Tattooed Chefs in Print

Birk O’Halloran has written the book on the love affair between chefs and their tattoos. It's called Eat.Ink, and he will sign copies of it this month at Cool Vines wine shops.

The signings will take place Friday, April 25th (5-7 pm) at the Cool Vines in Princeton; Saturday, April 26th (2-5 pm) at the newest Cool Vines, in Jersey City; and on Sunday, April 27th, (2-5 pm) in Westfield.

O’Halloran, 30, has always been intrigued by body art. One of his best friends, who owns tattoo parlors, has even tattooed in his own sideburns. O’Halloran’s cousin, photographer Daniel Luke Holton, took the pictures of the 60 chefs across the country featured in Eat.Ink. Holton got his first tattoo at 17 and has continued to build his body gallery.

But O’Halloran has nary a one.

“It’s kind of amazing that I haven’t ended up with any,” he says. “I guess I’m just too much of a chicken. I definitely have plans for a few, but I haven’t managed to find the time to go get them. If I’d had a lot of them, the book might never have come about, because there might not have been that fascination for me.”

In its 300 full-color pages, Eat.Ink presents photographs of the 60 chefs, comments by them about their tattoos and recipes from their restaurants, making the book “half cookbook, half photojournalism," O’Halloran says. "It’s equally at home on your coffee table and in your kitchen."

As reported in this month’s New Jersey Monthly, Eat.Ink. features four New Jersey chefs: Scott Anderson of Elements in Princeton; Anthony Bucco of the Ryland Inn in Whitehouse Station; Francesco Palmieri of the Orange Squirrel in Bloomfield; and Marc Forgione of American Cut in Atlantic City. Read the story HERE.

“The overall theme is expression,” O’Hallaron says. “Tattoos are really personal, so it’s another way for them to express themselves.”

O’Halloran, a Colorado native, graduated from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. He has a day job as head of sales and marketing for a Long Island-based wine importer. He is co-founder of Iconic Wine, a Napa, California, boutique wine company.

A couple years ago, he read a short article about food-related tattoos. It made an impression on him, as tattoos are wont to do, Shortly thereafter, he visited his photographer cousin Holton in Colorado. “Iit took all of about half a beer to convince him that we should do this,” he says.

Click HERE for a slideshow of more New Jersey chefs with tattoos, gathered by NJM’s "Table Hopping" maven, Rosie Saferstein..

Cool Vines

255 Grove Street
Jersey City

21 Spring Street

127 Central Avenue


SUZANNE ZIMMER LOWERY is a food writer, pastry chef and culinary instructor at a number of New Jersey cooking schools. Find out more about her at

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