The Meaning Behind Anthony Bourdain's Tattoos

Tattoos are pretty common in the chef game; they almost seem as common as burns on a sous chef's arm. That isn't to say every chef is tatted up, or even that those who are have profound meanings behind their ink — but it's safe to say that anything that Anthony Bourdain would permanently have designed on his body is bound to have a special meaning.

In a piece by Esquire, they profile Bourdain's tattoos and what they meant to the late chef. For Bourdain, tattoos were more than simple aesthetic pleasantries or additions to his public persona. Rather, tattoos were a way of taking a memory that he deemed too hard to capture with a camera, and enshrining it for a lifetime. Bourdain also revealed that at 60 years old, he knew that new tattoos weren't a way to add to his image. Instead, they were something very personal to him.

Tattoos helped Bourdain remember

In an article by The Manual, Bourdain not only explained some of his tattoo experiences, but also the fact that his at-the-time wife was 100% against his yearning for body art. In fact, Bourdain wanted a tattoo so badly that after coming out with his first book, "Kitchen Confidential," he deemed himself finally worthy of a tat, snuck out, and got himself some ink. Since then, getting tattoos turned into something of a habit for the late chef.

In a 2017 interview with Maxim, Bourdain even revealed what a rush he got from getting inked. His first tattoo came about when he was already 44, but from that point on he became addicted to the rush. While Bourdain didn't always put a great importance on every tattoo he got, he spoke about how at a certain point he'd quit taking photos when traveling; this in turn led to more and more tattoos to commemorate the places and the moments in which he found himself. As shown in Inked Mag, now it's the man himself that's being commemorated.