Knives and Needles

Where Chefs can talk tattoos and Tattooers can talk food

Ben Spangler


Ben is new to the culinary industry and is heavily tattooed! Read his short interview with K&N and see whats cooking today!

M: Write a little about yourself, background, work, currently doing what

B: Well I was born a poor black child…? Please be patient as I try to sound out my words and attempt at proper grammar throughout my Q & A. Reading and writing has never been my thing. I cook for a living, don’t think I have earned the title chef yet. Recently changed to the pastry side in the last year. Seems to be going really well. Honestly I think I am better at baking but like the cooking side more. Currently I am the pastry chef at Zelo in downtown Minneapolis. I spend most my time making bread, gelato and all the components to our plated desserts 5-6 days a week. I try to come up with new desserts at least 4-6 times a year. Try to change with the seasons and keep things interesting. Growing up I tried a lot of different career paths. I thought I wanted to be a photographer, professional runner or graphic/clothing designer before all this, but it never really made me as happy as cooking. Still do those as hobbies but my main focus is cooking. I’m glad I explored other career paths before getting into cooking because I know I can dedicate myself to this craft and not second-guess my choice for anyone who doesn’t know cooking full time. It’s a big fucking commitment. While your friends are out partying you will be cooking, while your family celebrates the 4th of July or New Years you will be cooking and when your girlfriend goes out to have drink with her family and friends you will be cooking. I wouldn’t call cooking my passion, passion is too temporary. With cooking its something else that drives me, Its more of a never ending want or desire to better myself everyday, even if just a little with my craft. If that makes any god damn sense?


 M: I hear you on that, I really do! When did you start getting tattooed?

B: October 2005. 2 month after I turned 18. I would of gotten it earlier but it didn’t really dawn on me that I could get tattoos. Apparently it took 2 months for me to recognize that I was old enough to get inked.


M: What was your first tattoo?  Do you still have it?

B: Just a simple 5 pointed star on my hip.  Probably the worst tattoo I have. Regret not going big on my first tattoo. I’m sure anyone with a descent amount of tattoos has a few they regret.


M: Oh yeah, for sure. Who has done some of your work?

B: A lot of artists from the twin cities area, couple in LA, Denver and Missouri. Most of my work has been done by my good friend Daniel Claussens at Beloved Studios in St. Paul. I have on of his first tattoos on my forearms.


M: Who do you admire in the tattoo industry?

B: I really admire Dan for his style and eye to detail. As for national/international artists I really have none. I don’t really follow the tattoo scene that much. Most of them seem pretty full of themselves.


M: Next tattoo?  

B: Working on my new “process of cooking” tattoo on my left leg. All we have so far is an octopus tentacle with some wild mushrooms growing behind it. But in the near future we plan to leave the raw food on the bottom of the leg and as you go further up my leg the food will be come more cooked and at the top of the leg will be fully cooked food. Or that’s the idea anyway. We’ll see how it goes as time progresses.


M: Funny idea! Are there any artists that you want work from that you have never met?

B: No, not really.


M: Do you read any tattoo magazines? If so, which ones?

B: To be honest I don’t really look at them. I will say that it pisses me off that whenever I do stroll by the tattoo magazines it’s always some pretty-titted women with only one stupid small tattoo.  If your gonna have a tattoo magazine that person on the cover better fucking have awesome tattoos. I have no interest in some half-a-tard with a butterfly tribal flower on their ribs.


 Ben was also cool enough to send us a recipe….  Check it out and try it yourself, they look amazing!


Peanut Butter Bars

Yield: one half sheet pan *** be sure to use a half sheet pan when doing this recipe otherwise your quantities will be off when your setting up the bars***

Chocolate crunch

yield: 2 (21oz) layers

7oz 14oz

1. 2. 3.

milk chocolate 42%

melt chocolate completely over a double boiler remove from heat and fold in feuilletine
spread evenly on a greased half sheet pan and slightly smash with your palm so its evenly spreads’

refrigerate, so it sets up (once cool move onto the second recipe)

Peanut Butter Cream

yield: 2 (50oz) layers

7oz sugar 2oz water —
4oz whites 2 sugar —

10oz butter —
25oz p.butter

  1. Carmelize sugar and water, (@ 250) start whipping whites
  2. @ 280 add sugar to whipped egg whites
  3. once cool add room temp butter
  4. add peanut butter whipped until combined
  5. store in plastic piping bag allow to cool to room temp

spread evenly over chocolate crunch and use an offset spatula (make as

even as possible) 6.Refridgerate (so it sets up)

Chocolate Peanut Butter ganache

yield: 2 (13oz) layers

8oz 7oz 8oz 4oz

milk chocolate (42%) bittersweet chocolate (60%) cream
peanut butter

melt chocolate in a double boiler

1.heat milk until steamy and pour over chocolate
2.mix until combined and add peanut butter mix until combined

  1. pour over peanut butter mousse layer in half sheet pan and spread evenly
  2. refrigerate and once it sets up cut to desirable slices


 OMG that sounds so good, thank you Ben!!

Send us your food tattoos and recipes, we want to feature you!


Thank you and enjoy!


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