Knives & Needles: Tattooer Don Ed Hardy

molly-profile-knives-and-needlesBy Molly Kitamura
I had the most interesting and enjoyable lunch today, Taki and I drove up to San Francisco and ate lunch with the living legend Ed Hardy. He took us to one of his favorite haunts, Tony’s Pizza Napoletana. Ed had nothing but praises for the owner, Tony Gemignani, and his amazing pizza spot. Tony is super tattooed and even travels to Italy to partake in pizza-making contests. Rad! 

So let’s get back to lunch with Mr. Hardy! I had met Ed Hardy only briefly before at the SFO Tattoo Convention of the Tattooed Arts a couple of years ago so lunch was the first time I actually got the privilege to sit and have a chat with him.


He is so inspiring. Not just in the tattoo sense because I am not a tattooer, but on a personal level. His humble, yet been-there-done-that demeanor just radiates cool. But he is down-to-earth and has a charming sense of humor.


Conversation turned to food for a bit and I got to ask him some questions about his opinions on the subject.  

Here are some Ed Hardy food thoughts:

We both agree that tattooing and cooking has become glamorous because of TV and that chefs and tattooers come from similar stock, blue-collar all the way.

We also jokingly agreed that the general reality of food in France cannot (and does not) live up to its epic reputation. But to be fair, not much does (except Ed Hardy, seriously!).

Ed loves Italian food. His wife, Francesca’s Sicilian food to be more specific! And yes you get a recipe of hers, just keep reading! Japanese and Thai food came in as close seconds.

He does not like the smell of cooking meat (Ed is pescetarian) and he has just started liking beets.

And last,

This has nothing to do with food but Ed Hardy loves French Bulldogs!

We invited Ed and Fran over for dinner, and I can’t wait to come up with some vegetarian dishes for them, eek!

But here is a dish that Ed loves eating at home. Francesca has generously shared one of her go-to Sicilian dishes for you to try in your own kitchen! She loves to keep it simple and loves using seasonal produce (like the dry-farm Early Girl tomatoes in this recipe)


(Early girl tomatoes)

Here is the lovely Francesca’s go-to Sicilian dish, word-for-word!!

(Mouth-watering commence!)

  • Blanche tomatoes in boiling water. Peel and chop. Add salt, pepper and chopped basil
  • In same water, blanche broccoli. Rinse quickly in cold water. Top with salt, pepper, good olive oil, lemon juice or a bit of balsamic vinegar
  • Cook fresh spelt pasta in the same water as well (we get from Phoenix in Berkeley)


  • Meanwhile sauté sliced garlic in a bit of olive oil. When getting golden, add a bit of tomato paste (from tube)—this is optional. Add seitan, cut into strips (I use Sweet Earth), toss it a bit with salt and pepper. Squeeze 1/2 Meyer lemon over it. Toss again after it begins to brown and add the other 1/2 lemon and chopped mint. (This was the way my father made veal.)
  • When pasta is cooked, put into a bowl with a bit of organic tomato puree to keep it from sticking. Top with grated Romano cheese and then the chopped tomatoes. It doesn’t get any better than this.



Thank you SO MUCH Ed and Fran for sharing your thoughts and recipes, you guys are true inspirations, in and out of the kitchen!

Check out Ed Hardy’s Tattoo City in SF:


Molly can be found at Knives and Needles:

Instagram: @knivesandneedles

For more K & N recipes visit this link:

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