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John Hurkes is a triple threat: he's the Chef de Partie at a gastro-pub in Minneapolis called the Bulldog N.E., he has killer tattoos and great taste in music. It's these three qualities combined that have made him known as the Metal Chef.
Aside from his work at the pub, Hurkes also has a column for Rice and Bread Magazine where he gets to show off his unique talent of creating delicious metal-inspired dishes. And they sound amazing!
One of his favorite creations is his Danzig Juicy Lucifuge burger. "It’s inspired by a classic Minnesota burger called the Juicy Lucy that traditionally has a molten core of cheese inside the patty," says Hurkes. "The Danzig burger features Black Angus beef distributed from New Jersey where most of the band originated. It’s got a blue cheese Lucifuge and served on a house-made Twist of Pain bun, inspired by the Danzig song, 'Twist of Cain.' The word pain is actually French for bread."
As if his use of phenomenal bands wasn't enough (some of his favorites being Black Sabbath, Slayer and Iron Maiden), his metal factor gets greater with each new creation. His dish, "Dio Rainbow Trout in the Dark" uses squid ink. Yes, squid ink! Hurkes says it's often used in Japan to color dishes, "like a heavy metal food coloring," in this case giving his risotto a black hue that drives home the metal vibes.
With its mild flavor it mixes well with other ingredients as long as it's acquired from a reliable source. So as a cooking side note, you probably wouldn't want to try purchasing squid ink from your local corner store or someone on the street. And, for the love of all that's holy, do not use tattoo ink.
With passions like these it's only fitting that a number of his tattoos reflect them. "I recently got a Slayer cooking tattoo with a mash up of Slayer’s 1983 Show No Mercy artwork. It is basically Satan holding a giant chef’s knife in one hand, and a pentagram in the other," says Hurkes. "The pentagram is a frying pan with cooking knives forming it. The whole design is engulfed in a giant kitchen fire and there is an oven door swung slightly open, which I believe is probably the gateway to hell."
That's not a far-fetched guess, especially when he says if he'd get any of his creations inked on him.
"Maybe a mini version of the Slayer Pizza on the palm of my hand. Then I could receive heavy metal communion every day," says Hurkes. You have to admit, that would be pretty badass.
Hurkes frequents a Minneapolis tattoo shop called Uptown Tattoo where heavy metal plays as shop owner Nic Skrade tattoos him, one of his favorites being a King Diamond tattoo. "It’s a portrait of my dog, Diamond, with a Norwegian stave church burning in the background," he says. "My girlfriend Micci and I adopted Diamond from an animal shelter several years ago, so the tattoo seemed like a special way to honor her in the name of heavy metal." Diamond even has a seemingly upside-down cross on the white fur of her chest. Sounds like it was meant to be.
You can check out Hurkes' delicious creations and sick ink in the gallery below.