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November 20, 2014 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-11-20

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, November 20, 2014 -- 3B

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Thursday, November 20, 2014- 38

From Page1B
online forums insist on
specific temperatures and
tempering times, but one of the
team's most talented carvers,
LSA junior Neil Anderson,
simply knocks on the ice which
sounds less hollow as it melts.
On asnippy November morning,
Anderson was getting ready to
supervise a carving for younger
members: a lumbar vertebrae
for one of the teammate's
kinesiology classes.
"You don't need experience
to join the team, it's more of
a learning thing to have fun
and practice," said business
sophomore Nick Warminski,
Business and Events Manager
of the team. "I would have
never met aslot of these people:
the age difference, the major
difference, where we live, etc.,
but we all click because we love
to ice carve."
But despite the team's
relative inexperience, it has
placed in several competitions
over the years. Last year, the
team's treasurer, Engineering
junior Sam Friedman, and his
partner LSA and Art & Design
graduate Alicia Chiaravalli
placed third at Plymouth
Ice Festival. They carved an
aquatic scene, complete with a
turtle and a grove of coral.
Ice carving is considered
a culinary art, which means
the team mostly competes
against local trade schools
and community colleges with
culinaryprograms. The schools
have dedicated carving space,
funding and practice time,
making Michigan's placement
a remarkable feat.
Like any craft, ice carving
is equal parts artistry
and technical skill. First,
teammates working in groups
of two to three trace a template
on big sheets of papers using
images projected on a wall.
The template is 'glued' on the
ice block with water, and a
chainsaw makes the rough
structural carves, called big
cuts. after that, a mix of manual
and electric tools transform the
cookie cutter-like silhouette
into a recognizable three-
dimensional form.
"A logo for a company will
take about an hour and a half,
buta full sculpture takes closer
to three to four," Hamet said.
Those three to four hours
are a dance between the
notoriously mercurial medium
and the artist. Choosing the
right image is crucial - a too-
small image doesn't efficiently
utilize the expensive block of
ice; Hamet recalls a full block
of ice that slowly turned into a
tiny swan, "a valuable lesson,"
as he put it.
An unwieldy structure
poses its own problems, too:
Friedman recalls an event
when his partner fused two
blocks of ice together, however
it wasn't cold enough for the
fuse to properly set, causing
the sculpture she had spent
five hours on to topple over.
And of course, just mastering
the tools is an adjustment.

"(Using the power tools) is always the lurking challenge.
incredibly exhausting. Last Ice carving is an expensive
year I started going to the gym hobby: in addition to ice blocks,
just soI could work out my arms tools, transportation and space
so I could hold the chainsaw add up. While Friedman applies
because it's so heavy," said LSA for grants from the school, the
junior Isabel Geracioti. team is privately funded, which
When Hamet, joined, he means all money comes from
remembers being "given a custom orders and donations.
chainsaw and told to just have When Geracioti, Warminski
at it; that was pretty fun." and Hamet joined the team
Today the training process three years ago, its fate was
is less unstructured, albeit a uncertain, as there had only
touch safer, too. been a handful of passionate
"It's a difficult substance. teammates who left with
We have two students we've their individually owned
trained as instructors. Mostly safety equipment. After they
because they're better than graduated, the team was left
me. The big cuts are always with only a handful of saws.
intimidating to people; we "There's always the risk that
don't like to just hand people the team is not going to survive,
a power tool anymore off the because it's labor intensive,
bat," Hamet said. a lot of people view it as an
But after the daunting impractical art and it does take
big cuts, Geracioti says her a special individual to dedicate
favorite part is watching the the time to it," Geracioti said.
sculpture emerge from the "I think the kind of people
three-dimensional shape. who are into ice carving are
"I get to use the left and right those who aren't terribly
sides of my brain. Carving is concerned with earning
this amazing fusion of art and recognition or wide-spread
science." praise for their work, but rather
those who like to challenge
themselves and do something
ice for themselves," she wrote in
T v c an e-mail interview.
While an interest in the
niche hobby initially bound
their veins, the group together, Hamet and
their eins. Warminski both saw the need
for a focus on management.
To Warminski, his greatest
contribution to the team is
There is a philosophical continuing its development.
term called 'reification' which "I'm detail-oriented, so I
describes the transformation like handling the logistics of
of a set of human experiences setting dates, recording the
into a concrete object; indeed amount paid, calculating the
it seems the art object is a profit. I really enjoy carving,
static projection of the artist's I do what I can, but I stick on
particular creative period. The the side and do the business
artists of enduring mediums stuff."
- the writers, singers, During their upcoming
painters - all rely on having fundraising event, the
that transcribed record of Main Street Ice Carving
their process: to return to, Extravaganza, which
to abandon, but at least to Warminski organizes, 20 to
possess. And yet, the carvers 30 Main Street businesses
all were individually drawn to will commission the team
ice carving's temporary nature. for individual sculptures.
The coming into being, rather According to Warminski, it's
than the concrete end, was the the team's biggest fundraising
most important part to them. event. For the entire weekend
"It's kind of beautiful," in February, the team carves
Hamet said. "You know you're for twelve hours a day in front
working for something that of the participating stores,
will be gone by the next week, Newcomers get to practice
but it's perfect that way. When carving a giant engagement
I make the art, the purpose is ring for Abracadabra Jewelry
not to leave a mark on society or a swordfish for Real
or my footprint somewhere. I'm Seafood Company and curious
doing it for myself and anyone passerby wander closer before
close enough to appreciate it. hopefully patronizing the
The fact that it's temporary various restaurants and shops.
makes it more valuable. Every Hamet has taken an equally
second it's changing slightly - hands on approach as leader,
a few minutes later, it's a totally organizing a demonstration
different sculpture." during SpringFest and coding
For Friedman, seeing a new website over the summer
his prize winning ice himself. The sleek website has
sculpture melt away wasn't an order form, a tongue-in-
disappointing. cheek e-mail (somelikeitold)
"It makes it easier to carve and is peppered with social
because you know your media links and press - all
mistakes aren't going to be hallmarks of a technologically
there forever," he said. "Photos savvy business.
are enough, because I was As Hamet put it, "Branding
there, I carved it, I remember is everything. People would say
the work I put into it - I'm 'do you guys have t-shirts?' And
never sad to see it melt away." the answer was no we didn't
As every artist knows, have t-shirts, but now we have
finding a space for creativity public events, we have t-shirts,

in a commodity-driven world is we have a flag."


David Burnell keeps his ingredients fresh and local, and most importantly, keeps people happy with great food.

Burnell keeps it
fresh at Lena and
Daily Arts Writer
For David Burnell, family
comes first. Local ingredients
take a close second.
Burnell is the executive chef
at Main Street restaurants
Lena - a South-and-Central-
American based, new-age
eatery - and Habana - a Latin-
inspired happy hour dance club
located below Lena. Burnell
learned how to cook at a
young age with help from his
"Most of my best family
memories have always been
around the dinner table,"
Burnell said.
Coming from Polish heritage,
Burnell used to help his
grandfather make traditional
old-world dishes. When he
grew up, he realized he had a
talent for it.
"I grew up with the farm-
to-table approach before it
got popular," he said. "At my
old restaurant, my Saturday
specials were always what I
got from the farmers market.
I have a garden at home, so I
support the cause from grower
to table."
As a teenager, Burnell
secured his first kitchen job
as a dishwasher and then
began to work his way up. He
attended Schoolcraft College
for culinary arts, and he's been
an executive chef at various
restaurants around the metro-
Detroit area for 10 years. He's
been at Lena for seven months
In September, Burnell
decided to update the Lena and
Habana menus. He wanted to
make a push for a higher quality

and a higher authenticity of
"We geared the menus
towards closer, fresher, local
ingredients, but also bigger,
bolder spices, really taking
South American and Central
American food and bringing
it up to a more modern level
than what you would get on the
street in Brazil or Argentina,"
he said.
The challenge in coming
to Lena, Burnell said, was
learning how to cook a different
kind of cuisine from anything
he had served before. His
previous job had been Italian
fine dining, and he said being
able to experiment more with
different kinds of flavors and
spices is exciting.
"I'm a big history buff, so
I like to research food. I like
to know where it came from,
why it's prepared that way
and things like that, so coming
to this restaurant was a good
historical challenge for me," he
said. "It gave me a new set of
goals to figure out 'what's this
cuisine all about, and how can
I modernize it for being in Ann
Arbor and making it different
from everything else on the
block?' "
One way Burnell does that is
by keeping his ingredients fresh
and local. While he uses local
produce and meat whenever he
can, he said his favorite item to
use in the daily specials is fresh
fish - he lauded the ability to
be able to have fish shipped
from anywhere in the world,
but he also said that a perk of
cooking in Michigan is the
access to the Great Lakes.
"My produce company that
I work with here in Ann Arbor
[Frog Holler Produce] sources
as much local Michigan
produce as possible," he said. "I
also try to bring in as much as I
can with meats from Michigan,
as well. Seafood, if it's in fresh
water ... comes right out of lake

While Burnell said the
Tampa Bay-esque Cuban
sandwich is his favorite on
Lena's menu, he said he strives
to create diverse plates every
morning when he prepares the
daily specials.
"When I get to the final dish,
I say to myself, would I eat this
or would I not eat this? Really
it's just putting different flavor
profiles together to make
something unique."
While Burnell is no longer
surrounded by the Polish food
of his childhood, he still hopes
to carry on the ideals instilled
in him around his family
dinner table.
"I would be perfectly happy
with a food truck on a beach or
near some water and to cook off
a charcoal grill off the back of
it. I wouldn't really care," he
said. "As long as I'm producing
good food and people are
happy, then I'm happy."
And he brings these values in
his kitchen, aswell. He saidthat
things inevitably go wrong, but
he's learned how to handle any
problems that arise. Food and
those who prepare it together
are like a family to him.
"I have bailed a couple
of cooks out of jail before,"
Burnell said. "I look over my
staff, and I look out for them. I
take care of my staff, and they
take care of me."
Food, for Burnell, is more
than just a creative outlet or
nourishment. He cooks to bring
people together - to make
them happy - and that's why
you can find everything from
dancing to brunch to drinks to
dinner at Lena and Habana.
In the end, Burnelljust wants
to give you the same feeling
he had while cooking with his
grandfather- he wants you to
feel at home.
"I like to create just good,
honest food that people will be
excited to try," he said.



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