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The Decorative Art of Japanese Food Carving: Elegant Garnishes for All Occasions Hardcover – Oct 8 2009


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Hardcover, Oct 8 2009
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha International (Oct. 8 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4770030878
  • ISBN-13: 978-4770030870
  • Product Dimensions: 25.1 x 1.5 x 19.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 621 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #432,614 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

HIROSHI NAGASHIMA is the Head Chef and Managing Director of the restaurant and catering facilities for Tsukiji-hongan-ji Temple in central Tokyo, near Ginza. He is the author of two successful books on food carving in Japanese and was a featured participant in the 2008 Kennedy Center event, "Japan: Culture + Hyperculture," where he handled the Japanese banquet.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. J. Thompson TOP 500 REVIEWER on Jan. 20 2011
Format: Hardcover
I like this book and I am glad to have it in my library. I would have given a fourth, and possibly a fifth star except for two main criticisms:

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.
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By Barb MacQueen on Sept. 13 2014
Format: Hardcover
Intricate and interesting garnishes, well described, and well received at banquets. Great book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 28 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Very nice but not great Jan. 20 2011
By C. J. Thompson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I like this book and I am glad to have it in my library. I would have given a fourth, and possibly a fifth star except for two main criticisms:

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.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
An Instructional Guide to the Culinary Artistry in Japan Oct. 27 2009
By Yukari Sakamoto - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
You can tell by the decorative food carving at kaiseki restaurants that the Japanese eat with their eyes. No other book has captured this dying art in such detail.

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.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Great book Feb. 8 2010
By L. Annie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has beautiful photography and intricately detailed step-by-step directions for even the most green chef out there. With a good, sharp, and thin paring knife, one can easily achieve most of the carvings presented.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
The Decorative Art of Japanese Food Carving Dec 3 2009
By Roger Carroll - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has a good combination of explanatory text and photos to help the budding cook. There is a useful mixture of fairly simple carving and more exotic things to do. I would recommend this to anyone wanting to up their food presentation .
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
simple yet complex as i imagine japan may be Dec 16 2010
By Sarah Nashold - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is filled with instructions on how to make mostly little garnishes that are intricate and simple all at once. Think elegant sushi adornment and desert jewelry and this book will make you happy showing you how to make that happen with clear instructions and lots of step by step photos.

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.


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