Posted in Arty sparks, Food sparks

Carving up incr(edible) art.

Chef Jimmy Zhang is a genius. The founder of Art Chef Inc. graduated from the Culinary Arts Institute in China in 1989 and it’s fair to say he’s slightly obsessed with the ancient art of fruit and vegetable carving. After winning many championship titles in fruit carving competitions in China, in the late ’90s, Jimmy took his show on the road and brought his talents to California.

You can choose from private classes with Jimmy (by yourself, or with a group of knife wielding mates), a special intensive week-long course, or a general public course. Dinner parties and school lunch boxes will never be the same again as you learn how to carve up your own fruit and vegies at home.

There are different levels of classes and, to be honest, I expected the Level 1 class to maybe feature some of those apple spirals that are really tricky to cut (without using a machine). Or maybe a star cut into a potato. But no, this bouquet of flowers in a melon bowl is apparently what you can do in the Level 1 class. Uh huh.

The pics from the Level 2 class move to the animal kingdom, featuring a lot of birds and fish (and an incredible giant bloom in half a watermelon). Interestingly, the seahorses seem to be made of a fruit or vegetable that looks very much like cookies & cream icecream, which is something I’ve always dreamed of, but never managed to find. Hats off to you, Chef Jimmy!

And then there are the Level 3 classes, which, quite frankly, make the other classes look as though children had been mucking around on a primary school excursion. The slightly scary bright orange bird on a branch is surely made from the world’s largest carrot. And then there’s the intricately carved dragon. They should really just call the Level 3 classes the ShowOff classes and be done with it. Incredible stuff.

If you are inspired to start hacking into your own groceries, or if you’d like an awesome display for your next family dinner or client function, you might want to have a look at the amazing website of Art Chef Inc for more ideas. Bon appetit!

Posted in Food sparks, WWWhat?

Konnichiwa, teeny burgers!

I think I would fit in well in Japan. From the fashion to the technology to the kitschy toys to answering the phone with ‘moshi moshi’ – so much about it seems to be my kind of kooky. Then I remember that I am one of those uncool weirdos who doesn’t actually like sushi or sashimi, so maybe I wouldn’t be such a good fit after all. And then I see a product like this and think: honey, I’m home.

The perfect gift, the perfect cooking class, the perfect snack – all in one little brightly coloured box from the good people at Kracie. It’s from their Happy Kitchen range, which also offers donut, cupcake and cookie kits. But this one is special – teeny tiny burgers (including cheese and ketchup), fries and cola. Apparently, it tastes “just like the real thing”, but with only 96 calories… Our friends at Jbox suggest that you ‘pick up a few sets and start your own hamburger stand at the next school festival or birthday party’, though after looking into it, I reckon you’d need to import a few thousand cases if you’re catering for more than two of your closest pals.

You really need to watch the You Tube clip to get the full Happy Kitchen experience – there’s no celebrity chef, no annoying background music, just the crinkle and snap of the Happy Kitchen hamburger kit coming to life before your very eyes.

Whether you love the kookiness of Happy Kitchen or you’re just the laziest cook in town, buy up big from Jbox and host your own teeny tiny McDinner parties!