Remember when an intricately carved watermelon could indicate mastery and craftsmanship in the kitchen? Garde manger, as it’s called, is a dying art.
Phil Hansen is a multimedia artist who makes designs on bananas using a needle and their own browning process, instead of ink (see above). As time goes by, and the banana oxidizes, the design darkens until it’s no longer visible. When I came across his work on DesignBoom today, I was reminded of a few other artists who work in the medium.
The Vegetable Orchestra: Veggie Concerts
The Vegetable Orchestra is a Viennese company, founded in 1998, whose performers play instruments made almost entirely from fruits and vegetables. Carved carrot and pepper horns, celeriac bongos, and eggplant claps. They inspired famous YouTube veggie performer Heita3 to make his own sweet, strange vegetable music.
Carl Warner: Foodscapes
English photographer Carl Warner is best known for “Foodscapes,” his project that transforms food into surreal, complex landscapes. Although at this point, some of the images might unfortunately remind you of a ranch dressing campaign.
Rammy Lee Park: Vegetable Western
The extraordinary Rammy Lee Park created a whimsical series of shorts (previously published on Gilt Taste, where I used to work). My favorite, The Good, the Bad, and the Leafy is a classic Western tale starring vegetables. They laugh, they cry, they shoot guns.
It’s hard to explain, but really old-fashioned garde manger warms my heart. Tomato roses, radish buds, watermelon baskets. If you happen to see these at restaurants around NYC, please, send me your pictures.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 17, 2012