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Cool Jobs Q&A: Ice carver

Keeping a cool head is part of what makes a skilled ice-carver


 
Photograph by Simon Hayter

Photograph by Simon Hayter

 

HIROSHI TAKAHASHI, 63

  • Ice artist, Cool Creations
  • Average yearly income: $50,000-$150,000

How did you get into this field?

I was working in the culinary field. I was making cold food, and then we started using ice ware, like shelves for seafood. In those days, there was a lot of Sunday brunch going on. And the people liked things to look fancy, so we carved ice sculptures for the buffet. I started in about 1977.

What education or skills do you have?

I apprenticed at a hotel in Japan for a long, long time to become a chef. Mostly, I learned to carve ice by myself. I went to competitions and learned from other people.

Describe a typical day on the job.

We do lots of weddings, corporate functions, ice bars, that kind of stuff. It’s year-round. Some of them we carve in a walk-in freezer. Most of the time we work at room temperature. With gloves, of course.

What are the pros and cons?

Everybody can tell if a sculpture is good or not. When you bring it into a banquet room, and everyone says “Wow,” I know that I did a good job. But if you’re doing it every day, sometimes you get tired of it. You get lazy. You’re not really working hard sometimes. I try every time to do the best I can do.

What advice would you give to someone interested in this job?

They have to come to me, or someone who is ice-carving professionally. But now you can find a lot of ideas from the Internet. My friend Aaron Costic, he sells products and makes videos on how to use the chisels. You can see them and get lots of ideas.


 
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