Welcome back to Ink Spotted, a feature in which Eater talks to DC's tattooed chefs and gets the stories behind their most intriguing ink.
[Photos: Nevin Martell/Eater.com]
Pizzeria Orso executive chef Will Artley wasn't always on the right track. As a teen, he was kicked out of high school in upstate New York, which was a huge blow to his parents. "That was the first time I let them down," admits Artley. "I told them, 'I promise you that I'm going to do something with my life. I'm just taking a different path.'"
Starting at age 15, he started gravitating toward kitchen work, picking up any kind of gig he could score. There was one stint at Misty Meadows Pig Farm, which also had a restaurant. "So you’d get to see the pigs and then eat them," he explains.
Around the same time, he got his first tattoo of the comic strip character Calvin throwing a snowball. "It was done by a friend's cousin who owned a tattoo gun and lived in a trailer," says Artley, before unnecessarily adding, "It was awful."
When he was in his early twenties, he borrowed money from his brother to attend the C.I.A. During his externship under chef Seth Bixby Daugherty at D'Amico Cucina in Minneapolis, Artley started developing his taste for artful tattoos. His mother drew a line after she saw him though. "She made me promise to not get any tattoos on my neck or face," he says.
That's okay, because the chef's next piece will cover his entire back. It will be of a wild boar with its belly ripped open, spilling its guts. Except that these innards will be carnivorous favorites like sausage, ribs, prosciutto, Spam, and hot dogs. How could Mom not approve?
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