Today I want to look at another couple of odd kitchen gadgets that comprise part of the garnish set of a catering kitchen. When you need a frilly border for your platter or large tray, the spiral cutter is the way to go. Using this toy, you can easily crank out (pun intended) a lot of spiral-cut carrot, beets (both purple and yellow) or diakon. There are two parts of the machine, the cutter with 2 knife blades and the crank end with a handle and protruding points to hold the vegetable. This little toy grips the vegetable on one end with a hollow cutting tube and on the other end there are some sharp points that stick into the vegetable. After you have mounted the carrot you simply crank the handle as you squeeze the handle mechanism toward the cutter with your other hand. It sounds complicated but it is really very simple when you get up close and personal.
(Editors Note: My apologies, I don’t know when the previously pictured product was dropped from the Chefs Catalog, But I have replaced it with this one. The above is NOT an affiliate link. The Benriner is the slicer that I use in the catering business it produces a fantastic product look at these candy cane beet slices.)
This little toy comes with 3 blades. The straight blade alone will cut a ribbon spiral. Which could be used for wider garnishes, remember that vegetables tend to oxidize (rust) rather quickly so I would suggest that you soak anything that you cut with lemon water to avoid this. The other 2 blades are 1/8, and 1/4 inch which give you the spiral strands. I prefer the smaller strands for garnishing purposes. With the 1/4 blade you can cut curly french fries.
One other thing to point out in the picture you will notice that the little plastic spikes that hold the vegetable on the back end are showing the ones you don’t see are in the potato itself. Over time those center spikes tend to get worn and they can break off. (we have replaced our machine in a commercial setting due to this) It is a good idea to cut the back end of the vegetable off so you can take advantage of as many of the points as possible. While I am at it, the vegetable should be put into the machine as straight as possible, otherwise when you start to cut the strands, it will be lopsided and only cut strands on part of the vegetable instead of a long continuous strand.
The results you get are fantastic. You can get a triple strand of carrot that is 10′ long if you are careful. This same thing is of course used for spiraled potatoes.For garnishing purposes this toy enable you the ability to put several different colors on the platter to compliment your foods and the garnish itself is edible. I use them to surround the border of platters and serving trays and sometimes I will nestle strands into a crowned bell pepper of an opposite color. These strands can also be used to make nests for apple birds, or melon swans.