Chef Ink was an online campaign launched by Choco to celebrate chef tattoos and kitchen creativity in Austin’s back of house.
A platform was set up for chefs to share photos of their tattoo art with the rest of the food community. We met with Chef Morgan Fulbright, from Hyde Park Bar & Grill who won a $150 tattoo voucher from Tiny Tats ATX in the random prize draw. Twenty-four Austin chefs participated in the campaign including Chef Tony a.k.a Chef La Flame (Dough Boys ATX), Pitmaster Eliana Gutierrez (Valentina’s Tex Mex) and Peruvian Chef J.C Florez (Biru Cocina Peruana).
Grit, soul, chaos, love; all in one. Whether it's a mise en place tattoo symbolizing the hustle at your last restaurant or another life experience, body art is a popular artistic expression for chefs and back-of-house workers. Our industry workers are massively dedicated, putting crazy hours into their craft to serve their local communities. Especially, during these difficult months of covid-19, the Texan storm and power outage. We want to highlight Austin's BOH spirit and creativity.
Kitchen creativity with Chef Morgan:
Chef Morgan is the superstar at Hyde Park Bar & Grill in Austin , responsible for: ordering, purchasing, hiring, firing, training, cooking. Lately due to all the disruption, Morgan has been in the front of house running food, answering phones, on the computer and greeting tables.
Chef Morgan Fulbright - Hyde Park Bar & Grill, Austin, TX
Why do you think chef tattoos are so popular and how do you think they're an expression of chef creativity?
No idea! I saw this meme not too long ago, it was like 20 years ago if you had a tattoo you were thought to be a biker and now it means you cook a mean pork belly with a beautiful balsamic drizzle. It’s just the culture. It’s an artistic expression of what we do when we cook, and I guess we choose our bodies. I have this culinary tattoo from a friend of mine who does 2D to 3D vegetables. This carrot looks so real, she did a really good job! I forgot about this one for the submission.
Do you know what your next tattoo will be?
Yes! I’ve been thinking about it for some time, and now I won the contest Chef Ink, this is so awesome. So, in the kitchen, we listen to a lot of Vicente Fernández, this old Mexican singer. They make fun of me because I love him, I want a tiny little picture of him with a sombrero. We’ve been talking about it in the kitchen and they’re like so you’re gonna do this, and Is he gonna be drinking tequila or just have a sombrero. I’m not sure yet, but something funny like that!
Where do you find culinary inspiration?
I learned to cook from my grandma, and it’s just big on butter and flavor! I’m from NorthEast Texas so it borders Louisiana, so I do a bunch of Cajun, étouffée, crawfish and all kinds of fun stuff like that. I’m pulling ideas from here and there and fusing everything together. I guess I just pull inspiration from other chefs and keep to my core that butter, and flavour the cajun and creole.
Specialty dish from Chef Morgan. Photo credit to @alexwalterphoto.