use each part to get creative and make great dishes—even desserts.”