Enter any professional kitchen and you will see plenty of tattoos on display. Why is this? Working with food is some of the most demanding work on the planet. These dedicated cooking professionals work long, grueling shifts that require tons of discipline and plenty of talent in the kitchen. While difficult, the work is rewarding. This is why you find so many chef tattoos. Chefs are notorious ink-lovers who display their love for cooking in ink.
Chef tattoos come in all shapes and sizes, but the most common is a big chef’s knife on the forearm. It looks rather tough, which we know is by design, but we wanted to discover more imaginative designs as well. This does not mean you won’t see a few chef’s knife tattoos as we have included a few notable examples in this list as well. If you love your kitchen work or just love cooking, check out these amazing chef tattoo ideas to inspire your very own delicious design.
As promised, let’s kick things off with a chef’s knife. You have seen this tattoo right? Or at least a form of it? It’s its own sub-genre of chef tattoo at this point. We loved the addition of herbs and citrus in this design.
Do you have that mise en place ready to go? These lovely ingredients are delicately tattooed with the names below each. We particularly love the chanterelle mushroom. Now, it’s time to get chopping!
Tiny Tools of the Trade
We find a teeny-tiny honing rod, knife, and whisk in this cute micro tattoo. If you are looking for a more subtle chef tattoo that is not a giant blade on your forearm, something like this would be very handsome!
Ready to Bake
Bakers love baking and it becomes a bonafide passion once they learn the science behind what they are doing. We love this baking-themed chef tattoo that has an icing spelling “passion.” So sweet!
Cast Iron Life
If you know the joys of cooking with a cast-iron skillet firsthand, you will want to become a cast iron pan evangelist. This cute pan tattoo is the perfect way to show you love to sizzle.
We are not entirely sure what is happening with this chef tattoo but we like it! A nicely tattooed whisk seems to be turning into a magic wand? Has been radiated? Who knows! We just encourage you to be bold and use your creativity for the most memorable designs.
This big tattoo of a cupcake fairy was not one we expected to see today or ever. Baking does feel like magic as bakers transform sugar, butter, eggs, and flower into the most delicious foods on the planet. Appropriate!
‘Needs More Salt’
If you ever have the pleasure of working in a professional kitchen, you will inevitably hear “needs more salt” almost every single day. After all, salt is the most important ingredient that we use for cooking even though it might not seem apparent. Salt enhances flavor and so this chef has chosen it as inspiration for their chef tattoo.
Roll with It
Not a big knife on the forearm, but a big rolling pin in this tattoo. We love this handsome tattoo that’s been applied with so much care. The subtle blue background is a nice touch that helps the warm colors of the pin and wheat really pop.
Okay, it’s not always a cliché. We find a chef’s knife tattoo here containing beautiful natural elements including a radiant rose and cherry blossoms in a storm for the handle. What a dreamy and original tattoo!
This is a fun one! Working in a professional kitchen is like working on a ship. There’s a hierarchy of leadership with the lead or executive chef at the helm. Every time you are given a task from the chef, it is customary to reply, “Yes, chef” and it is frowned upon to not include their title!
Shrimp On the Mind
We do not know why that lone shrimp is floating around, but we can say we do occasionally dream of shellfish ourselves. Also, a cityscape is inexplicably in place of a face. Some tattoos are personal and that’s completely fine!
Pretty Pots and Pans
These hanging pots and pans make for an attractive tattoo. If you are looking for an understated chef tattoo something simple and unique like this design will serve you well.
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We find the tools and ingredients that go into baking a cake floating in the air in this whimsical tattoo design. How adorable is this tattoo idea?
Kewpie dolls are popular subject matter for tattoos because they are just so cute and can be employed to express a number of ideas. Here, we find a little chef kewpie that has fallen into a boiling pot! A touch morbid, but wholly original!
Stir Things Up
We are pretty sure some of the giant mixers we have encountered in restaurant kitchens have big enough motors to power a midsized sedan. Mixers are so wonderful and they help all of us make fast work of mixing, kneading, and whipping. We love this mixer chef tattoo with random embellishments around it.
Cooking with Cat
We love a good cat tattoo and we love a good chef tattoo and the two worlds collide in this awesome cat chef design. He seems to be enjoying his creations! Meow!
Nothing Else Matters
Is there anything better than butter? Vegans, do not answer that! Butter is such a delicious component that adds richness to any dish. We find a loving tribute in this butter tattoo.
Spice Is Nice
Hot people love spicy food! We find a saucy-looking chili pepper here that appears to be winking at you.
Remy dreams of becoming a great chef, despite being a rat in a definitely rodent-phobic profession in the beloved Disney film Ratatouille. That little rat is so inspiring that he has been made the subject of many chef tattoos. This is one of our favorites that includes playful glitter hearts.
We find a hand mixer in this tattoo with a banner that reads “just beat it.” The blue ink was a great choice for this as it looks great on this person’s skin tone. Little cookies help give this design some sweetness.
Pick a fruit, any fruit, and get that baby tattooed and you have a wonderful design that honors both nature and our nourishment. These watercolor tomatoes are stunning and you would be wise to do something similar!
The reference for this escapes us or this is just a very original tattoo design of a rather sinister-looking chef roasting a bird. We do not know what in the world is happening with this chef tattoo, but we do not hate it!
Ah, yes. Here is an exceptional knife tattoo that has been expertly tattooed with so much attention to detail. Look how the artist has captured light reflecting from the blade and off of the shiny surface of the basil leaves. This is so dreamy! If you’re going to do a big knife, at least make it beautiful.
A Day in the Life
Last, but certainly not least, we find this array of micro tattoos floating around on this person’s arm. A chef’s hat, cheese, a measuring cup, an oven mitten, a whisk! This tattoo has all the things you know and love about being in the kitchen included. We love this original design!
Too Many Cooks
This is what happens when there are too many cooks in the kitchen. Don’t find yourself with a swordfish around your neck, okay?
Cook or Die
As you’ve likely gathered, the chef skull and crossbones is an extremely popular motif. We find it in this example applied in bold, black ink.
All the Pasta
This chef tattoo is all about the carbs. We find familiar pasta shapes that celebrate all things Italian cookery.
Chop It Up
Sketch tattoos are popular chef tattoos as they add so much movement and energy to typical designs. Request a tattoo that looks drawn on as opposed to tattooed for this unique effect.
Your Favorite Flavor
Garlic is a most popular subject matter for chef tattoos. You will find all manner of garlic tattooed on cooks as they know how much flavor the allium packs.
Here’s a pairing we only encountered once. A chef’s knife and a rose look rather romantic together.
You have already seen a number of chef tattoos that include a knife but you have not seen a galactic one. This space-inspired tattoo truly dazzles.
Butchers and chefs must know how each cut of meat is best prepared. We find a cow meat map in this design that’s not only cool-looking but also informative.
An onion, a carrot, and a turnip walk into a bar… Just kidding! These vegetables make for an excellent chef tattoo that highlights produce.
We really love the black flames coming off of these mushrooms. For something with a lot of energy, consider lighting it on fire for an evocative design.
Here’s a cute chef tattoo that feels so personal thanks to the character. If you’re a lady who loves to throw down in the kitchen, consider something similar.
Micro tattoos are a huge trend at the moment and we find them here in the form of kitchen mainstays. If you don’t want a huge chef tattoo something this size could be an ideal choice for you.
Mix It Up
We’re enchanted by this dragon that’s mixing up some sort of batter. Let your imagination run wild for a chef tattoo that’s wholly original and unique.
Here’s a traditional-style tattoo with a twist. We find a romantic portrait of a woman who has her hand on a cute cupcake. The chef’s hat is equally as tempting.
Wow! This masterpiece is on a chef who knows how important ingredients are. Honey is an essential sweetening agent that we would all be wise to celebrate.
If you’re lucky enough to be brought up in the American south, you have likely had your share of delicious collard greens. Now we’re craving a vinegary hot sauce!
Herbs are not only delicious, they are also beautiful. This rosemary sprig makes for a delightful chef tattoo.
One of the few celebrity chef tattoos we came across finds Gordon Ramsay‘s face reflected from a chef’s knife. If you have a cooking idol, go for it!
What a celebration of spices! The colorful spices and herbs really pop against the bluish-grey background.
“Stay hungry,” this tattoo instructs us. Deal! If you don’t want a chef’s knife tattoo, go ahead and get that frying pan!
For the Love of KitchenAid
If you know, you know. KitchenAid mixers are a perennial favorite and we have seen a number of them for chef tattoos. This one really stood out thanks to all of the detail and the inclusion of pretty flowers.
Ting ting! Can’t you hear the sound of tongs now? We find some paired with a knife and a whisk for a balanced chef tattoo that includes gorgeous florals.
Dice It Up
Chopping is such a huge part of what it means to be a chef. Knife skills are the mark of a true professional and this tattoo seems to celebrate just that.
How fun is this salsa tattoo? We find all the ingredients floating in the air before they are mixed together and seasoned to perfection. If you have a particularly beloved dish, consider celebrating its components with a chef tattoo like this.
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We leave you with one of the most whimsical chef tattoos on this list. We find a koala bear as a charming chef with a cute little hat and apron. Get weird with your ideas and you will love the end result!
There you go! 50 chef tattoos that celebrate all things food and illustrate a passion for cooking it. If you work in a kitchen, you know how demanding the job can be. But, you do it because you love it. We hope you feel inspired by these tattoo designs to express that love through ink.
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
- 1 Chef’s Knife
- 2 Ingredients
- 3 Tiny Tools of the Trade
- 4 Ready to Bake
- 5 Cast Iron Life
- 6 Whisked Away
- 7 Cupcake Fairy
- 8 ‘Needs More Salt’
- 9 Roll with It
- 10 Knife Skills
- 11 Yes, Chef
- 12 Shrimp On the Mind
- 13 Pretty Pots and Pans
- 14 With Love
- 15 Kewpie Chef
- 16 Stir Things Up
- 17 Cooking with Cat
- 18 Nothing Else Matters
- 19 Spice Is Nice
- 20 Ratatouille
- 21 Beat It
- 22 Produce
- 23 Okay…
- 24 Fresh
- 25 A Day in the Life
- 25.1 Too Many Cooks
- 25.2 Cook or Die
- 25.3 All the Pasta
- 25.4 Chop It Up
- 25.5 Your Favorite Flavor
- 25.6 Slice
- 25.7 Galactic
- 25.8 Meaty
- 25.9 Veggies
- 25.10 Shrooms
- 25.11 She Cooks
- 25.12 Micro Mood
- 25.13 Mix It Up
- 25.14 Cupcake
- 25.15 Oh, Honey
- 25.16 Collard Greens
- 25.17 Rosemary
- 25.18 Chef Ramsay
- 25.19 Spice
- 25.20 Hunger
- 25.21 For the Love of KitchenAid
- 25.22 Tools
- 25.23 Dice It Up
- 25.24 Salsa
- 25.25 Chef Koala
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