Knives and Needles

Where Chefs can talk tattoos and Tattooers can talk food

Archive for the tag “interview”

Steve Looney


Steve Looney and his family are our family. He is an incredibly talented tattoo artist (he does some of the best Polynesian tattoo work out there!) and every time I see something he is working on I am blown away! But his many talents extend way past the doors of Pacific Soul; his tattoo studio out in Honolulu, Hawaii (I know, right?! Uh HEAVEN!).


One of the many talents Steve has is that he is one of the best grillers I have come across in my many years of cooking professionally. His teriyaki burgers rule and his short ribs are the stuff legends are made of. Taki and I (and any fortunate friends we bring along) are so spoiled when we visit them on the island.


We always the best and most interesting food whenever we visit, from coconut crab (a land crab that eats coconuts, Google them- you will be amazed!) to the above-mentioned grilled treats. Thank you Steve and Dani!!


Check out Steve’s Samoan BBQ recipe and some of this incredible tattoo work!!


Steve’s Samoan BBQ

This is for a small bbq (2-4ppl) so multiply recipe for larger bbq parties!

3/4 gal. Aloha Shoyu (soy sauce)

4-6 cups water to dilute shoyu

2 1/2 cups sugar or more or less to taste

Sesame seed oil 3 heaping tbl sp.

Fresh chopped Ginger or minced in a jar 1 heaping tbl sp.

10-15 chopped cloves of garlic

1 lrg. Yellow onion chopped

1 lrg tray of boneless chicken thighs (about 20-25 pieces) from Costco’s or Sam’s Club

1 lrg tray of short ribs (about 20-25 pieces) from Costco’s or Sam’s Club


In a large pot pour shoyu and water and add all ingredients. With your hands squeeze and mash up the ingredients in the shoyu mix. This releases the flavors in the shoyu. Then put it on the stove and turn to med and let simmer for about 5 min. After simmering, pour in to another pot so will cool down faster. Add chicken about half full in 2 gallon ziploc bags as well as ribs in it’s own bags halfway full. After it cools down pour marinade in large 1 or 2 gallon bags with chicken in it. Then in a 1 or 2 gallon bag for ribs to fill just over the ribs and chicken.



Refrigerate for at least 4-6 hours or even overnight.

Grill over mesquite charcoal or Kiawe wood for best flavor till fully cooked

Prep time for marinade: 15-20 minutes about 30-45 min for marinade to cool

Cook time: 1-2 hours depending on heat of charcoal

Feeds about 20-25 or about 10 Samoans maybe less if over 300 lbs.




Thank you Steve for the bbq inspiration!!





Check more of Steve’s tattoo work at:

Pacific Soul Tattoo

320 Ward Ave. #215

Honolulu,HI 96814


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

We would love to promote your work in the kitchen or in the studio!


Thanks for reading, have a great day!!

Luke Wessman

Growing up in a rough part Oceanside, California, Luke Wessman had a hard road to travel to get where he’s at today. Years of hard work, and artistic talent, have built him and his “traditional gangster” style of tattooing quite a reputation in the tattoo and art communities from coast to coast. Now a fixture at Wooster Street Social Club in New York City, Luke stays humble and sticks to the work ethic that got him to where he is today.

I was so stoked to hear that this self made gentleman wanted to share some of his experiences and tattoos with our readers. Thanks, Luke!


Brynne Palmer- How long have you been tattooing, and how did you get into it?
Luke Wessman-I’ve been tattooing almost 15 years now. My older brother’s friend Jason was tattooing everybody in the neighborhood out of his home, and I started getting tattooed by him at 16. He eventually got a job at a newly opened tattoo shop in our city and it was there that I met some other artist and friends that eventually brought me into the life, forever changing it.

BP- What was your first tattoo, when did you get it and do you still have it?
LW- My first tattoo was “Wessman” in Old English across my shoulder blades 18 or so years ago, unfortunately it was covered years back when I started a full back piece. I say unfortunately because the older I get the more I cherish the old ones, but the memories are still there.

BP- What is your fondest food related memory?
LW-Getting the desserts at this homeless shelter we used to eat at as a kid “Brother Benos” That and the donut plate that was out before church started on sundays when I was little.

BP- Your career takes you all over the world, do you have any standout culinary experiences or funny stories from your travels?
LW- I was with some dear friends in Milano, Italy for a tattoo convention, we all went to eat at this little restaurant (Italian of course) and this rude server could not grasp that my friend Manako was vegan and what that meant, we literally almost got into a fist fight with this guy in this crowded restaurant because my friend Manako wanted to send back the cheese filled french onion soup. Another memorable food moment, and more positive, was watching my dear friend at the Aspen food and wine festival do sushi at a SWS party and later hearing Chef Nobu Matsuhisa say to him “I hope we can work together one day” which ment a lot to my friend, which means a lot to me.

BP- Now living in New York, what are a few of your favorite places to eat? Any good go to date spots?
LW- I have a few spots I frequent often, one is called ‘Sons Of Essex” the other is “Schiller’s Liquor Bar” both in the Lower East Side where I live. I get treated very well at both and only a very special lady will I bring to either.

BP- Are there any restaurants in your hometown you really look forward to when you get back?
LW- Yes, one of my oldest friends Rob Ruiz is head chef at a sushi spot called “Harney”, It’s the best sushi I have ever eaten, served by one of my dearest friends, in the city I grew up in, win win.

BP- Do you have any chef clients, and if so what have you tattooed on them?
LW- I do, I suppose the most notable are, my friends Rob Ruiz whom I have done a lot of work on, and Chef Rick Tramonto I did a big Hammer Stahl knife on his forearm. There is a cool video of me tattooing it on Rick on my site.

BP- Have you noticed a correlation between the tattoo and culinary industries?
LW- Oh yeah big time, it seems to go hand in hand. Most chefs I have come across have many tattoos, it seems to be a big part of the chef culture. A lot of passion and struggle in the kitchen. The average people have now idea how hard those guys work back there.

BP- What is your favorite thing to cook at home, and could you share the recipe with our readers?
LW- Well now being a bachelor these days, I’m not really cooking too much in my little NY kitchen, I think the most elaborate meal is like a peanut butter and jelly on a toasted bread, and a wide verity of cereals. For dessert I like to eat a Hershey’s chocolate bar with Nilla wafers and some milk.

For more of Luke’s work, check out!

Lindsey H. Carmichael, esq.

My good friend and fellow tattooer, Lindsey, is one of those incredible people who is enthusiastic about whatever he is involved in, and it really shows through in his work. His approach to tattooing is very precise, clean and thorough- qualities which can be seen in every tattoo he makes. It’s no surprise that his approach in the kitchen is very similar. When I asked him to contribute his favorite recipe, he was stoked and more than happy to share! Please enjoy the culinary stylings and wisdom of the one and only, LHC!


Brynne- How long have you been tattooing?
Lindsey- I have been tattooing for 21 years as of February 1st 2013.

B- Do you have any chef clients?
LHC-To my knowledge, I have 2 customers that are chefs. Both are knowledgeable, quiet & humble about their job. The same way that any tattooer is that is totally immersed in their craft. Stoked to talk about it, but also careful not to make it sound like they know everything.

B- What is your fondest food related memory?
LHC- I have 2. The first is with my brother when I was probably 7 or 8, going to the grocery store with him while he was watching me one night when my Mom was out doing something. We went to buy Sara Lee pound cake and Captain Crunch cereal. I think he ate this food all of the time and he was letting me in on something that was his deal. I remember sitting at the kitchen table eating this stuff with him and feeling like we were close.
The second is making the recipe I’m giving to you here with my daughter for first time and her telling me it was good and that she’d eat it again. I was proud of myself because I followed a recipe and cooked it and it actually came out tasting alright. I cannot remember ever doing that before in my life. I was 42 years old when I completed this task.

B- Do you have a favorite style of food?
LHC- This is a difficult question to answer because I can’t really taste food the way that other people do. Food is just something I eat because I’m supposed to. I don’t have a favorite type of food or restaraunt to go to. I usually go to restaraunts because of the way they look or because of how long they’ve been there.

B- Have you noticed any correlation between the tattoo and culinary industires?
LHC- I have noticed a connection to these two fields because of the attitudes of the chefs I’ve come in contact with. Also, I’ve had long discussions with one of these chefs, Joe Youkhan, about the grades of steel his knives are made of and how that relates to carbon and stainless needles used for tattooing. (In the days when tattooers made their own needles. Something I did twice a week, every week, for 16 years.)

B-Does food play a part in your travels in the tattoo world?
LHC- Food does play a part in my travels. But mainly because it is something we go to do with other tattooers, wherever they’re from, and while we are out eating somewhere, it is a chance to talk away from the tattoo shop about non-tattoo related subjects.

B- Do you have a favorite restaurant?
LHC- Canters-Los Angeles. The Pantry-Los Angeles. Il Trochieto-Milan. I ate Ox hoof in Italy at this last place with Kevin Leblanc and it was great because it was salty & I could taste it pretty good. I also bought a 200 Euro whole bottle of wine at this place because I’d never had wine and thought it would be the best place to try it. I drank a sip of the glass they poured for me, didn’t like it, and handed the bottle over to my good friend Eric Jones, who gladly accepted it and brought it in the cab back to the hotel. He told me the rest of the wine was really good.

B- What do you cook at home?
LHC-I usually cook Meatloaf from my wife’s grandmother’s recipe. Also grilled cheese sandwhiches.

B- If given a choice, what would your last meal be?
LHC- If I could request one last dinner in life, I’d choose a turkey sandwhich (no mayonaisse, plus tomato on the side), a bowl of Matzo ball soup (including carrots and noodles), an order of potato salad & bagel chips from Canters Delicatessen in Los Angeles. It is not because of the outstanding taste of each of these items. It is because I have very fond memories of bringing my lovely wife Leah here on some of our first dates when we met. It was a time when the sun seemed to be out every time we drove there, and the night was perfect when we drove home. It was a beautiful time. I would hustle some Sprite Zero in for the drink, and eat Suzicakes chocolate cupcakes for desert in the car after.

Here is Dad’s Country Chicken Skillet Dinner.


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup milk (your preference what type)
4 tablespoons margarine
2 packages stuffing mix
I can mixed vegetables (I prefer low sodium corn)
1 can Campbell’s cream of celery soup
1 can Campbell’s cream of chicken soup
2 eggs
Liquid Smoke
1 package King’s Hawaiian rolls
2 cans Swanson’s chicken stock
Garlic salt
Country Crock bread spread

Take a cleaver to the chicken and chop it into smallish cubes.
Put some oil, your choice what kind, into a large skillet and brown the chicken pieces. Cover the pan & put it over to the side.

Follow the directions on the stuffing mix and make it next. This is where you use the margarine, replace the water when preparing the stuffing with the chicken stock. More chickeny flavor in the completed product. Cover it & put it over on the side when it’s done. I personally like to add the corn juice from the canned vegetable in this mix for some extra moisture. This is needed because I will take whatever leftover bread action we have at our house, toast it and add it to the stuffing. Rolls, and unused heels of bread in the refrigerator are good here.
Take the soups, 2 beaten eggs, milk, & drained corn and put it all in the giant, metal skillet with the cooked chicken. Bring that to a little bit of a boil. When the whole deal is hot, take 1/2 of the stuffing and put it all around the top of the mixture. Pre heat the oven to 400• and put the skillet in the oven. Set the timer for 20 minutes. When that’s up, take the skillet out and cover the top of the mixture with the rest of the stuffing. Add Liquid Smoke if you like. I do. Set the timer for 17 more minutes and put it back in. At this point take the Kings rolls, cut the whole shot down the middle (filleted), open it, spread with Country Cock and sprinkle with garlic salt. Put it on tin foil, and put it in the oven also for the remainder of the cooking time of the skillet dinner. Feel free to clean your kitchen while you’re waiting for it to be done.

Take everything out when the time’s up, let it cool down for a little bit, and serve it to yourself, your family & 6 friends. But don’t serve this to Tim McAlary. He is vegan and eats rabbit food.

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