Book Review – The Decorative Art of Japanese Food Carving

Kodansha - The Decorative Art of Japanese Food CarvingThe Decorative Art of Japanese Food Carving by Hiroshi Nagashima, Kodansha International, 2009, 112 pp.

The Japanese eat with their eyes as evident with food carving that decorates dishes at kaiseki restaurants. No other book has captured this dying art to such detail. The book is filled with instructions and photos that give you the tools to recreate these at home. Simple recipes are included as well as a guide to the carving tools. What is most impressive is the delicate and thin slices that chef Hiroshi Nagashima, of Honganji temple restaurant Shisui in Tsukiji, uses to transform fruit and vegetables into edible art.

We tested a few of these at home and were tickled with our successful results. Complicated as some of these look, it is easy to make the curls and knots. The chapter on cucumber carvings in particular was a snap to recreate at home, and satisfying on the palate.