According to a variety of sources, artisans have been sculpting butter for thousands of years, and chocolate for well over 100 years, but it has only been in the last decade or so that fruit and vegetable carving has become popular far beyond the eastern Asia countries that are still home to its most amazing practitioners.
There are literally hundreds of food carvers I could choose to highlight, so ultimately my choices were arbitrary. Italian carver, now Sydney, Australian resident Daniele Barresi carved an avocado that caught my eye with its elegance, and Nina Gill has an international reputation as both carver and teacher. Both have instructive videos and expansive websites.
You can find on his website under videos, Mr. Barresi both showing briefly how he carved the avocado, and a longer video which demonstrates how he made what he calls a “very cute melon vase.” He describes his process with the flare we expect of Italians who love their work: “When I touch my knife, my mind gives up to the heart and transmits directly to the hands, giving different forms to the decorations. It’s like magic.” If he gains his dream of his own TV show, he will undoubtedly prove a charming host. In the meantime, his website sells beautiful Thai carving tools and lovely prints of his art.
The multiple award-winning Ms. Gill became interested in carving fruits and vegetables when a relative who was ill and on a limited diet needed to celebrate her birthday with a non-traditional cake. Ms. Gill’s watermelon creation met with so much ooohing and aaahing that she was hooked. But she found it difficult at first to find the carving instruction she needed. Since then she has been on a mission to teach others to create the oohs and aahs with ease.