Knives and Needles

Where Chefs can talk tattoos and Tattooers can talk food

Archive for the tag “knives”

Adam of Bright Side Chef Catering


Brynne recently conducted this fun interview with a super talented chef, Adam of Bright Side Chef Catering! Check it out and don’t miss his mouth-watering recipe at the end : )

Brynne: So Adam, tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been a chef?

Adam: I live in Phoenix, Arizona and have been living here for 18 years. I have been cooking and working in kitchens for about 16 years. I went to culinary school about three years ago and haven’t taken it seriously (as a career) until then.  I got a job as an executive chef right out of culinary school.  I was lucky because that is rarely the case.

B: You own a business called Bright Side Chef? What do you guys do?

A: I own Brightside Chef Catering.  We do your typical catering jobs; weddings, parties, private dining, office luncheons, etc. I also own a food truck “frank.”, in which we specialize in gourmet hot dogs. Who doesn’t like hot dogs? These are more what I do on the side. My “day job” is I am the executive chef for two restaurants in Scottsdale and Chandler. The Skeptical Chymist and Fibber Magees, both under the same ownership. I try to stay busy J


B: What was your first tattoo, and how old were you when you got it?

A: My first tattoo was a music note on my left wrist. My sister got it for me for a birthday present.

B: What initially drew you to tattoos?

A: I grew up listening to punk rock.  I eventually played in a punk rock band. Most people who listen or play punk rock have tattoos. So I grew up seeing all my music idols with tattoos. I thought it was rad.


B: Why do you think tattooing is so prevalent in the culinary industry?

A: Being a chef you are very expressive in what you do. You create something, put it on a plate in your own style, and serve it to someone. It’s a common trend with artistic professions. I say artistic because I believe the culinary world is as artistic as the music world or art world. You see musicians, chefs, artists with tattoos. All of those express themselves in someway, they wear their heart on their sleeve and tattoos are just that. A visual way to express yourself.


B: Do you have a favorite tattoo? Who did it?

A: It’s hard to pick a favorite, it is kind of like picking your favorite child. However the most meaningful one is of an “A” I have tattooed on my bicep.  “A” standing for my last name and I got it tattooed at the same time with my brother. He got the same “A” on his back. Family is a big deal to me, if not the most important thing.  We are still waiting on my sister however to gather the courage to get it.

B: Do you have any especially memorable tattoo experiences? For example, something funny that happened while getting tattooed or a meaningful experience?

A: One of the people I look up to is Johnny Cupcakes. If you don’t know him he is a tshirt designer.  You can check him out at  He has multiple stores as well as his online store. But I don’t respect him for the shirts he designs but for the journey he took to get there. Long story short he created his tshirt business plan as a school project and failed. Dropped out of school, created his tshirt company, is now a millionaire and has stores all over the world. Not that money is everything but just showing that if you really want to do something, and you really put your mind to it, you can do it. I sent him an email asking some questions about starting a business and he actually responded with a lengthy email answering my questions. I was actually really surprised he actually responded let alone one in such detail. He also tours around the US doing lectures at Universities about business as well as going to stores himself and selling tshirts. I went to one here and Phoenix and met him. His logo is a cupcake with crossbones and I got that on me after he drew it on me.


B: What, if any, are your future tattoo plans?

A: I have a couple in mind. I have been wanting to get a Boba Fett tattoo for a while now. I am a huge Star Wars fan and he has always been my favorite character. I also recently broke my ankle in a mosh pit (I know I’m too old for that), however I now have a gnarly scar where they put a plate in. I want to get a steam punk tattoo on my ankle since I am now part robot. J

B: Any advice for a novice in the kithcen?

A: Don’t get frustrated. Like anything it takes practice. If you mess up try it again. Also, as we call it in the culinary world, “mice en place”, meaning “putting in place”. Basically it means have everything ready and prepped before you start cooking.  That way you can concentrate on cooking and not be like “Oh crap, I forgot to cut up the onions, now the garlic is burning”.  Also read the recipe before you start doing anything. Its all about being in control.


B: Do you have a recipe you’d like to share with our readers?

A: I usually don’t make vegetarian dishes but I made this one the other day and it was actually really good


 Eggplant Cannelloni with Romesco sauce and herb oil

For Romesco sauce

1         1/2 medium tomato

2         2 slices French bread

3         2 medium garlic cloves, peeled

4         1/4 cup whole raw almonds

5         1 ½ cup roasted red peppers

6         2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

7         1/4 cup olive oil

8         1 teaspoon kosher salt

9         1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1. Heat the oven to 450°F and arrange a rack in the middle.

2. Arrange the tomato, garlic, bread, and almonds on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until the bread and almonds are lightly toasted, about 5 to 7 minutes.

3. Transfer the roasted ingredients to a food processor or blender and pulse to coarsely chop. Add the roasted red peppers, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and paprika and pulse again until well combined and relatively smooth.  Check for seasoning

For the Herb Oil

1 bunch of fresh parsley

1 bunch of cilantro

4 ounces basil

3 cloves garlic

1 cup olive oil

1.      Add ingredients in a blender and puree until well blended.

For Cannelloni

1 Eggplant (medium)

1 2 cups cremini mushrooms, sauteed

1 pint ricotta

1 bag spinach, sauteed

1 cup enoki mushrooms, sauteed

Micro greens – to garnish

Salt and pepper

Cooking spray

1.      Set oven on low broil

2.      Slice eggplant lengthwise in ½ inch slices

3.      Place eggplant on sheet pan. On both sides, season with salt and pepper, and spray with cooking spray.

4.      Place in oven and cook on both sides for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown.

5.      Remove from oven and on one side add a couple tablespoons of ricotta, cremini mushrooms and spinach. Roll up into the cannelloni and place back on the sheet pan with the “seam” side down.

6.      Set oven to bake at 350.

7.      Bake in oven for 5-6 minutes or until the cheese is warm through.

8.      Spoon romesco sauce on plate, place cannelloni on top, and garnish with micro greens and herb oil.


Thank you Adam, this sounds amazing!!

Here is some contact info for Adam

Contact info:


If you have a recipe or food tattoo you would like to share let us promote you and your work inside the studio or kitchen!! Send it to us at

Thank you and enjoy!!

Tattoo Tuesday!

Ryan Davidson gave us this rad sandwich for Tattoo Tuesday!

“Rob Nuñez did it back in 2006. Was my last day as the shop guy at HB Tattoo, and I wanted a food tattoo from him. He asked me what I liked to eat, I said ‘chicken sandwiches’, and that was it.”

Thanks, Ryan!

If you have a food tattoo you’d like us to show on Knives and Needles, email a photo of it along with artist credit and a little back story to

Knife Care!


What would knivesandneedlesblog be without a blog on knife care? Anyone who cooks knows how important it is to have a clean, sharp knife. I personally think the better you treat your knife, the better the knife will treat you. And that can mean the difference between ending your night cozy in your house or in pain in the emergency room. So save those fingers! Ironically enough, most people cut themselves with dull knives that get overworked and end up slipping on food you’re cutting that rather than sharp knives that just get the job done with little or no effort on your part. Let the knife do the work!

Choosing a good knife


I love knives and I especially love a good multi-purpose knife that I can use for almost anything. In my opinion, all you need at home is a small pairing knife for the little projects like tourney-ing potatoes or peeling apples. But for most other daily culinary tasks a good, well-balanced chef’s knife is all you really need. I personally like Japanese-styled chef’s knives. With European-styled knives, the blunt end of the blade is just that, blunt and unusable. With Japanese chef’s knives, the blunt end is just as sharp as the tip of the knife, which makes the whole length of the knife blade practical. For example, the bunt end of a Japanese chef’s knife is great for taking pits out of fruits like avocado!

Another aspect in choosing the right knife is price point. Japanese knives do not come cheap. They can run into the thousands. That might seem crazy to you, but for all you tattooers out there, knives are our tattoo machines! You can find cheaper knives almost everywhere, quality is nice, but just keeping your knife sharp is more important. Especially if you are just cooking at home. The knife I am using right now is called Kiya. It is a Japanese brand that may be hard to find outside of Japan, so look for it on the internet.

I like sharpening stones. Electric sharpeners are expensive, and the ones you drag your knife through never work well for me. So I will be talking stones only today.

Types of sharpening stones


diamond stone

The sharpening stone is very important. You want to have the right grade for what you are trying to accomplish and also for the type of metal/knife you have. There are four main types of stones: natural stones, artificial stones, Japanese wet stones, and diamond plate stones. They can either be used as whetstones or oilstones. Natural stones are pretty rare these days, the only known mine open for mining the good-quality stone is in Belgium I heard. Synthetic stones are generally equal quality to natural stones however, so do not fret- your knife will be fine!

Whetstones do not need oil or water to lubricate for sharpening but they are often used regardless. Oilstones should be used with oil (if you start using oil, do not switch to water with the same stone later) and oilstones are usually of finer grit. The coarser the grit, the more metal you will wear away from your knife but it is needed to get a really nice edge. Fine grits are usually used to just polish your knife at the end. I will elaborate later.



Japanese water stones are what I use. They are easy to store and I think oilstones are messy and are not good for the type of knives I use for work and at home. The only disadvantage to this stone is that it ‘wears away’ faster and you need to even out the stone from time-to-time. I usually wear it down on a piece of concrete until it is level again. And of course I wash it afterwards!

The fourth type of stone is the diamond plate stone. These tend to be more expensive as real diamond grit is used to make these stones but they are inferior in refining the edge of your knife compared to the other stones.



Stone grading is important. The rougher the grit, the duller your knife should be. To make it easy, I recommend three stones for your at-home sharpening. One medium grit stone, around grade 800, for getting that edge back or getting out any chips in the blade; and finer grit to really fine-tune your edge, around grade 1,000-2,000. If you want to polish your knife, anything grade 8,000 and up will do you right. If you cannot get all three stones, just get a two-sided stone with the grade 1,000 and 1,200. That is sort of an in between grit that will get your edge back and will refine the edge to a satisfactory sharpness. Also, you want to hone your knife after every use (it’s the stick sharpener that usually comes with a knife set). It cannot replace a stone, but it will keep your knife-edge aligned in between sharpenings.

Actually Sharpening Your Knife (using a Japanese water stone)


Step 1 set up

If using a Japanese water stone, wet stone by leaving it submerged in water for about 15-20 minutes before using.

Set up your sharpening area by laying a kitchen towel down flat on a flat surface so the stone doesn’t slide around. Place the stone on the towel and have a bowl of water on-hand.


Step 2 angle of the edge

Take the knife you want to sharpen in your right hand if you are right-handed (left if your not of course!) and dip the tip of the blade in the bowl of water and put a few drops on the stone. Then put the blade on the stone about 10-30 degrees perpendicular to the stone. The steeper the angle the longer your edge will last but the more level angles will give you a sharper edge (it just wont last as long).


I usually use an angle more in the middle, but its up to you and the knife you have. If the knife comes with recommendations or directions, follow those by all means!

You can use an angle guide if you can find one, but otherwise you will need to keep your hands steady so you do not end up with a rounded edge.


Step 3 sharpening commence


Wet the stone with the drops of water and drag your knife with pressure from your other hand on the blade (fingers close to the edge of the blade) from blunt end to tip. Drag the blade from the bottom left corner of the stone in an arch to the bottom right corner of the stone. You should end up with the tip of the blade on the bottom right corner of the stone. It is important to keep the knife at the same angle throughout so go slow! For two-sided knives (which most knives are) you will need to do the same for the other side the same amount of times to keep the edge even. Just go from right bottom corner dragging in an arch formation to the bottom let corner.

Repeat these steps until you have the desired amount of sharpness to your knife. You can check the sharpness by running your thumb against the blade back and forth (left to right, not up and down!) and if the blade catches on your thumbprint indentations, your knife is sharp. If the blade glides smoothly across your thumb you should sharpen more!

Step 4 honing


Hone your knife after you have finished sort of sets your knife and finishes up your sharpening. Using the same angle, slide the blade down and away from you on the honing steel. Do this on both sides of the blade with the same angle you used for the stone.


Now you should have a nicely sharpened knife ready to do your culinary bidding!

Happy sharpening!

If you have a cooking tip, recipe or food tattoo you would like to share, email us at!


Thank you, enjoy!

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