Knives and Needles

Where Chefs can talk tattoos and Tattooers can talk food

Chef Colin Murphy

Colin Murphy learned his trade at the Le Cordon Bleu university, and became a chef at one of Southern California’s finest restaurants, Studio at the Montage Resort in Laguna Beach. After the birth of his two sons, he decided life in the kitchen didn’t leave enough time for his family, and is now a chef for hire with his business partner for their company 2 Sharp Knives. Colin was kind enough to share some of his experiences getting tattooed and gave us a delicious recipe!

Brynne Palmer- How long have you been a chef?
Colin Murphy- Six years or so professionally

BP- What was your first tattoo, when did you get it, and do you still have it?
CM-My first tattoo was a Japanese symbol on my chest, cheesy i know. and yes I still have it. I was 17 and still living at my dads so I had to put it in a place he wouldn’t see it. He is not a fan of tattoos.

BP- What intitally drew you to tattoos?
CM-I’ve always liked how they looked and knew I wanted some. The more time that passes the more I want to have done. I think of them as a way to document and show what is important to me and where I’ve been.

BP- Colin Dowling from Gold Rush did your sleeve, which is Japanese style in design, but based on an Irish folk tale. Can you tell us about the story, and why you chose to get it?
CM-There are a series of tales about Finn McCool, too many to count. A quick synopsis is that Finn was a giant, he wasn’t the biggest or the smartest but was the kindest and did many great things for Ireland. There were many giants from different countries and he was irelands only one. A few of the tales I tried to have detailed in the sleeve. One story was that Finn supposedly built the Giants causeway (which is a series of hexagonal stone columns that were supposedly a bridge from Ireland to Scotland) by throwing earth and rocks into the sea to fight the Scottish giant Cahulin. The other prominent story revolves around this salmon of wisdom. If caught and eaten the person would be given all the knowledge of the world. Finn seeks this so he can better serve Ireland’s needs and wants when dealing with the kings of England and France. Many of the tales are vehicles to teach morality and life lessons to children like most folk tales in other cultures. These story have a special meaning to me because when my wife was pregnant with twins we decided on two names Finn, and Beckett. We picked Finn mainly because of the legends that are associated wuth Finn mccool. When she was only 25 weeks pregnant she went into labor and gave birth, 15 weeks premature they both weighed about 1 1/2 pounds each. Finn passed away shortly after birth and Beckett turns 5 this July. We believe he protected his brother and is his guardian to this day.

BP- Do you have any memories of getting tattooed that really stand out?
CM- One that comes to mind was when my brother and i a Celtic knot on our forearms up in Santa Barbra from pat fish a few years back. that was his first tattoo and it was real special to share that with him. Besides that Pat also has these two Huge Irish Wolfhounds in the shop. and they are like the size of a small horse. It was a little weird because they were so big and i felt like i was in a zoo or something. I still laugh when I
think about these dogs walking around the shop as I hear the buzzing of the tattoo machine.

BP- Have you noticed a correlation between the tattoo and culinary industry? And how do you think the two relate to one another?
CM-I think both lifestyles draw brash, and confident personalities. People that love what they do and don’t accept anything less than perfection from themselves. I think both crafts can be honed over time and there is always learning of something new in both fields. Plus it seems that both believe in the work hard, play hard philosophy.

BP- I would imagine that being a chef for hire you get a wide range of culinary requests, is there any particular style of food or dish that you especially enjoy working with?
CM- If I’m cooking for myself I’ll cook southeast Asian more times than not. Fresh crisp seasonal produce, vinegar, fish sauce, chiles and lots of seafood. I could eat that and sushi everyday.

BP- What’s the best advice you could give a novice chef?
CM- Never stop learning. Don’t be afraid to try something new.

BP-Do you have a recipe you’d like to share with our readers?

Whenever we have people over this is quick recipe and delicious spread that can be changed depending on personal tastes.

Three-Cheese Herb and Honey Spread
1 head garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
4 ounces fresh goats milk cheese (chèvre)
1/2 cup ricotta (preferably sheeps-milk)
1/4 cup cream cheese
Honey, for serving
Roughly chopped fresh herbs (basil,chervil,tarragon, dill, or parsley), for serving
1small loaf sourdough bread, thickly sliced crosswise and lightly toasted


Thank you, Colin! We are so excited to try your delicious spread! For more on Colin, and to hire his services, check out!

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