Ice, Ice Sculpting

Today will definitely go down as one of my most memorable days in culinary schoolice carving day!  I have seen other students do ice carvings for nine months, and finally it was our turn.  We started off up in the classroom, learning about our gear for the day, and making sure we did everything SAFELY!  In order to carve safely, we each had to wear a helmet with ear muffs, carving gloves, cut-proof chaps (haha!), and humongous steel toed boots.  Mylan modeled for the class…

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Chef Campbell taught us all about how to use a chain saw and not kill ourselves, or each other.  Up until the safety demonstration I was really excited about doing the ice carvings.  After hearing all of the stories about what can go wrong, and students that have been hurt, I started to get really nervous!

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Before we were blindly sent outside to carve our own blocks of ice, Chef Campbell did a demonstration for us up in the classroom.  These blocks weigh 300 pounds!!

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He taped his sketch of a fish to the block, and used a pointed tool to poke dots all the way around it, making a connect-the-dots type drawing.

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Then the chainsaw came out, and things got LOUD!

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Even with a roaring chainsaw, one of my classmates managed to sleep through the entire demonstration.  Of all the wonderful things I have learned in culinary school, learning to work with all types of different students has been one of the bigger challenges…

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Back to the ice – in no time it suddenly started looking like a fish!  I realized today how totally bad ass my teacher is – soooo much crazy talent!  This went from a block of ice to a beautiful fish in less than 30 minutes.

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After the demo, we picked our partners and our designs and then headed outside to start carving.  Only one little problem with our plans to carve ice today…


It was in the 90’s today, and we were carving outside!  The plan was to carve as fast as possible, and to make bigger cuts to account for melting.  We got all suited up and ready to go.  I felt so absurd in all my gear!

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Jeff and I picked out a pretty crane, but we were nervous about it falling over because of the skinny legs.  We figured we’d give it a try – worst that would happen was that it breaks.  But it was going to melt anyways, right?

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I made Jeff go first because I was really nervous!

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He cut off a few of the first big hunks around the head, and then we switched turns.

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The chainsaw was heavier than I was expecting!  I think I am a pretty strong person, and even I was surprised at how physically exhausting it was. 

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I got over the initial fear pretty quickly.  Once I realized that the chainsaw wasn’t going to kill me it was all FUN!

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I cut out a few more big chunks before passing the saw back to Jeff to do some more…

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I think Beth and Rachel enjoyed the outfits more than the carving itself.  :)

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Look, it’s finally starting to actually look like something!

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We were carving out in the middle of an open green area in Uptown Charlotte, so we had a lot of people stopping to watch is do the carvings.

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With the body pretty much formed (besides the legs – saved those for last!), we got to work on some of the details.  We got to use smaller power tools too!

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One of my wonderful Freshman lab friends stopped by to see our creation.  I miss you, Michele!

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Finally taking shape and carving out wings…

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And finally biting the bullet and going for the legs.  Can you tell from the pictures how much it has melted?  It was probably half its original size by the time we finished.  We also lost some of the detail work to melting by the end.

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I let Jeff finish up the legs because I was scared to break them, and I watched him work with Rachel and Beth.  They are two of my best friends from culinary school, and I really hope we all stay good friends when school is over.

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The finished product!  Our beautiful (melting) crane…

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Jeff and I have been in labs together since our very first day of culinary school back in September.  In fact, I actually met him at summer orientation in July – before I even lived in Charlotte!  Another great friend I will hold on to…

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Here are a few shots of my classmates’ creations.  Kelly made a bunny…

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Kim and Victoria made a bunny too, but accidentally cut the ears off, so he became a “woodland creature.”  :)

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Chad and Paul made a violin, but accidentally cut the handle off – whoops!

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Once our piece was finished, we had to move it with these scary gigantic red claws.

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And we took our lovely crane to his final resting place…

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Pretty ice sculptures lining the walkways for workers and students to enjoy.

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I don’t know that I’ll be looking for any future employment as an ice sculptor, but it was a really fun experience that I’m so glad I got to try.  How many people can say that they’ve carved a block of ice into a bird!?!

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FOUR days of culinary school left, and the sadness and reality of it being over is starting to hit me hard.  Until then, I’m going to soak up every minute that I can…


In case you didn’t notice, I recently added new Fitness and Health tabs to the top of the page!  Make sure you check them out to see archived posts and some older health and fitness tips.  :)