Knives and Needles

Where Chefs can talk tattoos and Tattooers can talk food

Archive for the tag “restaurant”

Jose Ruiz

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He may be one of the youngest chefs in San Diego, but don’t let his age fool you! Jose Ruiz is one talented chef, and he was nice enough to sit down and let us into his world for a minute! Read on…

Molly: Tell me about yourself, please include what you are doing now

Jose: I am 25 years old, Mexican-American, born and raised in San Diego, California. I am currently the Executive chef at Herringbone La Jolla and have been working in the industry for over 10 years.

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M: How did you get into cooking?

J: My family friends owned a sushi bar where I got my fist job washing dishes, from there I gradually worked my way up to prep cook, then working on the line to eventually becoming a sushi chef at the age of 17. From then on I was hooked.

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M: Who inspires you in the kitchen?

J: Im inspired by all the old grandmothers, butchers, farmers and fishermen that have taken there passion and created old traditions. These are the classic chefs who have paved the way for new innovation. I feel like with out understanding the origins of where it all started its harder to know where its all going.

M: What interested you in getting tattooed?

J: Both my father and my uncle are heavily tattooed, and I have been surrounded by that kind of lifestyle since I can remember. From cars and tattoos, to art and everything that goes along with it.

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M: What was your first tattoo?

J: My “Ditch”, a red rose with music notes and spider webs.

M: Who do you admire in the tattoo industry?

J: There are a lot of artists that I admire but someone who stands out to me is Sergio Hernandez ‘Surge’ at 7 Seas, San Diego. He is an innovator when it comes to Mexican-American art in San Diego and is one of the most all around talented people I know. Along with being an artiest he is a Jiu-jitsu champion, successful musician, amazing family man, all the while staying humble.

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M: If you could get tattooed right now, what would it be and who would do it?

J: Besides finishing a very large piece I have on my stomach, I want to get a traditional Aztec serpent and black panther on me back. Right now my main artiest is Dan Pryor at 7 Seas, we have built a great friendship and he’s an amazing artiest.

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M: Do you own any tattoo magazines and which ones?

J: No, but I flip through some while I get my hair cut.

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M: Why do you think so many chefs are heavily tattooed?

J: I think it has become less of a taboo now for chefs to be heavily tattooed, and regardless of how odd some of us might look it doesn’t say any less about our craft and what we are doing. Every one of us has a story to tell and some like myself have chosen to express that on our bodies and through our food.

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M: Do you have any cooking advice for those who don’t cook much?

J: Dont over think it!! Its just food, and its all about trial and error.

Jose also sent us one of his specialties, try it out!

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Chicken fried sweetbreads with tabasco caviar, pickled mustard seeds and whipped blue cheese.

For sweetbreads:

1 -2 veal sweetbreads

2 cup flour ap flour (dredge mix)

1 cup corn starch

1 cup corn meal

Salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder to taste ( for fry flour)

1.5 qt butter milk ( for soaking and frying)

For mustard seeds:

2 tablespoons brown mustard seeds

1 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

For Tabasco caviar:

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup Tabasco sauce

1 tablespoon agar agar

7 sheets gelatin, bloomed (softened in ice water)

1 pint very cold canola oil ( chilled in freezer for 4 hours)

For Blue cheese whipped cream:

3 cups heavy whipping cream

1 cup blue cheese crumbles

5 sheets gelatin, bloomed ( softened in ice water)

1 bowl of ice

Pickled mustard seeds:

Combine sugar, red wine vinegar and mustard seeds in a sauce pot with a pinch of salt and simmer slow until mustard seeds are tender, about 20 – 30 minutes reserve in liquid.

2 Making tabasco caviar:

Put the water and Tabasco into a sauce pot with agar agar and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in bloomed gelatin sheets. Take an eye dropper and drop Tabasco mix into the cold oil, when all Tabasco is in the oil, strain away the remain oil and you will have the caviar.

3 Blue cheese whipped cream:

Slowly heat up heavy whipping cream in a sauce pot, little by little whisk in blue cheese crumbles as soon as all the blue cheese is incorporated whisk in bloomed gelatin sheets. Remove from heat and chill in the refrigerator. As soon as it’s cooled place blue cheese heavy cream liquid into a table top mixer with whisk attachment put bowl of ice underneath the bowl to keep the bowl as cold as possible. Whisk at medium speed until it looks like whipped cream season with a pinch of salt and some cracked black pepper to taste-be careful not to over whip.

4 Veal Sweetbreads:

Take 1 quart of buttermilk and brine (soak) sweetbreads for 24 hours in refrigerator, remove from butter milk and wash off remaining butter milk under cold water. Heat up a pot of heavily salted water ( for poaching ) as soon as the pot is boiling place sweetbreads into the water and lower heat to a simmer. Depending on the size of the sweetbreads let them simmer about 15-20 minutes or until the sweetbreads have firmed up, remove from water and place into ice bath to cool (shock). Once cooled clean membrane(outer skin)and cut into large pieces and place into remaining 1/2 quart of buttermilk with a couple dashes of Tabasco and marinade.

5 Flour mixture ( dredge )

Combine flour, corn starch, corn meal, a pinch of salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and onion powder in a bowl and mix.

To assemble and serve:

Heat fryer to 325 or a large pot with oil, dredge sweetbreads in flour mixture and redredge In buttermilk then flour mixture. Carefully place pieces in fryer. Fry until golden brown about 3-4 minutes. Carefully remove and place on paper towel. On plate place on a light bed of greens (arugula, mizuna, frisée, etc. so they don’t roll around ) with whipped blue cheese, and garnish with caviar,mustard seeds with liquid and Micros or chopped parsley.

Damn! Thank you Jose, you went all out!

Send us your food or tattoo photos, we would love to feature you!

@knivesandneedles

knivesandneedles@gmail.com

Cheers!

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Ian Marks!

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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!

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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!!!

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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.

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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.

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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

Salt

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

Salsa:

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.

Assembly…

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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Enjoy

Ian

Ellen Murphy

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Ellen murphy

Ellen Murphy is not only a tattoo artist who loves food, but she is one inspriational girl. We recently chatted about her love for food and what inspires her eating habits. Here is what she had to say, so read on!

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M: How long have you been tattooing?

E: I started my apprenticeship in late 2004.

 

M: Do you tattoo anyone thats a chef?

E: I have worked on a lot of chefs and people who work in the food and restaurant industry and it’s a good thing because I usually guide the conversation to food sooner or later.

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M: In all your talks with culinary professionals, have you noticed a correlation between the tattoo and culinary industries?

E: I Have! A lot of Tattooers seem to be Foodies and Visa Versa. Tattooers and chefs both have jobs with long hours that kick the shit out of them but they love it. And what better way to reward yourself after a long day than to lean back and have someone serve you a fucking awesome meal made by people who care about what they are doing and using real fresh food. I’m sure people feel the same way when they get tattooed by some rad tattooer who gives a shit about what goes into their body.

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M:  Interesting! So, what is your fondest food related memory?

E: Picking and eating wild blueberries in the woods as a kid. My mother grew up eating what they could find so she taught us to forage for wild food. We used to pull over on the side of the highway and cut the bark off bayberry trees or collect wild red clover for tea.

 

M: Uh, that is amazing. Seriously cool. And what is your favorite style of food?

E: I would have to say Asian and Middle Eastern. Both tend to have good flavor and simple healthy ingredients. Honestly though…I love all food. Ramen, Pho’ and Sushi are a big staple in my diet. At home I usually just eat fruits and vegetables. Raw foods.

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M: Yeah raw foods are really good for you. I’ve noticed tattooers eat at odd hours most of the time because of their jobs, how do you balance your diet with your work schedule?

E: It’s hard to be healthy at a tattoo shop. When everyone else is getting fried chicken and biscuits your bean salad doesn’t look so good anymore. I save the real gluttony for when I’m not working. I eat mostly vegan gluten free during the week and everything else on the off days. I also go to the gym 4 days a week and yoga plus walk 30-90 minutes a day. Sitting on your ass for a living and eating when you have five minutes every five hours can really make it hard to have a healthy diet.

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M: You live on the East Coast, any restaurant recommendations?

E: I have a few of them. But the one that really stands out is Coppa in the south end of Boston. It’s an Italian restaurant and the Chef is Jamie Bissonette. He uses every part of the animal you can think of.  Some of my favorite things I have had there were calves brain ravioli and chestnut pasta with a boar ragu. Vinegar bleached sardines and a pig’s tail braised with a honey glaze and Ethiopian spices. I could go on and on and on…….

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M: That sounds like heaven! You travel a lot for work and just in general. What do you end up eating, anything interesting?

E: Whenever you go to a convention or a shop somewhere else, the first thing people want to do is show you where they like to eat. Or find the best place to get good food in town. Not Applebees and TGI Fridays.

Going from place to place makes you interested in the culture and a big part of culture is in food. First thing I wanna do when I get off the plane is eat. It’s what I think about most of the day haha!  And if you don’t want to starve in other countries you eat what they have when they have it.

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When I was in San Francisco last year I went to a really great sushi place called Tekka. It’s so awesome. You have to wait outside in line for an hour or so before they open. And they have 10 seats and only two seating’s a night. There’s one guy making the sushi and his wife serves the drinks. It was so quiet you could hear a mouse fart in there and all of a sudden he turns the TV on and Johnny cash Live at Fulsome prison starts playing. The sushi was awesome and the cuts were as big as my fist. There was a sign above the chef that basically said, we make it the way we want and you will eat it like that and like it or get the fuck out. Genius.

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Once in Japan I ate a sashimi fish at a restaurant where you catch your own. It was still moving while I was chewing on it. That was interesting.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on food, Ellen, suddenly I feel like hitting the gym!

Ellen Murphy recipe

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 Sautéed Tofu on Quinoa and lemon pepper asparagus

 Ingredients

Extra firm tofu

Agave nectar

Chili powder

Salt

Pepper

Quinoa

Asparagus

Lemon

Olive oil

Method 

First, bring one cup of water to a boil. Add 1/2cup quinoa to water. Stir and then lower heat to simmer and keep covered for 15 minutes. While that’s cooking

Drain Tofu and press it in between two paper towels to make it less soggy.

Then cut it into cubes. Add a tablespoon or so of olive oil to frying pan and bring to medium heat. Then add Tofu. Once the tofu starts to cook, add a few tablespoons of agave nectar, 1teaspoon of chili powder and a few pinches of salt. Stir around every few minutes until browned a bit on all sides.

In a separate pan add one teaspoon of olive oil. Then add Asparagus. Let sear for a minute or so and then squeeze half a lemon into the pan. Add salt and pepper to taste. Then cover on medium heat for two minutes.

Plate asparagus and quinoa. Add tofu to quinoa. Done!

Enjoy and happy eating!

photos courtesy of Ellen Murphy

Christian Dolias

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Christian Dolias

Christian Dolias of CutThroat Culinary is a force to be reckoned with. He is an innovator in the culinary world, taking kitchens by storm leaving no pot unstirred! He runs an ever-expanding social club for chefs called CutThroat Culinary with members all over the States, Europe and South America.

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Their mission is to bring cutting edge chefs together and push gastronomic envelopes. Basically cause a culinary ruckus by creating the new and recreating the old. They specialize in pop-up dinners, kitchen takeovers to invent unique and exciting dining experiences for all to enjoy. Crazy stuff!

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Christian is 34 and graduated from California Culinary Academy in 1997. He eventually left the professional kitchen to start CutThroat Culinary. When he is not tearing up the restaurant scene, he spends time with his wife and kids, and one new one on the way!

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He got his first tattoo in 1994, age 16. It was a bad copy of a signature of Jimi Hendrix and he has since covered it up. Christian is a take-life-by-the-balls kinda guy, so its not a surprise his favorite tattoo is one of his wife by Nate Esteras. Its done cartoon-style and got it after dating for only two weeks!

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One of his more memorable tattoo stories happened a few years back. He was in town (here in San Jose) for a speaking engagement with the celebrity-chef Anthony Bourdain. Christian has a portrait of Anthony Bourdain (done by Ben Corn) on his thigh and somehow ended up getting on stage and showing it to Mr. Bourdain and the rest of the crowd. I asked him if the chef was flattered or creeped out. He was flattered!

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Christian names Mike Ferguson as a tattoo hero and his advice on dealing with a healing tattoo in the kitchen is just deal with it. Rightfully said, sir!

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Here is a Christian recipe, you gotta try it!

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Foie gras and Waffles with Vanilla and Riesling Grape Comfiture 

Waffle

2 c cake flour

1/2 c sugar

1/4 c brown sugar

3 1/2 tsp baking powder

2 eggs separated

1 c milk

1/2 c buttermilk

1 c melted butter

1 tsp pure vanilla ext

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Combine dry ingredients

Whisk egg whites to stiff peaks

Beat yolks, add milk,butter and vanilla

Stir into dry ingredients until moist then fold in whites

Foie Gras

Cut a nice uniform slice of Foie gras approximately 3oz (1 serving) score the foie gras and place scorn side down in a ripping hot sauté pan and allow to caramelize, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Flip and sear for another minute

(Hold all Foie gras rendering, this shit is good on everything!)

White grape / vanilla comfiture

Add to med saucepan

1/2 # whole white grapes

2 c clover honey

1/4 # white raisins

1/4 # white raisins (for finishing)

1/2 bottle Muscat wine

1/4 gal apple juice

Bring to med boil

And reduce by 1/2

Remove from heat and pulse with submission blender until smooth

Pour through chinios

Return liquid to med heat and whole white raisins, split and scrap one vanilla bean and vanilla and bean to liquid, reduce again approximately by 1/2 allowing the raisins to plump.

That sounds incredibly mouth-watering!

Thank you Christian, YOU ROCK!!

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You can check out more on CutThroat Culinary at www.cuthroatculinary.com.

photos compliments of Christian

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