Chef shows how to turn food into works of art

Japanese food is renown for its elegant presentation and artistic aesthetics, but chef Hiroshi Nagashima has taken that tradition to new heights with a new book that shows the uninitiated how to turn a slice of grapefruit peel into an elegant swan-shaped dish to hold a dessert or a humble radish into a rosebud design.

A key element of any meal in Japan is " mukimono" - the decorative garnish or carving that adds a final flourish to a dish. Designed to catch the eye and provoke conversation for its shape and color, it is also completely edible.

Nagashima is head chef and managing director of Shisui Restaurant in Tokyo's Tsukiji district - famous for its vast fresh fish market - and has authored several books on traditional Japanese cuisine, as well as being awarded the National Culinary Master's Technique for Excellence Award.

His latest work, The Decorative Art of Japanese Food Carving: Elegant Garnishes for all Occasions, contains precise instructions for 60 food carvings and garnishes as well as ideas on food arrangement. Most are simple while some require practice. One or two, however, are bordering on professional level.

Divided into four parts, the first section is dedicated to more simple accents - making it a good place for the novice to cut their teeth.

One of the easiest maneuvers consists of making twists of carrot, cucumber or "daikon" radish that add a splash of color to any plate. The ocean wave curl is slightly more testing and requires slits to be carefully made in a thin slice of carrot, while a series of knots can also be made out of the same vegetables.

Food cups can be made out of limes - which go perfectly with slices of roast duck or seasoned calamari with salmon caviar. A pumpkin can also be carefully cut to create what Nagashima describes as a jewel box that can contain shrimps, mushrooms or asparagus.

Several pages of the book are dedicated to the remarkably flexible cucumber, which can be carved into miniature cups, crowns, cranes, boats, fans, rings baskets and even corkscrews.

Nagashima also demonstrates how to turn strips of daikon into a flowing river upon which morsels are served up, while it can also double as a leaf of wisteria. More complicated is the fish net, made up of strips of zucchini manipulated into a mesh and stuffed with salmon mousse.

With the aid of dozens of photos, the chef also shows how a carrot can be worked into a rolling dice, a plum blossom or a Chinese bellflower, while others become delicately carved leaves or even a chrysanthemum.

At the more challenging end of the scale, Nagashima can create holly leaves from a zucchini, a flying swallow or even butterflies and goldfish out of a slice of carrot.
Published by Kodansha International Ltd., the book is available in Japan and the United States for $24.95. Elsewhere, it is available online.

JR

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Voices
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
voicesThokozile Masipa simply had no choice but to jail the athlete
Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

News
i100
Life and Style
The Tinder app has around 10 million users worldwide

techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Financial Controller

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful entertainment, even...

    Direct Marketing Executive - Offline - SW London

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A fantastic opportunity h...

    Day In a Page

    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Let's talk about loss

    We need to talk about loss

    Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
    Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

    'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

    If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
    James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
    Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

    Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

    Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
    Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

    Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

    Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
    How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

    How to dress with authority

    Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
    New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

    New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

    'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
    Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

    Tim Minchin interview

    For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
    Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
    Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

    Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

    Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album