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Fruit And Vegetable Carving

Turnip Flower

This little 2 LED light makes the turnip glow!

So, there I was, just minding my own business, plinking away at the computer.  When my wife walked in from the library with a DVD about fruit carving.  I have always been interested in fruit carving, and the prospect of learning how to carve fruit, melons and vegetables sounded very interesting.  As  chef I have learned several tricks over the years to make my food look prettier by the way in which I used the knife or special tool to cut or shape the foods that I was preparing.  In fact you can find several articles in the Table of Contents which discuss tools and methods to make foods look more eye-appealing.
It is probably worth repeating. “Our eyes are incredibly important when it comes to the things which we will put into our mouths.” If it looks a little off then we tend to be not so sure. I have watched a buffet line as person after person refused to pick up a piece of fruit on a fruit platter that was a little brownish looking, even though it was perfectly safe to eat, it looked a little “off” and consequently it was avoided by the customers. You would probably do the same. My job is to make foods that not only taste good, but that are also visually appealing, so anytime that I find a new way to enhance that process; I am all over it, to find out more and learn what I can.

Dare To Cook Food Carving Artistry, Adv.Techniques w/ Chef Ray Duey  is a CEC (Certified Executive Chef) Who obviously earns a living doing the things that he loves.  His enthusiasm comes through as you watch his instructive video production,  he teaches you how to carve melons, honeydew and cantalope.  How to make flowers out of turnips or roses out of potatoes, or Calla Lillies out of fennel stalks.  It is impressive to watch as he makes short work of a small melon and turns out a large rose with petals, leaves and a descending lattice work of intricate looking support structures to keep the flow of the art work

Potato Rose, Fruit and Vegetable carving {I simply added some thyme and salt and pepper to some vegetable oil and coated the potatoes before baking about 45 minutes, the fat ones needed more time to finish.}→

Ray’s website is www.chefgarnish.com you can find all the tools that you will need to get started here.  He has  books, DVD’s and knives as well as other cutters  to help you get the job done.  So far I have spent about $100 purchasing a Thai detail knife, some U/Vee cutters and a few other “toys.”  In addition I bought a round cutting board and a lazy susan base so that I could have a “cake decorating ” board that would spin around as I worked on a carving, its a cool little addition that makes life much easier when it comes to doing these carvings.
Lighted Carved watermelon

this 2 LED light “fires up” a rose with petals
carved watermelon

One of the first things that you will need is obviously a thin bladed sharp knife.  The Thai Detail knife that I bought looks like an exacto knife with a long blade, it screws together to form a 4″ handle with a 2″ blade.  It works great in melons that are soft, but it is too flexible to use on a turnip or a potato at least for me at the present time.   The Thai Carving knife is made by “Kom Kom”  Thai Detail Carving Knife

Thai Carving Knife
The blade is just a bit stiff which was great when I used it on a Kabocha Pumpkin to get through the skinKabocha Pumpkin (Black Skinned)The first thing you will want to learn is to start with a circle and do a basic rose style center.  Then you work toward the outside to add petals and later leaves to your creation.
Kabocha Pumpkin
I have learned some of the techniques that are demonstrated here in this youtube video:

However I am a long way (several melons short) of demonstrating the competence of this fellow. It is a long and slow process to learn where the tip of your knife is to keep yourself from inadvertently cutting off an important piece of your flower. Of course you did not see that part where I put it back on:

 

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