Edible Masterpieces | Food Imitates Art

Edible Masterpieces | Food Imitates Art

By Suzanne R. Stone
Staff Writer
The Aiken Standard June 11, 2006


Fruit and vegetables will be in flowering season at an all-day workshop with garnish artist James Parker Tuesday.

Parker, owner and operator of the Virginia-based company Veggy Art, will give the workshop from 10 am to 3pm.  Tuesday at Ways to the Heart bakery on Richland Avenue.  Students are welcome to come as early as 9 a.m. Tuesday for coffee and socializing before the class begins, according to Ways to the Heart owner Karen Mohammad, and Parker will be the guest of honor at a meet-and-greet open to the public from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the bakery.

Parker has been Chef Garde Manager at the Sheraton Washington Hotel and the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Washington, where he honed his skills at buffet decoration.  He started Veggy Art while working as a sous chef at the Ronald Reagan Building/International Trade Center in Washington, D.C., and it evolved from a service based business to a teaching business, and he sells supplies and books and arranges classes through his website, www.veggyart.com.

“My good friend Cecile Pellegrino and I got into a conversation about sculpting and garnishing, and she said you’ve got to go on this guy’s website.  She brought over the tools she bought from him, I went on the website, and I got in touch with him by email,” said Mohammad.

“It’s been coming together.  I really wanted to target food industry here, but you’ve got some chefs in Aiken who thinks they don’t need to learn anything new.  Then I started getting calls from country clubs asking if they could send their chefs.  I wanted to keep it at about 10, but we can go as large as 15 or 20.  We’ve got the space for it.  It’s open to anyone who has a fascination with this,” she said.

Fees for the class are $400 per person or $300 each for pairs, which includes supplies, carving tools and a book on carving.  During the workshop, students will learn a three-step carving process to create different types of floral shapes.  Students will create a centerpiece of their own to take home, and Parker will demonstrate some more advanced sculpting techniques, according to Mohammad.

Mohammad said registration is due by the close of business Monday evening.  She can be reached during business hours for more information or to reserve a space at 649-7203, or after hours at (803) 292-1390.

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