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Potenza Chef de Cuisine Stephen Hartzell Shares His Ink

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/]

Potenza chef de cuisine Stephen Hartzell got his first tattoo — a tribal band — when he was a "rebellious" 22-year-old with piercings and hair that almost reached his waist. His ears still sport plugs, but his dark hair is trimmed short. He has a lot more tattoos now. Both arms are sleeved up, his right ribcage is consumed with an Egyptian-styled piece that took 32 hours to complete, and he has work done on one leg.

There's one piece that he doesn't have. "For a little while, I had a suckling pig snout in my freezer that I was going to use as an ink stamp," he says. "It was going to be like a little pig kiss on the top of my foot like it just bumped into me." He ultimately let a friend use the idea and the severed extremity instead.

He hasn't been surprised to see kitchens filled with an influx of ink. "This business is full of misfits, rebels, people with records, boozers, and self-destructive derelicts," he says. "It’s very accepting of anyone."

People always ask Hartzell what he's going to do when he’s old and covered in tattoos. "My reply is always, 'Grow an epic beard and look like a badass motherfucker,'" he says. "I'll just be happy that I made it to that age."

—Nevin Martell

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