Edible Ink

Edible Ink: Dustin Gardner, Executive Chef of Soba

By Rachel Jones / Photography By Michael Fornataro | June 01, 2015
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Through years of working with this city’s culinary masterminds, we couldn’t help but notice how they wear their creativity on their sleeves. Or, literally, as sleeves. The intricate tattoos these chefs sport are more than conversation starters. They are artful reflections of their lives and personalities. Some of the stories behind these pieces are even more beautiful than the designs themselves. In this new section, Edible Ink, we’ll introduce you to Pittsburgh’s top chefs and their cool tattoos.

First up is Dustin Gardner. In his dishes, the executive chef at Soba has a flare for packing layers of flavor into simple presentations. In his tattoos, his diverse tastes and continuous quest for perfection really shine.

Executive Chef of Soba, Dustin Gardner

NUMBER OF TATTOOS:
I don’t even know. Most of my originals are covered up because I started appreciating them more and wearing different art. I’ve had a lot of them reworked as I’ve grown up. The only original I have is the Sublime sun.

LOCATIONS OF TATTOOS:
I have tattoos from my shoulder, down my arm, and on my hands. My legs, my foot. The only place I wouldn’t do is my face.

NEWEST TATTOOS:
I got “Self Made” across my knuckles.

FAVORITE TATTOOS:
I went to the Steel City Tattoo Convention and got nesting dolls. They’re skulls and very floral, but not colored. I also have my mom’s initials on my right hand and my dad’s initials on my left thumb. They’ve always been supportive of [my] tattoos.

LOVE OF TATTOOS:
I appreciate the art and the way it looks. I think they’re socially acceptable now. It used to be that if you got tattoos on your hands, they were called ‘unemployment gloves.’ But, it’s not that way any more. And, really, it’s not about what you look like, it’s about who you are.

Gardner Rolls Up His Sleeves
Gardner's Knuckles

Know a local chef with great tattoos? Send us a tweet @edibleAllegheny!

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