Photo by Ashley Nickle
Chef Joseph Poon has been carving watermelons for two decades, and his creations regularly cause minor traffic jams on expo floors as people stop to examine the intricate designs and take pictures.
I caught up with Poon at the PMA Foodservice Conference and Expo in Monterey, Calif., in late July and took some video of him at work, and we ran into each other again in late August at the New England Produce show in Boston.
In Monterey, Poon gave a quick lesson on how he creates flowers on the surface of the melon.
One of the speakers in Boston noted that having occasional elaborate displays in a produce department — she mentioned watermelon carvings as an example — could be a way to provide a shareable in-store experience for shoppers.
Having seen the reaction to Poon's creations on the show floor, I can definitely see how having something similar in a produce department would get people to stop, take pictures and send them to their family and friends ... or put them on Facebook and Instagram.
Any given store would need to consider whether the details — expense, floor space, etc. — make sense for it, but it seems like an idea worth considering.