By Barbara M. Houle CORRESPONDENT
‘Eat Ink: Recipes. Stories. Tattoos” by author Birk O’Halloran and photographer Daniel Luke Holton (Adams Media, Boston) released in November is an interesting read about 60 tattooed chefs and their personal journey into the kitchen and tattoo parlor.
The stories are as diverse as the recipes. The common link is that all the chefs love to cook and wear their tattoos with pride.
There is a bit of local flavor in the book, with profiles of Alina Eisenhauer, executive chef/owner of Sweet in Worcester, and Mark DeNittis, a Worcester native who now resides in Colorado.
About the chefs:
Alina Eisenhauer: She talks about her childhood love of cooking and baking and how it led her to become a successful dessert bar owner and entrepreneur in the “Eat Ink’s” chapter titled “Sugar.”
Eisenhauer appeared on “Chopped” and “Cupcake Wars” and is a winner of “Sweet Genius,” all on the Food Network. Before her culinary career, she was in the health and fitness industry. A personal trainer, she competed in fitness competitions, including the Ms. Fitness USA pageant and Miss Fitness America.
When Eisenhauer’s husband complained that he couldn’t find any good bread in their town, Eisenhauer said she was inspired to open a bakery.
“I never worked in a bakery before in my life, but then that’s my MO. Figure it out,” she is quoted in “Eat Ink.”
Eisenhauer opened Sturbridge Baking Company in Sturbridge in 2003 and Sweet in 2008. At the end of last year, she relocated her business to 72 Shrewsbury St., Worcester, between 7 Nana Japanese Steakhouse and Volturno Pizza.
Eisenhauer got her first tattoo in 2006 after attending a women’s chef and restaurateur national conference in Rhode Island. She said she mentioned to the chef she was working with that she always wanted a tattoo, and the next thing she knew, she was at a tattoo parlor getting “Born to Cook” inked across her arm.
She is especially proud of her other tattoo that signifies a special time in her career. After appearing on the Food Network’s “Chopped,” she was invited to cook at the James Beard House in New York City. She and two other chefs commemorated the event with tattoos bearing the logo of the James Beard organization and the date of the dinner.
Eisenhauer includes a recipe for Bread Pudding With Almond Brittle and Beer Jelly in “Eat Ink.” Bread pudding is on the menu at Sweet, she said, but not always with the beer gelee.
Eisenhauer said she was honored to be asked to be a part of “Eat Ink” and thrilled with how the book turned out. “They did a great job, not only with the pictures, but also with the stories and recipes,” she said.
“I think the book appeals to a wide audience because it’s not just about tattoos or just a cookbook. It has great stories about each chef’s background and the connection between our passion for what we do and our tattoos.”