Because Thai art of fruit and vegetable carving calls for the knowledge of several skills and techniques, the course is divided into three levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced. All students will begin at the beginning, and those who wish to continue to study this fascinating and rewarding skill may progress into the more advanced courses. Needless to say, a student may withdraw at any stage.
The beginners’ course is of weekly sessions for six weeks. Courses at present are set for Wednesday lunchtimes (between appx 10am and 3pm).
1. Beginners. This course will start with the basics:
- what knife to choose for what purpose
- how to hold the knife
- how to hold your fingers
- how to prepare the fruit
- how to carve the most basic shapes
- how to lay out a plate of fruit
All aspects will be carefully explained, with detailed demonstrations and plenty of opportunity to ask questions in an informal atmosphere. After six sessions, the student will be able to prepare and display a mouth-watering and colourful fruit plate, with each of half a dozen fruits prepared in a way carefully selected to display its special characteristics.
The cost will be £100. The full set of four specialised knives needed will be a further £25.
2. Intermediate. After completing the beginners’ course, and having taken on board the basic skills, the student will advance to learning intricate floral shapes from a series of vegetables found in every kitchen:
- Chinese radish
- red or green pepper
A total of 15 floral patterns will be taught, and the relationship between vegetable and pattern, and the effect of using the same pattern on different vegetables, will be explored. Based on an average of one pattern per session, the course will be completed in 15 lessons. Intermediate and Advanced courses are on Thursdays; the cost for Intermediate is £270.
3. Advanced. With a firm grip now on a wide range of skills, the student will progress to the advanced course, learning the most strikingly beautiful of the ancient arts. Larger fruits and vegetables, such as water melon, sweet melon and pumpkin, lend themselves to a wider display of the skills, and the student will be taught to carve full-size flowers and patterned designs on the surface of the fruit and to embellish the florals with lettering to give the decoration that extra personal touch.
Pumpkin and swede are firm-fleshed and fine-grained, and it is in these vegetables that the carving of table-centrepiece ducks, fish and birds will be taught They also lend themselves to being hollowed, and students will learn how to make beautiful vases to contain the flower shapes of the Intermediate course, or bowls for soups or other dishes.
This course is open-ended: the range of skills to learn is limited only by your own imagination. The cost will be £230.
* Sumalee will provide fruit and vegetables for courses I and 2 above. For course 3, flexibility is the keyword, and students may bring the fruit or vegetable they wish to learn to decorate.
Please contact Sumalee directly rather than using the form below!