Tony Bien says it all started simple, even though his creations can be quite complex (and tasty).
Resident fruit carver?
“Because I am the only one at the Culinary Arts Center (downtown Overland Park) who knows how to carve fruit.”
OK, so that answers the why of the official title, Resident Fruit Carver, boldly emblazoned on his chef’s smock.
“I teach classes in fruit carving at the Center, and I tell people it is pretty easy. Well, ‘easy’ is a relative term,” says Tony Bien of the Culinary Center of Kansas City. “It takes practice.”
This day at a the Crown Center Chalk Walk , Tony was showing off his carving kills with a hobby-type knife and an obviously very sharp blade.
“I used to offer a basic class and an advanced class, but people were too intimidated to sign up for the advanced class and I had to cancel it, which bummed me out. Now I encompass beginning and advanced techniques in one class.”
He has been doing this kind of art with fruit since 2008. Tony started with a watermelon after he saw a demonstration on eatable table centerpieces in high school. He watched videos and online programs. And carved. A lot. He also offers his artistic, and tasty interpretations through his own business, Tony’s Edible Art.
How DOES a person go about getting this kind of work?
“As you can imagine, there isn’t a line of people to teach fruit carving, so it is a pretty easy title to get.”