(英文版) むきもの入門 - The Decorative Art of Japanese Food Carving: Elegant Garnishes for All Occasions (英語) ハードカバー – 2009/7/8
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Hiroshi Nagashima is the Head Chef and Managing. Director of the Honganji temple restaurant Shisui in Tsukiji, in central Tokyo, near Ginza. He is also the author or co-author of 9 books in Japanese, including the food section of The Encyclopedia of Japanese Culture, as well as two successful books on food carving in Japanese. He has received a number of top awards in Japan, including the country’s second-highest food award, the National Culinary Master’s Technique for Excellence Award. In addition, he has catered major events for museums and exhibitions in Japan. He was chosen to prepare the cuisine for the Crown Prince at a national charity banquet and was a main chef for the Kennedy Center event, “Japan: Culture + Hyperculture.”
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a) the book, at only 112 pages, really doesn't feature a lot of different techniques. There is a pretty good little selection but I would have preferred a much more comprehensive overview;
b) Although the illustrations are all very beautiful and artistically executed, they often aren't taken from the best point of view so as to clearly illustrate the techniques involved.
Nice little book otherwise, though.
The Decorative Art of Japanese Food Carving is filled with instructions and photos that give you the skills to recreate these wonders at home, as well as simple recipes and a guide to carving tools. Most impressive is the delicate and thin slices that chef Hiroshi Nagashima, of Hongan-ji temple restaurant Shisui in Tsukiji, uses to transform fruit and vegetables into edible art.
We tested a few of these techniques at home and were tickled by the successful results. Complicated as some of the shapes look, it is actually easy to make the curls and knots. The chapter on cucumber carvings in particular was a snap to recreate at home, and satisfying to the palate.
Mostly the book tackles precise but easy enough to accomplish looking dikon redish and carrot designs along with smaller zucchini/eggplant(aubergine)creations. It doesn't show any of the garnishing techniques to make say a large watermelon into a flowery center piece utalizing the green and pink of the fruit like the Thailand books...but does have a few basic melon/fruit as bowl designs. It does show one blooming chrysanthemum in the medium of carrot via repeated v cuts that echoes the idea of melon carving but it's somehow a different style in the end.
Essentially all any of any of this is simply repeated, precise, v, u, or circular cuts and thin slices and clever arrangement that somehow makes everything seem special, elegant, or breathtaking...and I think this book is a great book for copying directly or using as inspiration as how to think about making the food on the plate a little higher.
I especially liked that most of the cuts are shown done using a pretty big sharp flat kitchen knife and basic step one or two kitchen tools like a melon baler, peeler, and corer nothing so fancy or expensive...the most unusual tool is a v cutter which may be accomplished with a pointed knife... unless one invests in a really nice blade and sharpener or really high grade equipment, one can get started trying most of these garnishes with the tools you already have in your kitchen.
The back explains a few more tools and tools for saving time but most of the instruction is done using a pretty standard knife.