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.