Chef Hiroshi Nagashima Shares the Decorative Art of Japanese Food Carving

decoration food 5I had the fortune to attend a cooking lesson of sorts from internationally acclaimed chef Hiroshi Nagashima, the head chef at Shisui in Tsukiji.  If you’ve ever wondered about how the Japanese learn to decorate their plates of food so beautifully, look no further.  Nagashima sensei showed our group how to push a carving knife delicately into a carrot slice on an angle to create a flower and to cut a notch out of a slice of daikon to make a butterfly’s wings.  He made frogs out of cucumbers and a beautiful basket out of a huge slice of daikon that he patiently cut around until it was translucent and then rolled back up to form the inside of the basket.  His hands patiently formed each creation, slowly and gently rounding the cucumber to form the back of the frog.  His knives were sharpened to a fine point and edge and he wielded them expertly in ways that I couldn’t begin to replicate.  Included in the cost of the lesson was a bento lunch for each participant – photo of the gorgeous and delicious creations below.

Nagashima sensei hard at work

Nagashima sensei hard at work

Nagashima-sensei's book in English

Nagashima-sensei’s book in English

Just a few of his beautiful creations

Just a few of his beautiful creations

The bento lunch he brought for each person

The bento lunch he brought for each person

Our group of intrepid carvers!

Our group of intrepid carvers!

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