Knives and Needles

Where Chefs can talk tattoos and Tattooers can talk food

Ian Marks!


Ian Marks is making his mark in the culinary world with his restaurant Beast and the Hare situated in the Mission District in San Francisco. They are known for their in-house made fresh pastas, pickles, and prosciutto! It’s got an English pub feel with Mediterranean flavors in a charcuterie, comfort food setting with a high-end feel. Very Californian as in anything goes! Ian

Here is what Ian has to say about food and tattoos, read on!


M: How many years in the restaurant industry?

C: I have been working in the industry for 16 years. But I got my first chef job 2006 I think at Hog Island. Now I own my own restaurant in the Mission called Beast and the Hare

M: Favorite menu item at Beast and the Hare.

C: I guess I love when we have the kobe steak on. It usually comes with some sort of charred vegetables and porcini butter…. When I expo the cooks slide the steak tips over to me… STEAK’EMS!!!


M: First tattoo?

C: I was dating this girl who had tattoos and piercings and shit and she bought me my first tattoo when I turned 18. It was terrible. This stupid tribal dragon that luckily Jill was able to cover and turn into what I have today.

M: Favorite tattoo?

C: I asked Jill at State of Grace to do a piece for me. I wanted a Jack of hearts inspired by the Bob Dylan song. It had a lot of significance for me at the time and as I get older it has seemed to mean even more. I think it was fate because I gave her this vague image of what I was looking for. She asked me for some paper. I gave her parchment cuz that’s all we had. She drew it up in like 15 seconds. I couldn’t believe it. She made some tweeks and later that week I came over and she started the outline.

The best part of it all was she fit that damn dragon right under the Jack’s cloak like it was suppose to go there! She is incredible.

M: Culinary-related tattoos on chefs, yes or no?

C: I think it’s funny when I see a cook with his knife set on his arm. It’s played out. STOP DOING IT!! It doesn’t seem like it could mean anything. I prefer kitchen scars… Although I guess those fade with time. I like when people do fun things like, whisks or a Kitchenaide on their wrist.

M: Tattoo artists you admire

C: I don’t know that many artists. I truly believe that Jill Bonnie is crazy talented. I would allow her to put anything on me.  I also think Holly that owns Idle Hand on Haight St. is incredible.

I’ve seen some of her stick and poke portraits. I couldn’t believe she could put such detail on a persons skin.


M: Next tattoo

C: If I found something worth putting on me that is a portrait I would have Holly do it.

M: Chefs and tattooers, any connection?

C: I do believe we are intertwined mainly because we are all artists. We are inspired by carnage, colors, beauty and the unseen. And we like to show it off to people.

M: Any wannabe-chef advice?

C: Cooking novices of the world… Prep cooks are restaurants unsung heroes. Being an excellent prep cook carries more weight then most positions in the kitchen.

M:  Cheers to that! What recipe would you like to share today?

C: The dish is our rabbit and bacon stew over soft polenta and salsa verde.


Rabbit stew

Feeds like 3-4

1 large stewer rabbit (3-4 lbs.)

1 tbs. fennel: 1 tsp. coriander + 1tsp. cumin (toast in the oven till you can smell it and then grind)

2 tbs. salt or so

Break rabbits into two front legs, two hind legs and two loins with the saddle attached. Rub with the spice mix and salt. Set aside

1 white onion diced

and equal amount of bacon cut to the same size

peels from 1 lemon

1 12 oz. can of san marzano tomatoes

4 cloves of garlic

Start with the bacon and render out. Add the lemon and onions once the bacon has released enough fat to coat the ingredients.

Remove all the goods from the pan and add a little olive oil. Sear off all your rabbit pieces. Add the onions/bacon mix back, the garlic, tomatoes and stock to cover. Set to a low simmer.

Cook for at least 2 hours or until the bones come out of the legs smoothly. You can always leave them in too. Kinda looks cool! OR don’t remove them and you’re good.

2 c. white corn polenta

4 c. water 4 c. cream


Porcini powder (if you gots it)

Bring liquids to a boil then quickly turn down to the lowest your stove will allow and add the polenta, salt and mushroom powder if using. Stir the polenta quit often or else it will stick to the bottom and burn. It’s done when it doesn’t taste mealy or raw


1/2 bunch of chives

1/2 bunch of mint

1/2 bunch of marjoram

2 shallots diced real small then soaked in red or white wine vinegar for 10 minutes.

Maybe a 1/4 c. good olive oil

Chop roughly each herb separately then add together. Drain the shallots and add it to the herbs along with the oil.


Ladle some of the rabbit stew into a sauté pan and reduce the liquid. Adjust the seasoning if you need to. Put a big ‘ol dollop of polenta in a bowl. Ladle that sweet, sweet rabbit stew on top and then pile on the salsa!




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