Are Jon Favreau's Tattoos In Chef Real?

When "Chef" hit the theaters in 2014, a film Jon Favreau had written, directed, and starred in himself, the triple-threat probably did not anticipate it to one day be listed alongside food film classics, such as "Babette's Feast" and "Eat Drink Man Woman" (via Variety). A huge part of the film's success can perhaps be attributed to how far Favreau went to make his role as a chef look as authentic as possible. In an interview with Eater, Favreau credited Roy Choi, the chef who pioneered food trucks in Los Angeles, for helping him get the details for his role in "Chef" down. Choi joined the team as a culinary advisor on one condition — he would do anything that Favreau needed, as long as Favreau nailed the details of everything that goes on in a real kitchen.

Favreau himself has been forthcoming in admitting that he wanted to depict the culture of a real kitchen and off-screen chefs. He told St.Louis Magazine that the film got an "R'" rating because he showed chefs cussing at each other, a common occurrence in a real kitchen. The article goes on to describe "Chef" as a film that "salutes the modern, tattooed, pot-smoking, follow-your-own-star, post-Food Network chef." Of the many great lengths Favreau went to in order to make his role as a chef as authentic as possible, one detail stands out. In a video that Favreau posted on Twitter back in 2013, he can be seen sitting through a trial run for his character's tattoo sleeves in the film. Wait, does that mean they weren't real?

Jon Favreau took inspiration from 'Top Chef' contestants

According to the "Chef" IMDb page, Jon Favreau does not have any tattoos in real life. However, he went through the trouble of getting fake tattoos carefully pasted on his arms temporarily because chefs in the real world often have multiple detailed tattoos. In an interview with Food & Wine, Favreau admitted that he took inspiration from an unexpected source — "Top Chef" contestants. He noticed how contestants on the show had burn marks on their hands, how common tattoos were amongst chefs, and the kinds of tattoos they had. As surprising as it may seem, Favreau's observation was impeccable.

Former "Top Chef" Season 6, contestant Jesse Sandlin told Baltimore Magazine that tattoos have long been a common sight in the kitchen. Before the popularity of proper-looking celebrity chefs, an ordinary chef used to work behind closed doors and far away from the eyes of the public. She says that "kitchens used to have this ragtag pirate ship-type of mentality" and getting tattoos was another means of self-expression, much like cooking. Sandlin herself has more tattoos than she can count, somewhere around 30. Yup, we'd say Favreau hit this detail right on the head!