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Review: Food Art – Garnishing Made Easy

By John Gargone

2004, Schiffer Publishing Ltd.  ISBN-13: 978-0764319600

I own quite a number of books dealing with the related topics of plating, garnishing and carving foods. This little volume touches on all three aspects of food presentation but, while it is fairly interesting to look through, it is definitely not one of the best in my collection… 

The promised content of the book looks quite impressive and interesting but, unfortunately, it is lacking in any real, and usefully instructional substance. The first few pages introduces some of the tools used to produce the various garnish designs but, other than a few rudimentary cutting techniques, there is very little systematic effort taken to really demonstrate the use of the different implements.

The general organization of the book is rather poor in that it jumps from technique to technique without any sort of logical progression in terms of difficulty. There are some simple garnish designs juxtaposed with incredibly ornate pieces and none of them is especially well explained. A few illustrations are more or less self-explanatory in terms of the techniques involved but the remainder, particularly the melon sculptures, don’t have much value other than looking pretty to look at. There are a few recipes included but ultimately the reader is left to wonder what purpose they serve other than to pad out a book that really doesn’t offer a whole lot else.


Sadly, I cannot find much about this book to recommend it to anyone. It will be all but useless to beginners looking to get started with some basic techniques and I cannot honestly see many professionals finding much value in it either.

Available Here…

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. Too bad the book wasn’t a hit. I’d really like to improve my plating and mostly look online for inspiration. Any recommendations for better books?

    June 8, 2012
  2. Let’s see….

    ‘Chinese Appetizers and Garnishes’ by Huang Su-Huei is quite nice. It is limited to Chinese garnishes, of course, but I like this one quite a bit.

    ‘Working the Plate’ by Christopher Styler is alright but not as good as I hoped. It is ‘Nouvelle Cuisine’ style plating and has some nice pictures and instructions but too few examples.

    ‘The Fine Art of Japanese Food Arrangement’ by Yoshio Tsuchiya. Not bad, but again not as good as I was hoping. It goes into the philosophy of Japanese food arrangement, which is interesting, but the book expends far too many pages on pictures of Japanese Tableware when more illustrations of plated foods would have been better.

    I will probably review them more fully at some point but likely only the first will get a recommendation…

    June 8, 2012
    • Thanks for the reply! I’m going to keep an eye out for these 3. I don’t know if I would have picked up Chinese garnishes, but know I think I will!

      June 9, 2012
  3. Glad you liked “chef’s surprise.” All the best in your food-art endeavors. Happy New Year!

    December 26, 2012
  4. I have always believed in constructive criticism. however you do not give me that input. This book has been a great success with customer reviews and is being utilized in many culinary institutions as a guideline to food garnishing. These techniques of been taught to thousands of food service personnel and home chefs. The basic methods outlined in detail can be utilized on a daily basis even at home. They are all simple quick and the presentations have astounded guests in many casino hotels and country clubs across the nation visit my many edible art galleries at to see the many many variations of the displays in my book Food Art, Garnishing Made Easy
    note; I wrote this book because most other food Garnishing books I have read and it’s been in the thousands have all been about garnishes that either took too much time but did not equal impact or two silly to present. My book also entails how to display food which is something I personally have not seen in any other book.

    February 4, 2014
    • Mr. Gargone … in addition to replying by way of follow-up comment, I have dedicated a blog post to your original comment so that more of my readers will get to see it. I have added a brief response that I hope you will find a little more fair than my review.

      John Thompson

      February 4, 2014
      • I should have also added that the post will be published the day after tomorrow….

        February 4, 2014

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