While tattoos and good food are plentiful in Seattle, a special event on March 7th will be combining these two forms of expression and creativity in a delightfully new way.
Scout, the signature restaurant in Seattle’s newest luxury boutique hotel, Thompson Seattle, will be hosting INKed, an exclusive tattoo dinner. Executive chef Derek Simcik will be taking 28 fortunate guests on a culinary journey through the life of a tattoo artist. (A handful of tickets remain: GRAB them NOW!)
Joining Simcik will be four tattoo artists who will be setting up a pop-up tattoo studio prior to dinner. The tattoo artists will be Kenny Brown of Jack Brown’s Tattoo Revival (@woodbooger, @tattoorevival), Derek Noble of Lucky Devil and Dark Age Tattoo (@dereknoble36), American Traditional Tattoo artist Tascar Wise (@tascarwisetattoo) and Amanda Riner of Slave to the Needle (@amandarinertattoo). $20 of each ticket sale will to toward Adopt the Arts, a non-profit organization funding arts programs in public elementary schools.
Chef Derek is no stranger to theme dinners, having done one in Chicago to celebrate the anniversary of the 1893 World’s Fair interpreting the menu of what was served on the President’s train ride there. He also is no stranger to getting inked as his photos can testify. I had a chance to talk with Chef Derek about food, ink and the connection of gay culture and tattoos.
SGS: Tattoos and food are everyday things in Seattle. How did it come to be that this would be a dinner?
CD: Especially in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, you see both of them in abundance. We are overindulgent in food and tattoos are everywhere, a part of society. But other than seeing a tattoo artist eating in a restaurant or a chef that is covered in tattoos they really aren’t too commonly put together, so that was one thing I was trying to put together. I saw in a tattoo magazine about eight years ago about a dinner that was done that was a chef that got tattooed and then they did a little pop-up dinner just for the artist, with each plate of the dinner inspired by the tattoo they got. It seemed like a way to get a free tattoo from the artist and it wasn’t open to the public.
I thought how can I do this differently? Most of the artists I know and have become friends with have a huge passion for the food and beverage scene, beyond just consuming food for survival. A couple of them that will be at the event are food enthusiasts, following what chefs have done.
It was one of those things I knew could get to come together. Let’s have the guests come in, get tattooed at the pop up shop if they want to, then come down and have dinner with the artists. I’ll be doing, instead of an interpretation of the tattoo, an interpretation of the trials and tribulations of an artist. Every course will be something that will either pay homage or be an interpretation of a tattoo artist coming up in the world of art.
The first course will be Art Appreciation. There will be something of an interpretation of that dish that will be an actual art. They get a started by looking at what something that they become infatuated with and that can become that whole desire to learn more.
Then it goes from that to being creative. There is a little tongue in cheek action with the next one, a little humor. I have this inspiration from looking at art. I want to become creative but like most anyone you get a writer’s block or a creative block, so in the art world there is that stereotype you get high. The next day course is a tongue in cheek interpretation of just smoking.
The next course will be the ink pen and there will be ink everywhere. Then your paper will be the next course and then there will be an actual tattooed course. This will be followed by a party course…everybody is going out to parties. The final course will be with your legendary artists. With this multi course meal, you will go through the entire creative cycle of the artist so at the end, the guest can get to experience it with the tattoo artist there so they actually can talk to them and hear what it is like to create the art.
SGS: Will there be themed drinks?
CD: There will be some beverage pairing or one can order a la carte, but we will have a curated beverage pairing – stay mainly beer and spirt focused. Some of them will be like with the Rum having Sailor Jerry, but some will not be as straight-forward – more of an abstract connection..
SGS: Is there anything else people should expect?
CD: Just be open for conversation. We will mix the artists. The artists won’t be sitting at one table. We are going to stratigically place them around so everyone will be in their area andget their interpretation of the evening.
SGS: This is a limited experience for only a few who can attend. If someone wanted to attempt something like this on their own, in their home perhaps, do you have any suggestions?
CD: There are a couple of different directions. One is don’t hesitate. With creativity any idea could be a good idea. It could be something off-putting because of the challenge if one is not an experienced cook or chef. It could be intimidating, but look outside of the box. It could be more of a straightforward way of cooking and having a dinner and might not be the food itself. The serving pieces could have tattoo work on them. It doesn’t have to be the event itself, it could be something more like having part of tattooed work on the plate itself, decorate table with tattoo design, go to thrift stores and get broken tattoo guns to decorate the table. It does not have to be as straight forward as having to know how to tattoo food.
SGS: You are tattooed. Do you remember your first tattoo? How many tattoos do you have?
CD: I’m not sure how many but both of my arms are sleeves. I have one on back, my right leg is sleeved from my knee to ankle, I am tattooed inside my lip, on my neck,on the top of foot. My first was on my back, a monkey. There is the funny meaning of a monkey on your back and it is what my Grandpa used to call me so it was done in his honor. I was born with a really small head and big ears. I was 16 living In Japan. I went off base without my parents knowing and got it done. I’ve collected tattoos from Chicago, California and Seattle as well.
SGS: I feel obligated to ask, what do you enjoy eating? Where do you like to go have a meal?
CD: I go all over the place, wherever. I like New Luck Toy in West Seattle, Oddfellows, Joule in Fremont, anywhere in the International District for dumplings or dim sum style eating, whatever we my wife and I are in the mood for. I love going to Le Pichet, right across from work, sitting there for wine and charcuterie – those moments like that are kind of like my happy place.
SGS: Finally, most of the folks who will be reading this are from the LGBTQ community. I wonder if you have any thoughts about tattoos in this community.
CD: I do have some thoughts. I really find, the whole tattoo aspect, back in the day it was only motorcyclists, or people in jail who got them. In the 50’s and 60s although they had been around for 100s of years it became something in the United States, that unless you were a roughneck you didn’t get one. If you had one people judged you. It has now become a part of our society, of art and expressionism. A lot of mine are fun, some have deep meaning, just like every person with tattoos.
Someone in the LGBT community of the 70s, 80s and even the 90s might be an individual who could not express themselves. The trails and tribulations they had to go through just living their every day life and who they were. Now folks are being more open. But one form of expression could be in tattoos in the past, in which they could still hide but have it with them at all time. Now being more open to who they are and an acceptance from society it is a piece of artwork they can carry around with them. There is definitely a huge connection there. I know many, many friends who have them – things like rainbow flags, tattoos to show support, having their partner’s name on them or having matching tattoos because from when they grew up they weren’t allowed to.
INKED AT THOMPSON SEATTLE
Derek Simcik, Executive Chef of Thompson Seattle is partnering with notable Seattle tattoo artists to design an interactive multi course experience that will lead guests on a culinary journey through the life of a tattoo artist.
Tattoos are available in addition to dinner and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to http://www.adoptthearts.org/ in support of the arts.
Amanda Riner – Slave to the Needle @amandarinertattoo
Tascar – American Traditional Tattoo @tascarwisetattoo
Kenny Brown – Jack Brown’s Tattoo Revival @woodbooger