Many of my readers have expressed an interest in getting into business with Vegetable and Fruit Carving arrangements. After receiving “oooohs” and “aaaahhs” from their edible displays, friends and families have encouraged them to try turning their passion for making beautiful vegetable and fruit carving arrangements into profit.
Today, I want to introduce you to one of my readers/customer, Richard Testani, who is a professional in vegetable and fruit carving. You may have come across Richard’s name if you’ve read my blog post Radish Flowers | An Easy Vegetable Carving for Beginners. I think you will really enjoy his vegetable and fruit carving work and I hope his story will inspire you!
Professional Vegetable and Fruit Carving by Richard Testani
Richard Testani is the Garnishee Chef for Exquisite catering by Robert in Florida. I first learned about Richard’s vegetable and fruit carving work when he sent me photos of his wonderful arrangements. Richard’s vegetable and fruit carving work was on display at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival (SOBEWFF), which is an annual destination event sponsored by Food Network celebrating the talents of the world’s top culinary personalities.
Here are a few photos of Richard’s vegetable and fruit carving arrangements:
When asked if he gets a lot of “oooohs” and “aaahhs” from his vegetable and fruit carving work, he wrote:
Yes I do, most people are always fascinated by the work and do line up to take photo’s. I am not one that likes the fame, limelight and the glamor. I do a lot of work for the SOBEWFF and the food network. This is the first year that my boss literally made me go to the SOBEWFF for pictures and to see how many people line up to photograph my work. This year was really hard, once I got the SOBEWFF set up. I did one hour of photos for the Food Network and the FIU Faculty and sponsors from 11:00am to 12:00pm. I was then shoved in to a car and off to do the display and carvings for the Miami Oscar’s party that was held in Miami for the Local Celebs that were accepting via satellite. That had to be set-up and ready for the opening and arrival of guests at 4:00pm. Then off to home to do the carvings that were due at 6:30am the next morning. ”
Well, I think he deserves some limelight because he definitely works hard at what he does:
I work most always 6-7 days a week and do all the carvings at night once I get home. Sometimes I am carving until 3-4 a.m. and back in to the kitchen at 5:30 or 6 a.m.”
I asked Richard about how he got into his current vegetable and fruit carving business and he was kind enough to take the time to share his story with me:
I have been in the food and hospitality field most of my 50+years of my life. I started carving in 2002 when I retired early and moved to Tennessee. I found there were very few people in that area with a real knowledge of healthy catering. That was when I opened my own Hotel, 4 restaurants and a wedding and catering company in Jackson, Tennessee. I began having less and less time to carve. In 2010 I moved back to Florida to find that people were doing very little to no carvings. I went to work for Robert [owner of Exquisite Catering] and shortly after he was frantic looking for a florist or someone to do display work for an event that was happening in 48 hours. He had no knowledge of what he wanted, no ability to explain what he needed. I said I would try coming up with something and hopefully he will like it. I came up with this attached photo done for the SOBEWFF 2011 not knowing it was for the main entrance to the show. From that day on I never saw the office again; I have been in the kitchen ever since, carving like a madman.”
It sounds like Richard took a risk and just did it! Sometimes the best things happen when you don’t plan for it! But you know the old saying, ” The harder you work, the luckier you get”. That seems to apply here.
Richard Testani used Ideas taught in my Vegetable and Fruit Carving Video Lessons to Dress Up his Fruit Platter Arrangements
Richard has used some of the ideas from my Vegetable and Fruit Carving Video lessons in his arrangements. Here is an example of how he used the radish bouquet taught in my free lesson in his display:
The pepper flowers in the above photo are taught in my Fun with Peppers DVD, which teaches you several variations of pepper and chili flowers and how to arrange these into a healthy edible bouquet.
Some of the carvings seen in Richard’s photos are taught in my 11 week Vegetable and Fruit Carving Course for Beginners. The course also includes lesson teaching how to carve flowers from peppers, radish flowers, watermelon roses, yam flowers, cucumber leaves and much more.
I really love Richard’s vegetable and fruit carving work. When I told him this, he wrote:
Nita, thank you. That is an honor coming from you. I love your work and your educational DVD’s. I have a lot to thank you for teaching me!….
…..Yes I did get great use from your DVD’s and on line lessons. I do have several of your DVD’s”
It’s always great to hear that my work is appreciated by both amateurs and pros like Richard!
Vegetable and Fruit Carving: Turning Passion Into Profit
If you are thinking of turning your passion for vegetable and fruit carving into a potential business, I hope that you found Richard Testani’s story inspiring. If you are a beginner, start small and offer your services to friends and family. You can offer your services at birthday parties, anniversaries and other special events. When people tell their friends, your business can grow. Many of my readers start out making vegetable and fruit carving displays for wedding rehearsals, retirement parties and baby showers.
If you want to read about another successful vegetable and fruit carving business, check out my previous post about Anetas Lekas, owner of Fruit Platters Can Say it:
I hope you continue to enjoy vegetable and fruit carving, whether you’re doing it for passion, profit or both! If you’ve created vegetable and fruit carving displays for special events that you would like to share, please send them my way – I might just to feature them on my blog!