Food Matters: Classic Ink! 2nd annual roundup of culinary tattoos at Food & Wine weekend
By now the 36th annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen is but a distant memory. And oh, what a booze-and-food-soaked blur it was! Spanning the Mill Street Mall to the Grand Tasting tents to Heritage Fire on Fanny Hill in Snowmass, I spotted all sorts of colorful culinary artwork inked on the bods of chefs, purveyors, and foodie folks. So, for the second year in a row, I asked these social shutterflies to share the stories behind their badass tattoos …
“It’s the story of my restaurant in Grand Junction. We’ve got the Bin (707 Foodbar) logo that says ‘adapt, persevere, conquer,’ which is how to keep it goin’ in Junction…and all of the produce grown specifically for us in Grand Junction: grapes, leeks, carrots, beets—it’s basically the Bin menu from the last eight years on my arm. Been working on it with artist Justin Nordine at Raw Canvas for six, seven years.”
—JOSH NIERNBERG, chef-owner of Bin 707 Foodbar and Taco Party in Grand Junction
“We started off with the pig when (team Eight K at Viceroy Snowmass) won Cochon555 in Denver last year. He’s a little lonely, so the next thing was the carrots, and the knife, because we love to butcher. Every fall we go out hunting chanterelles. Garlic—you need garlic in everything. Beets, because you can’t get blood out of an onion! The carrots are one of my favorites because every time I’d go through the produce and get really cool-looking veggies, I’d send a picture to my wife. That was the first thing to go with (the pig), because it reminds me of her every time I see it.”
—MARK HARDIN, chef-owner of Field 2 Fork Kitchen in Carbondale
“When I used to cook, everyone would always ask (how long to cook the pasta) and I’d say 45 seconds. They never believed me! I got so sick of it that I got ‘45’ tattooed on my arm. Then we made the recipe different and increased the cook time to 60 seconds, so I had to update it.”
—BEN FROHLICHSTEIN, cofounder of Capello’s, specializing in gluten-free, grain-free products, in Denver (Try ’em at Clark’s Oyster Bar in Aspen)
“Last July I did my first wildflower hike from Aspen to Crested Butte with three other colleagues and best friends. It was actually one of their birthdays. The hike was beautiful…and we SENT IT in Crested Butte! All four of us—Emily Richards, Will Golde and Hannah Druzbick—woke up with the same buffalo tattoo. We’re now The Herd.”
—RYAN STERLING, founder of GreenScreens and former bartender and manager at J-Bar at the Hotel Jerome
“Oddly enough, I’ve been in the industry 35-plus years and I don’t have any culinary tattoos. They’re more spiritual than practical.”
—JOHN BAYDALE, president of Hai Hospitality, which includes the Uchi empire launched in Austin, Texas, by James Beard Award-winning chef Tyson Cole (with locations in Dallas, Houston, and, coming this August, Denver at 2501 Lawrence St.)
“In Mexico there’s a game called La Lotería or ‘The Lottery,’ a board game like Bingo, for little kids. There are all these different images similar to this—El Alacrán (scorpion), El Nopale (cactus). I’m half-Mexican; as a kid that’s how I started learning to speak Spanish. El Corazon is ‘heart.’ Twenty-seven is just the number on the card—I’m actually 27, which is odd! I got it when I was 25.”
—TLANEZI GUZMAN, former pastry chef of Nighthawks & Birdie in Golden
“I’m Southern, so I have a lot of seafood tattoos. I’m also Pisces, so I like an underwater theme. I also like sci-fi and mythology, so I try to do a mixture of all that. (That’s a squid there…) And that’s a space crab crushing a ship.”
—LORI GUIDRY, of Lafayette, La.
“My parents migrated to the United States from Mexico to work in the fields. My dad went to Florida to try citrus…but there was a drought. Then he discovered Napa. This was a long time ago, right? He brought my mom’s family, his whole family; they started pruning, then making wine. My cousin now works at Hendry (Ranch Wines)—he gets to say whether the wine is good or not. Each cluster (of grapes) represents my mom, my dad. Each leaf is my sisters and I. Each little twig, which represents a new cluster of grapes: all of my nephews. I sat through six hours! Now I gotta go back and add more because my sisters are all Mexican and having so many damn kids!”
—SUSIE “SPICE IT UP” JIMENEZ, private chef based in Aspen and former “Food Network Star, Season 7” runner-up
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In the 1960s The Red Onion as the Aspen Ski Club would host an annual ski fashion preview, which in addition to clothing also included live music and a strip auction.