Fruit and vegetable carving has been growing in popularity lately, so I decided to give it a try to see if I could learn this interesting art form. My first step was to buy the video “Learn Fruit & Vegetable Sculpting” by Chef Ray Duey, C.E.C. I wanted a video that allowed me to learn some basics without investing in a bunch of expensive equipment. This particular video has quite a few projects that I could do with just a simple paring knife by adjusting the techniques taught a little.
Before I could watch the video, I got a chance to watch Chef Duey carve in person at the Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa, CA.
He was carving the outline of a bird on a melon using just a knife.
Then he carefully removed the excess pieces of the melon.
Chef Duey does not believe in wasting any part of the fruit he carves. If he cannot use all of it for the center piece, then the excess goes into the composter. He showed us how some of the extra pieces can be re-carved and used as additional decoration for the carved fruit center piece.
The finished carved fruit center piece was a swan.
This inspired me to go home and watch the video and get started! The video is put together in a very logical order with a special section for tools, display ideas, etc. Here is a list of the carving demonstrations in order of how they are taught on the video:
- Tomato rose carving
- Radish flower carving
- Pineapple rose carving
- Cantaloupe dahlia carving
- Root vegetable daisy carvings – with beet coloring
- Leek ribbon flower
- Leek fern leaf carving
- Leek stargazer lily
- Butternut squash staircase w/eggplant leaves carving
- Fennel calla lilies carving
- Pepper anthodium carving
- Cantaloupe spiral carving
- Apple swan & Butterfly carving
- Apple turtle carving
- Squash duck carving
- Honeydew melon swan carving
- Honeydew sculpture carving
- Honeydew lantern carving
- Watermelon sculpture carving
I decided to try to carve a “Betsy” mini watermelon. The chef had mentioned that it is easier to carve a firmer melon than it is a soft one. I used my paring knife and carefully followed the directions on the video. Since I used a paring knife and not a fruit carving knife, I could not achieve the details that you can see in the swan that Chef Duey carved at the fair. However, since it was my goal to be able to achieve a simple carving using only the tools I had on hand, I felt it came out pretty well.
Here is a back view of the watermelon carving, I left it empty so that I could use it to serve fruit.
It only took a few minutes to carve the watermelon. Once I had removed the all the excess pieces, I put one of the left over pieces back inside the melon to create a platform. This will allow me to place some carved fruit pieces into the melon cavity to use it as a serving bowl.
I really enjoyed the video, it did have some projects that could be done with just a paring knife. Just do not expect your pieces to look as good as his do without the proper tools. Most of the other projects did involve the purchase of additional fruit carving tools in order to be done.
Chef Duey did such a good job of explaining the process that I did find myself heading over to the local restaurant supply and picking up a couple of additional tools so I could try some of the more intricate projects.
- Easy to get carried away and start carving most of the fruit in your refrigerator!
- Great party tabletop projects.
- Very easy to follow video.
- Cost of additional tools can be expensive if you are not careful.
- Need to be mindful when carving with sharp object.
- Can be messy.
Maria Del Pinto
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