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Should Restaurant Employees Get Tattoos?
Ink again: It's nice to know that some places in the food service industry are a bit relaxed ["Kitchen Ink," Joseph Schell and Anna McCarthy, Feature, 5/19].

I have been cooking professionally for 12 years. I worked as a supervisor hiring cooks, and if they had any tattoos that could be seen six inches above the wrist, I could not hire them. I was looking at the pictures in the article, and I'm guessing that the eateries mentioned don't have servers or waiters with tats.

I have heard comments over and over again from customers and staff who say that tattoos and the handling of food just do not look right together, for some reason; I think it is the cleanliness issue that most people are talking about. I have a few tattoos myself, but since I am a career chef I was thinking when I got them that they would be out of sight for the most part, or could be covered with a chef coat.

If chefs, cooks, or food handlers go out and get tattoos with no regard for placement, they may be putting their careers at risk. I have worked in upscale, trendy places with low pay and high turnover. I wish these chefs all success, because if any of them have to go out and look for work in the mainstream food service industry where the pay and benefits are good, they will be in for a big surprise — they may regret the day they got those tattoos.

Phallon Woods

San Francisco

La Cocina weighs in: Jonathan Kauffman's article [""target="_blank">Fusing Cart and Kitchen," Eat, 5/19] on the "semiformal" food industry was insightful in its ability to identify the creative approaches entrepreneurs take to starting a food business, and inspiring in its ability to show a growing number of avenues in this city for people to make a living doing what they love.

La Cocina was born of a desire to propel the entrepreneurial spirit of the people of the Mission into the formal economy and help transition those businesses from "income patching" to "asset generation." We believe that public, private, and nonprofit must come together to create viable local economic models for budding food entrepreneurs, regardless of their station in life.

To address some of the statements in the article: Wholesome Bakery, Crème Brûlée Cart, and Mission Minis have used La Cocina's kitchen in the last year. I would like to clarify that while Mission Minis did pay a commercial hourly rental rate, [owner] Brandon Arnovick was offered both a fixed monthly rate and a lowered hourly rate to accommodate the unusual situation. Furthermore, the total paid to La Cocina was significantly less than reported in this article.

Businesses in this city should know that there are viable options for entering the formal economy, such as those provided by innovators like La Victoria and 331 Cortland. The transition from the informal economy to a formal one can be complicated and, as this article pointed out, there are legitimate business costs associated with that shift. The models mentioned provide much-needed, valuable services by identifying the ways entrepreneurs can work within the requirements of the city while creating a livable wage for themselves.

Caleb Zigas

Acting Executive Director,

La Cocina

San Francisco

Snitch Blog Comments
In response to a blog post about Sarah Palin's purported fee for speaking at CSU Stanislaus: Hell, we've never seen Palin's diploma, have we? (Yes, two can play this game.) That $75K should have gone to student scholarships, not to this ignoramus, who after six years at five different schools still doesn't know her arse from a hole in the ground.


What does it matter what Ms. Palin is being paid for her speaking engagement? Movie stars get paid ridiculous amounts for movies, engagements, and commercials, and nobody says anything about that. The only reason people are talking about this is that Ms. Palin is an outspoken conservative, and is speaking up for the right. Go, Sarah Palin! Leave her alone.


Last week's cover story by Ashley Harrell, "The Radio Pirate Goes Legit," mistakenly identified Bob Sommer (aka Bobzilla), Burning Man radio station manager and NPR engineer, as TradeMark Gunderson.

Last week's "Sausage Party" story in Night and Day stated that Trattoria 1910, Gallo Salame's 100th Anniversary pop-up restaurant, charged for evening service. In fact, admission is free.

SF Weekly regrets the errors.


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