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Food Ink: Patrick Horvat from Marczyk Fine Foods salutes French food king Escoffier

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As part of an upcoming photo essay project spotlighting Denver restaurant pros whose tatts are as prevalent as their dissections, burns, blisters, knife slashes and stabs, we promised that we'd post some of the best ink on the Cafe Society blog.

We've already exposed the tatts of Matt Selby, executive chef of Steuben's and Vesta Dipping Grill, Brandon Biedermann, chef de cuisine of Steuben's and Chad Clevenger, chef/owner of Mel's Bar & Grill, who described his tattoo as "a blue-footed Bresse chicken that's very fatty and tasty."

We also featured the bacon and eggs Mexican sugar skull that belongs to Erik Perez, who works as a bartender/server at Mezcal and a cook/server/bartender at Krameria Cafe. "I've worked in diners my whole life, cooking a lot of bacon and eggs, so this just made sense to me," explained Perez, who got inked earlier this year by Adrian Hernandez at Tin Man Tattoo.

Chase Wilbanks, chef de cuisine from La Tour in Vail, flashed a brilliant red tattoo of a crab, complete with a lemon, fork and plate. "I was sort of going for a seafood, ocean theme, but the tattoo was just freehand and random," says Wilbanks.

Last week, Liz Thomas, manager of Watercourse Foods, flaunted a food tatt on her enviably taut belly. "It's a bulb of garlic, eggplant, carrots, tomato, a mushroom and a cupcake in the middle," says Thomas. "Basically, it's all my favorite vegetables - the ones I couldn't live without -- and then a cupcake for my livelihood. I make dozen and dozens of cupcakes a day, and they're all vegan. I had to pay some respect!"

Proving that body art doesn't have to be complicated or the hue of Popsicles, Patrick Horvat, a cook at Marczyk Fine Foods (and, as of next week, the new sous chef of Venue), chose a famous quote from French chef Auguste Escoffier, inked on his wrist, to profess his love for food and cooking. "When I got my tattoo, I was working 65 hours a week at two jobs, and I wanted to get a tattoo that reminded me of why I do what I do, and Escoffier's quote just rang true for me," explains Horvat. "It reminds me of how much time working in this industry takes and that good food can also be beautifully simple."

If you're a restaurant employee with awesome food ink, send photos of your art (and the stories behind them) to cafe@westword.com.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

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