Have your parents ever told you to stop playing with your food? Well, there are some professional chefs that are called Chefs du Garde Manger, who are famous and much sought after because they play with food. They are masters of sculpting ice, carving fruits and vegetables, or creating elaborate buffets.
The way we present food greatly enhances the appetites of our diners, and the overall experience of the meal. Even a small garnish makes a huge difference. My fascination with fruit and vegetable carving began when I first visited Thailand. It seemed like every fruit on the platter was carved. It was an insatiable feast for my eyes. I enrolled in a short course in Bangkok that taught me the basics. When I wrote my first cookbook, some of my pictures included what I had learned – an onion lotus, carrot knots, radish tulips, a watermelon basket and an onion chrysanthemum.
Today I will share with you how to make a tomato rose. There are specialized tools for vegetable and fruit carving but all you will need to make the tomato rose is a small sharp knife. I added a short video at the end of this post that might also be helpful.
You will need a sharp knife and a tomato that is ripe but firm.
Starting at the stem end of the tomato, peel a half-inch wide, thin strip of the skin all the way around the tomato, finishing at the base end. The strip must be peeled thinly so it will roll evenly.
Next place the tomato strip skin-side down, on a cutting board. It will form an elongated “S.” Start rolling up the tomato skin to form a coil. When almost all the skin has been rolled, sit the tomato rose on its stem end.
If your rose looks odd, you’ve probably turned it upside down while rolling the peel onto the stem end. I’ve done it many times. Just turn it over.
You can use the tomato rose to garnish your dishes or it can be used for a place setting, with a personal touch, like the picture above.
Video on how to make a tomato rose