Culinary talent is more than skin deep

The restaurant business has gotten under Hari Cameron's skin in more than one way. BY FOODIE
August 14, 2014

Food television has brought chefs out of the kitchen and into the spotlight. And they’re not only branding their restaurants, but themselves as well. No longer the domain of bikers, sailors and rock ‘n’ rollers, tattoos have become a way of expressing creativity – while maybe even kicking up the “macho” quotient a bit.

Hari Cameron, one of our most forward-thinking chefs, is justifiably proud of his food-centric tats: “I put so much dedication into culinary school that I wanted this to be a permanent expression of that effort.” Culinary body-art isn’t just a beach thing either. Food Network’s Guy Fieri sports a “Kulinary Gangsta” tattoo in rebellion against his parents’ fixation on health food (I knew I liked that guy). Bad-boy TV chef Anthony Bourdain, Iron Chef Michael Symon and Charm City Cakes’ owner Duff “Ace of Cakes” Goldman are all proud of their tats.

a(MUSE.) restaurant chef and owner Cameron’s parents were true hippies; migrating from town to town as little Hari blissfully subsisted on pungent Indian cuisine and sushi - long before it was trendy. His love of music, writing and photography prompted him to enroll in communications at Delaware Technical and Community College. He laughs as he tells me about one of his first kitchen jobs where he spent waaaay too much time fussing over each plate to make it deliciously symmetrical. He has since learned that there’s a thin line between making it pretty and serving it before the customer starves to death.

Cameron eventually moved to the old Ram’s Head restaurant in Rehoboth and then to Cloud 9 to be what he calls “sous chef-in-training.” He eventually joined Kevin Reading at Espuma, and then at Nage Bistro. Formal training was the next logical step, and he graduated at the top of his class from Walnut Hill College in Philadelphia. The detailed collage inked onto on his left arm was inspired by the Slow Food movement pioneered by food activist Alice Waters. At a(MUSE.) restaurant, he blends food and artful presentation to celebrate locally grown ingredients.

Are you ready for a different dining experience? Visit Hari Cameron at a(MUSE.) on Baltimore Avenue. If you’re nice, he’ll even show you his tats.

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