In Thailand, carving vegetables is an essential part of the cuisine. A chef is not praised for the taste of his food alone, but also on the appearance. Cooks utilise an array of tools in the process of transforming melons and other fruits into visual masterpieces. These tools can be found online, many of which come in pre-designed sets.
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The melon peeler is the first tool needed if working with a melon. It allows the removal of the rind, producing a fruit that can be eaten whole. Not all chefs choose to remove the rind of a melon, but rather carve the rind itself into an attractive shape. For those that do remove the rind, the end result is a fruit capable of being eaten whole. The shaved rind can then be used for other purposes, such as decorating the perimeter of the plate as a garnish. The often vibrant colours of the fruit rind can be attractive in presentation.
The seeding knife helps to quickly remove seeds with a minimum of damage to the surrounding fruit. This is an essential step, as the harsh crunch of a seed can quickly spoil an otherwise refined meal. Most sets come with at least two seeding knives, one designed for the removal of small and isolated seeds, such as those found in an apple, and another for larger seeds found concentrated in one area, such as the seeds of an acorn squash.
Bird's Beak Knife
The bird's beak knife isn't used for general cutting, but rather for purely decorative purposes. Its v-shaped blade leaves unusual marks that can be patterned to produce attractive and abstract designs. Those with a broader lip are ideal for producing smooth circular cuts, while the sharper v angles can be used for rigid geometric designs.
The paring knife is the essential tool of the fruit and vegetable carving trade. It is a short-bladed knife that allows precise cuts throughout the produce. With the paring knife, you can sculpt fruit like a chisel to marble. Because of its straight design, it can be used to produce cuts of any shape. While bird's beak knives are limited in their functionality at the trade-off of being easy and fast to use, the paring knife requires more skill to master and more time use, but this is more than made up for with its versatility. The ideal set of carving knives would contain at least one paring knife and a selection of bird's beak knives, so that even once mastery is gained with paring knife, designs with the bird's beak can be produced rapidly.
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