What was the hardest part of creating the fruit sculpture?
-Within the project itself, I had so much help and support through many many great sponsors, volunteers, especially my parents, friends and family, and people who were willing to go out of their way for something that has never been done before to create something great. Within all that, there where so many issues that would suddenly appear out of no where. For instance, a huge factor of the display was the produce. Where to acquire so much, cost and available products by a specific time and transportation. The structure of the display by far was the most difficult task to take in. At the very last minute, a sponsor that was supplying the structure had decided to leave the project, leaving us empty handed within 2 weeks prior to the main event. Not only was that extra weight dragging, but the sponsor supplying the truck for transportation we decided to use, to move product and the structure from Colorado Springs to the state fair grounds in Pueblo departed ahead of schedule, again leaving us empty handed without transportation. With the great help from dear friends of mine Casey and Craig, problems became easily manageable and we had a structure built within 24 hrs with transportation, and great sponsorship from Lowes and Home Depot. I wanted people to recognize a local chef making a splash, stirring up the pot and making a ruckus within the community. In a sense, that as a task that was easier said than done. I felt accomplished after all was said in done to have had my hand in all the production to make this happen. From the building and fabrication of the structure to the long intense process of moving each and every single watermelon. There where so many what if factors that kept the last week so intense resulting in sleepless nights and the thought of this project could fail at any moment...
How many melons were harmed in the making and how long did it take? How did you store the produce without rotting?
-The over all display took about a little over a week including the building of the structure, carving the fruit, transportation and setup. A total of two days were spent putting the structure together a few days prior to the process ever taking place, three days of non stop carving (12-15 hours of straight non stop carving. Averaging about a melon a minute), a day for transporting the display and setup, one day for transporting the melons, and two days for more carving and the final show. We carved at least 650 varietal melons (after the total of 650, we stopped counting with some melons to spare that didn’t make it on the display.) All the melons on the display were carved. We used anything and everything to keep the melons fresh from horse troughs filled with ice, walk-in coolers packed with produce, to shaded areas with tender love and care. I scratch my head still to this day on how it all got done.
This week, Friday Food Porn illustrates Chef Daniel Bartlett's process to obtain the WORLD RECORD for the World's Largest Fruit Sculpture.
How did you come up with the idea to create “ The worlds largest fruit sculpture”?
-How did you come up with the idea to create “ The worlds largest fruit sculpture”?I was sitting in a hotel room in Farmington, NM. I had awakened from a nap from a long day an started to think of producing a world record. I have no idea why I was thinking this, or what possessed me to fabricate such an idea. I woke up and it was like a slap to the face to make something great happen. The idea was in effort to expand my name within the culinary industry as a leader in garnishing and innovator for food art. I wanted people to recognize me for this weird passion I have always had. I love playing with my food. I look at food as art. When I walk into grocery stores, I imagine the possibilities and potential each item has. I imagine produce carved into certain items, sauces created out of fruits or how to make something so ordinary look as sexy as possible. I visualize my next work of art and that is what keeps me on the edge. My mother was the type of mom that didn’t tell me to stop playing with my food but rather to make a career out of it. Thank you mom.
In a nut shell, describe the process of assembling this project.
-The display was an idea over a two year span. There was so much planning and notes I had put down that I started to loose track of what was really going on. The process of the display started with finding sponsors to support the idea. From the fruit, the display structure, down to the transportation and most importantly, where to make this happen as well as people to back the idea with physical man power to lift products and even carve. I started to look at this project like eating and elephant, braking it down in sections one at a time and moving forward step by step, one thing at a time. “In a nut shell” the display went from (in order) and idea to sponsors, fruit, structure, assembly of a team, location, carving, transportation, setup, and final result with of course not including variables that needed to be factored in.
What thoughts crossed your mind when creating this display? Did you have any doubts or fears it would fail?
-I had so many thoughts running in and out of my head. Between managing the project and the factors that played within to make it happen, there were other areas that needed to be covered such as media, interviews, spot lights and autograph sessions. Thoughts were in and out of my brain like jolts of lighting. One thought to another in fractions of a millisecond. I was scared. I kept thinking to myself, “what did you get yourself into”, “will this work”, “will the structure hold and support the weight of all the produce”, “what the heck was I thinking”. I felt no matter how much time and planning went into this project, there was always room for doubts. I was lucky enough to have the support and help from so many great people to make this happen.
Chef Daniel Bartlett’s experimental journey into a playful blend of flavors that conjur memories of Willy Wonka, Dr. Seuss and the Mad Hatter. Exploring the textural boundaries of food science, Chef Dan wants to change the way you think about taste.
From rosemary smoke, to cloud like foams, and even powders that dissolves instantly on contact with a remarkable sensation of bursting flavor, Chef Dan tricks the senses and dances with the imagination.
Chef Dan, your dishes appear to be normal, but explain the surprise one encounters? What makes these dishes unique?
-My food can be traditional, but I wanted to step outside the usual constraints of those traditional recipes and engage impossibilities. I dream of eating liquids that disappear with no trace of ever existing. I wanted to look at a perfect sunny side up egg and have it taste of vanilla and mango. Visually my food looks normal but once the palate explores it, the mind is thrown in so many directions with intense flavors that do not match the original flavor of the product.