Reader Objects to Chef Tattoos on the Cover of Food & Wine

food-and-wine-best-new-chefs-coverIn the "Letters to the Editor" section in the October 2009 issue of Food & Wine (not online), a reader disapproved of the cover of July's Best New Chefs issue that prominently displayed the sleeve tats of Vinny Dotolo and Nate Appleman:

I'll be honest and say what many might have thought when they saw the July Best New Chefs cover with the two chefs in front positioned to reveal their colorfully tattooed forearms: "I don't recall subscribing to Sailor's Monthly." Call me snobby, intolerant or worse, but I would prefer a photograph of a garden or a grill on the cover anytime.

The full size cover:

food-and-wine-best-new-chefs-cover-large

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25 Comments

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  1. I'll say it. The person who wrote that letter is snobby, ignorant, and (worse) out of touch with the new American chef.

    Perhaps she/he thinks they all should look like Emeril or Tyler Florence. Fact of the matter is, the chefs of today are like rock stars. Tattoos play a part in that for them.

    Imagine if that person got a look at some of the female chefs with tattoos. I think her/his head would explode.

    PS: If any readers make it out to LA, Vinny @ Animal kicks out a decent menu. Try the Foie gras biscuit with maple sausage gravy.

  2. maxpickle

    ...I don't recall subscribing to "Idiot Reader Monthly"
    Their offense to seeing tatoos offends me.
    I would rather stare at a grill too rather than read their judgmental opinion.

  3. Kat

    It's not like it's going to rub off on the food! Goodness. I'm just a food editor and a reader wrote in to complain that the tattoos in my bio pic made me look like a "low rent Amy Winehouse foodie." I kinda think that's my next tattoo.

    • maxpickle

      Hah.Is this the same reader? Wow.
      " low rent Amy..." might be too long for your next tattoo but,
      I'd just marker "Thank you!" on my back & send a pic smiling.

  4. HILARIOUS! says this heavily tattooed blogger.

  5. I can only imagine what the reader would say if she saw the actual cooks, prep, dish, etc. who prepare her food in every restaurant in America. It's not the tattoo's that offended the reader, it was someone who didn't look like them -

  6. Call me snobby, intolerant or worse, but I would prefer that all restaurants be unicorns and rainbows, and that all chef's farts smell like roses...

    Seriously, I thought this person was from the deep south or something, but I checked my F&W issue and nope. Los Angeles.

  7. Syd

    I think it looks tacky. I'm not offended by the tats, I just don't like them.

  8. Syd

    Nancy, we have tats here in the deep south, believe it or not. If you want to insult us, at least take a credible crack at it.

    • Do the people that have tats in the Deep South read F&W magazine? I for one would like to know if you have hipsters over there...

      • Janet

        In response to Nancy: Yes, many people in the Deep South that have a passion for food and wine also have tatoos. Do yourself a favor and rid yourself of ignorant stereotypes. Have you ever heard of New Orleans? It's that place in the Deep South that is known for producing some of the best American chefs. BYW, tatoos are very popular down there.

      • To clarify:
        - Vinny Dotolo & Nate Appleman are incredible cutting-edge chefs, and the lady's letter referred to in the post is stupid and really shows her ignorance of the modern day culinary scene.
        - Yes I've heard of New Orleans. Lovely place and amazing food culture.
        - I apologize if I've offended anyone. I don't have a problem with tattoos, hipsters or people from the Deep South, despite their sensitivities to jokes.

      • eli

        yea we have hipsters here richmond virginia is pretty much the hipster capitol of the southeast also im a heavily tatooed cook who is on my way to being a chef just saying there is culture here too we dont all sit around diddling our cousins

  9. DBSweeney

    Still, $20 says they intentionally positioned the tattooed dude front and center, with Dotolo's left arm facing the camera. At least the idiot reader who wrote in on it (sailors? seriously?) picked up on what the art director was going for.

  10. Carlton Fist

    I see no problem with anyone's tattoos but "..the chefs of today are like rock stars. Tattoos play a part in that for them." is a pretty laughable statement / claim.

    A chef who thinks of himself as a "rockstar" needs a boot in his bloated head anyways.

  11. kristin

    I think it is sexy.

  12. NattyB

    I personally think tattoo's are stupid, that said, we're talking about Chef's, not tattoo artists.

    Where the reader's complaint has some merit, is that, the Cover photo was purposfully framed in a manner to show off the two Chef's Tattoo Sleaves. I think it's a little distracting and unnecessary.

    Granted, this is just a cover photo, but, I don't care how spiritual or edgy the Top new Chef's for 2009 are. All I want to know is how well they cook.

  13. This is the era we live in now.... People have tattoos and they are in places where others can see them.... Some still think of people with tattoos as degenerates or punks and they cannot be convinced otherwise. I have a wrist tattoo and I will find older folks stare at it, trying not to make it look obvious, whereas younger people will come out and ask what it says or ask about it.

    I do have to say that I agree with NattyB in saying that the two guys with sleeves were purposely posed there to make some sort of a statement. What, I am not exactly sure. I also agree with kristin... They are sexy!

  14. me

    Tattoos are an older human habit then earrings. Though thanks to nobles back in the day earrings are concidered normal.
    Maybe just get over yourselfs and accept it, because at one point you will have to.

  15. Otis

    Offended is not the word I would choose but neither would I call someone on the other side ignorant. Let's give those on each side the benefit of the doubt

    For many of us over 40, it isn't easy to overcome certain attitudes. No, we don't think everyone with tattoo is a thug, but don't be too hard on us, we've done fairly well overcoming attitudes about race, gender, etc.

    I know many intelligent, over 40, liberal people who are turned off by the whole idea of tattoos. But they say “To each his own they say, it's their body.” But I just showed the cover to my very liberal, modern-thinking, food-savvy wife and she admitted: "I have no problem with tattoos, but secretly, I'd rather not have my food prepared by someone who has them."

    Anyway, tat-lovers, we won't be too hard on you but vice versa.

  16. How the hell does this woman function on a day-to-day basis? Does she recoil in horror when an actual real life person with actual real life tattoos passes her in the street? Cheese and rice. And to be honest, I'm offended by her stereotypying of sailors. Silly bint.

  17. Someone mentioned in response to an Eater LA post that they were glad the chef with the facial piercings got the boot due to the "unappetizing" nature of her body work.

    http://la.eater.com/archives/2009/08/20/top_chef_episode_1_las_vegas_ink.php#more

    Have these people never eaten near an open kitchen? And in LA, two of our most creative young chefs are well tatted up, Michael Voltaggio & Ludo Lefebvre. And those are just the two that come to
    mind. Of course, being a well tatted food blogger myself, I find those comments ignorant and intolerant. Nothing is more unappetizing than intolerance.

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