mukimono – the Japanese art of carving decorative food garnishing
The Kobe-based Japanese chef, Takehiro Kishimoto, has long been practicing mukimono – the Japanese art of carving decorative food garnishing. But it wasn’t until he discovered the Thai version of fruit and vegetable carving that he could take his passion to the next level.
Check out examples of Japanese and Thai food carving below.
Japanese Mukimono (fruit and vegetable carving)
This knife features a thin, sharp blade. It cuts vegetables at sharp angles without breaking their cells. It also has a triangular ‘kissaki (point) for detail work.
Thai kae sa luk (fruit and vegetable carving)
Known in Thailand as kae sa luk, fruit carving is an art form that can be traced all the way back to the 14th century.
The tools used for Thai carving are much more varied allowing the artist more control. Sharp, pointed flexible knives as well as a myriad of scoop tools allow the artist the precision to create fine details.
- Watch as Takehiro Kishimoto creates his beautiful carvings.
More amazing examples…
- How do you think one might experience a meal differently if these carved designs were incorporated into the fruits/vegetables?
- Do you think fruit and vegetable carving is an art or a craft? Why?
- Do you have a tradition of creating visually appealing foods or beverages?
- (Do you do it for yourself or others?)
Every year, kae sa luk experts gather at Bangkok’s “Thailand Ultimate Chef Challenge” to celebrate this tradition, transforming their food into tasty-looking works of art.
- Watch this short video to see this fantastic competition and the winning design!
- Try carving a simple garnish using cucumber and carrot. Serve it to a friend.
Takehiro Kishimoto (aka Gaku) is a Japanese chef and mukimono food carver. He also practices the Thai methods of fruit and vegetable carving. He works and lives in Kobe, Japan. He has over 280,000 followers on his Instagram channel.
Born: 1980 (age 43 years)
Takehiro Kishimoto carves detailed patterns into fruits and vegetables using only a knife. In Japan, the practice is referred to as Mukimono. Kishimoto commonly carves cranes, flowers, turtles, and dragons into the fruit or pulls inspiration from traditional Japanese patterns. It can take him up to two hours to carve one vegetable. When he's done carving, he eats the food, so nothing goes to waste!
More examples of Takehiro Kishimoto’s carvings.