Knives and Needles

Where Chefs can talk tattoos and Tattooers can talk food

Archive for the month “July, 2013”

Tattoo Tuesday!!!!

ImageDone by the oh so talented Ben Grillo!!!!  Thanks Ben!

Send us your food tattoos, recipes and we will publish them! 



Amanzio Nascimbene


I just met Amanzio recently but it was immediately clear that he is a talented guy that lives life to its fullest! Not only is he a talented chef, but he is a devoted husband and father. And oh, not to mention a lifestyle guru with an amazing blog of his own! With all that going on, I was lucky to catch his time long enough to do this interview for me. We even decided to trade interviews! Thank you Amanzio!

Please read on…

Molly: Tell me a little about yourself please.

Amanzio: My name is Amanzio Nascimbene, I am a graduate of the California Culinary Academy In San Francisco, a former line cook & current food & lifestyle blogger for

I split my Childhood between France and California, & really feel that having grown up in Paris as part of a strong Franco-Italian family gave me an appreciation for great food and instilled in me that satisfaction that preparing & enjoying an amazing meal can bring. Through my blog, I hope to introduce folks to parts of the Bay they might never have thought to visit, beautiful places to hike & explore, share with them my opinions of restaurants they’ve always wanted to try & hopefully to introduce them to the farmers, purveyors, bakers, chefs & everybody that plays a part in the amazingly diverse and bountiful culinary landscape that the Bay Area is.


M: I am jealous you got to grow up in Paris, Love that city! What are your favorite things to cook?

A:  I love cooking simple & classic French and Italian foods, simple things like Pan-Bagna (a delicious french sandwich often found in seaside towns). I love pasta dishes and really look to keep it simple, seasonal and as local as possible.


M: I agree, cooking seasonally is important. So on to tattoos, what inspired you to start getting tattooed?

A: Probably the music I listened to growing up, bands like Guns N roses, Rage Against The Machine, Rancid, The Descendents, The Wu Tang Clan and all their various off-shoot albums. Although a lot of it was mainstream, to me, this music seemed rebellious and a ton of these guys were pretty heavily tattooed & I loved the look. Over the years I have been lucky enough to have been tattooed by some very talented tattooers who I am now honored to be able to call my friends, in particular Annie Frenzel of Lowbrow Tattoo in Berlin Germany & Sean Perkinson of FTW Tattoo in Oakland.


M: Cool. What was your first tattoo?

A: Ha! My first tattoo was one I drew up myself, a horribly cheesy tribal sun arm band with a dolphin in the middle of the sun… I was 19, it was 1996 & I thought I was the coolest thing ever. It has long since been covered up by Tex of Authentic Tattoo in San Francisco.


M: Omg, that is hilarious! I wish you had a photo of that! So, who do you admire in the tattoo industry that you have not been tattooed by (yet)?

A: It’s a pretty long list… In no particular order: Chris Conn, Stewart Robson, Chris O’Donnell, Henry Lewis, Jason Phillips, Horitomo, Eli Quinters, Holly Ellis, Grime. Like I said there are a ton of artists who’s work I really admire I I know I’m leaving a few out!


M: I hear you, so many talented tattoo artists out there, so little skin! Why do you think so many chefs are tattooed?

A: I think it’s that outsider spirit, cooking is an art & it attracts people who are not afraid to express themselves. Another huge factor is the acceptance level!  Rarely, in a professional kitchen will anyone look down on your for being tattooed.


M: What will your next tattoo be?

A: I have a few ideas, a design I’ve always been a fan of is the Pharaoh’s horses. If you look through Clifton Carter’s catalog you can see a perfect example of one, really beautiful.


M: Nice. Do you ever go to any tattoo conventions? If so, which one(s) and did you have fun?

A: I’ve been to a few, the best by far is the Bay Area Convention of the Tattoo Arts. I was lucky enough to get a classic dagger tattoo last year from Lindsey Carmichael. Just the opportunity to get that done was great & I can’t wait to go back this year.

M: Yes, that convention is so amazing! … And I’m not just saying that!

A: I also like to say hello to two lovely ladies, my wife Heather and my daughter Chloe.


M: Awwww!

Amanzio shared a mouth-watering scallop dish, perfect for those balmy, late-summer evenings! Check it out, try it out and let us know how it turned out for you!


 “Mother & Son Scallops”

Recipe courtesy of Joan Parazette & Amanzio Nascimbene

Serves 2

For the scallops

6 large scallops, seasoned with salt & pepper & seared

Salt & pepper scallops & sear off in a hot pan until golden brown.

For the Red Sauce

1 Tbs Sriracha

1 Tsp Soy Sauce

1 Tsp Tomato Paste

Mix in small bowl

For the green sauce:

1 Bunch Cilantro

1 Bunch Basil

1 Handful Mint

3 Cloves Garlic

2 Green Onions

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/4 cup Lime Juice


Salt & Pepper to taste


Place scallops on a bed of frisee, lightly dressed with lemon juice, garnish with Roasted Pine nuts


Thank you Amanzio!!  You can check out more of Amanzio on his Instagram, @amanzio_Nascimbene, or his blog,, definitely worth following!

If you have a recipe, food tattoo or want to be featured on; email us at We would love to feature you and your work in the kitchen or in the studio!

Have a great day


Another Food Tattoo!!



By Henry Dever of Garage Ink, Napa Valley, CA!!!!  Thank you Henry!!

If you have a food tattoo or recipe you would like to share, contact us!

Tattoo Tuesday!



Done by Louis Molloy from Middleton Tattoo Studio in Manchester, UK

Thank you Louis, this tattoo is entertaining and amazing!!

If you have a food tattoo or recipe you would like to see on knivesandneedlesblog, send us an email- we would love to publish you!


Have a great day


Jacob Lyons


Jacob Lyons is one talented chef !!  Read on and see what makes Jacob tick… and get tattooed!

Molly: Tell me about your background and a little bit about what you are doing now.

Jacob: My name is Jacob Lyons I am a caterer and personal Chef  from the Florida keys. I am a member of Cutthroat Culinary, I represent for  the 1%er chefs  pushing the envelope of the culinary scene.  I grew up in restaurants with my pops, absorbing as much knowledge as I could and began creating my own dishes at the age of twelve. I continue to learn and develop daily. I have a high passion for cooking, and I appreciate the artistry in this industry and feel as if there is no limits in between. The transformation of ingredients to the finished product is a story within the journey. In 2010 I received a culinary expertise award. As of now I am currently working on finalizing a seafood blend which will be available online, as well as a couple of pop ups i am still in the planning stages. And I am leaning towards a food truck to share my passion with the masses and ultimately see where my knives take me…. The future is now.

M: So what was your first tattoo?

J: My first tattoo was done at my house while my mom was out of town. I got the word KREW In old English writing. it’s an acronym for Knowledge Reigns Especially Wisdom, Something i made up listening to a lot of Nas.


M: Haha, I love Nas! Do you still have it?

J: Yes its on my right arm

M: Why do you think so many chefs are so heavily tattooed? Is there some sort of connection?

J: I feel chefs are heavily tattooed because of the art that correlates between food and tattoos. There is an underlying love for the both. They coexist perfectly being rebellious from thought to action. I mean most tattoos tell stories or are in remembrance of something. In cooking we tell stories on a plate our form of canvas and skin and ink is to the tattooist what ingredients and preparation are to us culinary minds.

photo-4 copy

M: Totally get the memory thing. A particular dish definitely can be an homage to one thing or another from that chef’s mind. I can see that connecting with tattoos. If you could get tattooed by any tattooer in the world right now, who would it be and why?

J: It’s going to sound crazy but i’d say Cesar from Black Ink in New York, I respect his hustle and grind as far as urban artists goes plus he’s got dope ink abilities.

KeyLime Tat

M: What is your next tattoo going to be?

J: That is a great question I am probably going with a bed of seaweed with oysters on half shells and halved lemons!

M: Yum! One last tattooer question: Who do you admire in the tattoo industry?

J: I like Nikko Hurtado ,Yoji Harada, Chris Garver, Henk Schiffmacher, Caesar from Black Ink. I admire all artists though I pull inspiration from everywhere. I remember listening to a song where the lyric was “So Tell the kids to keep coloring outside the lines and lose their limitations till there minds are free.” I find admiration in the art industry period. I love it.

Knife Tat

I can totally agree. Thank you Mr. Lyons, for taking the time with knivesandneedlesblog! Now for the goodness…  Jacob was kind enough to share a mouth-watering recipe! Read on…


Chili-Lime Mango Grilled Chicken Bao

(Bao Dough Recipe)

1 package dried yeast or 1 cake fresh yeast

1 cup lukewarm water

4 1/2 cups flour

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons Crisco or vegetable oil

1/2 cup boiling water

2 tablespoons sesame seed oil


Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water. Add 1 cup of flour. Mix thoroughly. Cover with cloth. Let rise 1 hour, until bubbles appear.

Dissolve sugar and vegetable oil in 1/2 cup boiling water. Stir well. Cool until lukewarm. Pour into yeast mixture. Add 3 1/2 cups flour.

Knead dough on lightly floured board until smooth. Put into extra large, greased bowl in a warm place. Cover with damp cloth. Let rise until double in bulk, about 2 hours.

Divide into 2 portions. Remove first portion and knead 2 minutes. Repeat with second. Roll each into roll 12 inches long and 2 inches wide. Cut into 12 pieces (24 total).

Flatten each piece with palm of hand. Roll with rolling pin into 3 inch circles.

Brush with sesame seed oil. Indent middle of circle with chopstick. Fold circle in half so that it becomes a half moon. Crimp edges tightly with fork.

Place each roll on separate square piece of foil on steamer tray. Cover tray with towel. Let buns rise to double in bulk, about 30 minutes. Remove towel.

Steam, tightly covered, over briskly boiling water for 10 minutes. Serve with Peking Duck, Crispy Duck, or with any filling you desire. May be prepared in advance. May be frozen. Thaw out in plastic bag and re-steam 10 minutes.

Chili Lime Mango Sauce:

1 6 0z Package Chili Mango Candy

1/2 cup ketchup

A few splashes soy sauce

2 teaspoons fresh chopped ginger

1/4 cup lime juice

Add all ingredients in a small sauce pan and simmer till candy breaks down and becomes smooth continue to cook on low heat to meld the flavors.

Quick Pickled Cabbage:

1/2 cup rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 head of red cabbage

1 plum diced

2 cloves garlic finely chopped

Add all ingredients to a bowl and let chill.

Lightly salt and pepper the chicken breasts and grill over medium high heat glazing with the chili lime mango bbq sauce assemble with the steamed buns add more sauce and finish with pickled cabbage and plums

And you have an amazing asian fusion dish.

Try it at home, let us know how it turned out!

For more on Chef Jacob Lyons:

JJ Ace Catering & Personal Chef


Chef Jacob Lyons


If you are a tattooed chef or a foodie tattooer, we would love to interview you! We love sharing talent with the world!

Have a great day!




Most people would scoff at the idea of drinking something hot in the summer. I disagree. For a long time many cultures have used heat to fight heat. And theres one drink in particular that I love.

Years ago when I was just an apprentice My friend and I would sit in his third floor kitchen with no AC and drink this south american concoction. Sweating it out ain’t so bad with good company and something sweet to drink.

Aguapanela is pure sugar cane. It can be used as a base for coffee and hot chocolate. I serve it plane with lime juice. It’s good any time of year. But to me it just seems like the right thing to do to serve it on a hot summer night.

Heres how you make it…..

Place 2 cups grated or chopped panela in a medium sauce pan with 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil……Image

Then reduce heat and let simmer for about 30 minutes. Let cool (a little) and serve. Don’t forget to add the lime!!!!!!


If you have any recipes you would like to submit or cool food tattoos please send them to!

Chris Mercer’s Food Tattoos



Thank you for sharing your cool food tattoos!! 

if you are a tattooed chef or foodie tattoo artist, get in touch with us- we would love to interview you and feature you!!

Cheers have a great day!!

Tattoo Tuesday!!



Trout done by none other than Ben Grillo!!  Thank you Ben!!

Send us your food tattoos, recipes or anything else food/tattoo related! We would love to publish you!!

Thank you have a great day!


Horitaka’s Food photos

Horitaka loves taking photos of food he and his friends eat!










Have a great day


Send us your food tattoos, recipes or food photos, we would love to publish them!

Eric Alegria, The Butcher


Eric Alegria of Napa Valley here in sunny California is a personal friend of mine with a unique and growing business. He raises organic rabbits and pigs for some of the best restaurants in the country. He is also heavily tattooed by some of the best tattooers in the world! I sat down with him the other day and picked his brain a bit about his life and of course about his tattoos.  So read on!


M: Tell me your background: where you work now, how did you get into the food industry, etc…?

E: I have been into farming hunting and gathering since I was 3. I remember picking black berries with my Ukrainian grandmother. We also had goats rabbits, and other animals. At my grandfathers we had a half n acre garden. I was canning vegetables and meats with my family at a very young age. Smoking fish was my favorite thing to do. At five years of age I could fillet a fish like no other. We cooked a lot of traditional dishes from the Ukraine. We made borsch a staple in our diet in the fall and winter. At family gatherings there were dishes such as palmeni (meat dumplings), pirozhkis, and many others that were passed down from generations. I owe a lot to my grandparents for teaching me these things. A favorite of mine was going with my grandmother to eat liver n onions. Such a treat for a 5 year old child. There were restaurants that actually still served this dish. I used to get cow tongue sandwiches as well.


This opened up many doors for me to see and begin learning the tradition and history of food. Then I began to look at the different cultures and understand how to use all the parts of an animal. Throughout my travels I yearned to get back to my roots. I attempted a few times to start a farm and work for farms and gardening stores. Now I have found myself here in the Napa Valley raising heritage breed rabbits and squab for some of the greats. Like the French Laundry to Meadowood,, and even working some events at wineries and estates. I am a broker for other farms as well. I have found myself working with one of the best pigs in California the Mangalitsa. We raise them on a feral hog diet. This has been amazing I could not of done any of this with out the support of my brother Chad Koeplinger. He has been my inspiration since we met at age 15. This is where life and living began for me.




M: What was your first tattoo?

E: My first tattoo was a pin poke sun I did on my hand while drinking a 40 of King Cobra at a friend’s house. We were partying and skating his ramp all day and some of the older punks n skaters had tattoos and well was ready to step into that idea of being a punk…


M: Who do you admire in the tattoo industry?

E: There are many I admire but to grow up with Chad Koeplinger and watch him go from us at 15 or 16 building machines out of pens and toy electric motors to become such an amazing and respected individual in this business. I could not of made it without him!


M: What is your next tattoo and who do you want to do it?

E: Well I have a couple to finish; one from Chad, a devil on my chest and the other is my back piece from Jondix.



M: Do you think there is a connection between chefs and tattooers? I mean, why do you think so many chefs are so heavily tattooed?

E: Creativity is similar, they are taking traditional dishes and making them theirs! They are determined and eccentric just as many of the great tattooers out there.


M: Do you have any butchering advice for those new to the art?

E: Through the trials and tribulations of life I have found myself sustaining life with life. The idea of creation of happiness is where it stems from. Perfecting farming in an alchemic/scientific way is my passion. Understanding the diet and correct times to slaughter is of utmost importance. Then on to the first cut and helping those experience it is where we all should find ourselves. The first time you pick up the knife to make an incision you must know where and how that animal was raised. Visit your farm take the time to see it from Beginning to the end……. That is my advice.



Thank you Eric!!  You can follow Eric on Instgram at @ericalegria, check out what he and his farm are up to!

If you have any food tattoos, recipes or funny cooking or tattoo stories, email us at, we would love to share your stuff!!


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