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Try This: A beginner’s guide to ice carving 🧊

Greenville Technical College’s Hospitality/Tourism Management degree helps prep future restaurateurs and hospitality pros with the skills they need — including how to carve an ice sculpture.

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three people stand behind an ice sculpture of an angelfish

We named our masterpiece Nemo’s Guardian Angel-fish.

Photo by GVLtoday

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Hey, Greenville, Kimberly + Darrius here. 👋 We recently stepped out of our comfort zones (aka 6AM City headquarters) for a cool experience at The Culinary Institute of the Carolinas at Greenville Technical College.

The school’s suite of hospitality courses range from front-of-house and hotel management to food + beverage pairings and buffet organization (which involves two weeks of ice carving — a skill that is apparently needed in the industry). See what happened when we tried our hand at ice carving. (Yes, chainsaws were involved.)

Darrius carving into block of ice with a detailing tool

The first step was outlining the design on the block of ice.

Photo by GVLtoday

What we tried:

We started with a 300 lb. block of ice. Chef Austin, a former Greenville Tech student turned instructor, led us step-by-step to transform the ice into a stunning sculpture named Nemo’s Guardian Angel-fish. For professionals, most sculptures take about an hour and a half to two hours depending on the amount of detail included. It took us about three hours to complete ours (not too bad for a pair of amateurs).

Darrius with a chainsaw sawing into a block of ice

The next step was cutting off large pieces of ice with the chainsaw.

GIF by GVLtoday

Ice sculptures are incorporated into the decor of many events, including weddings, engagement parties, corporate events, and more. Some are designed for guest interaction and are used to display food or as a fun way to chill drinks (ice luge anyone?)

Kimberly with chainsaw

Kimberly couldn’t let Darrius have all the fun.

GIF by GVLtoday

What not to miss:

This experience was something to cross off a bucket list that Kimberly didn’t even realize she wanted to cross off her bucket list. Students looking to step outside their comfort zones or level up their skill set shouldn’t overlook courses like Buffet Organization.

Kimberly adding details to an ice sculpture

A good warm-up or post-carving stretch doesn’t hurt — Kimberly’s arms were sore after this experience.

GIF by GVLtoday

What we’re still talking about:

The tools used to create an ice sculpture range from a chainsaw and different drill bits to sanding tools and chisels. So much goes into refining each detail of the sculpture. Greenville Technical College’s Culinary Institute of the Carolinas offers students the best possible environment for gaining culinary skills with state-of-the-art facilities, including a room designed especially for ice carving.

More details on ice sculpture

Did we mention you’ll probably be a little cold and wet while creating an ice sculpture?

GIF by GVLtoday

How you can experience this:

Don’t let the $0 tuition scholarships fool you — this degree packs a rigorous punch for students seeking to embark on a career in the hospitality industry.

completed ice sculpture

Most ice sculptures last three-six hours depending on the display.

GIF by GVLtoday

Things to know if you go:

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