Ice King

Trading knives for chain saws--plus a DIY ice guide

Most of the time, you can find Richie Farina, a sous chef at Chicago's Moto restaurant, wielding knives behind the pass.

But one Wednesday a month, Farina trades his knives for a chain saw and chisels when he stations himself outside Moto and its sister restaurant, Ing, for an evening of ice carving.

Farina (of recent Top Chef fame) began carving as a hobby during culinary school, then turned it into a side job and competed in collegiate competitions.

Moto's chef-owner, Homaro Cantu, caught wind of Farina's skill this fall, and suggested Farina put it to use during Ing's monthly flavor-tripping dinners. While diners eat a meal altered by the sour- and bitter-inhibiting miracle berry, Farina carves a seasonal sculpture on the sidewalk.

In October, Farina carved a jack-o'-lantern and ice luge, the latter of which was used to chill down the evening's cocktails. In November, he laid an arctic Thanksgiving table with ice cups and plates, an ice turkey and ice mashed potatoes. This month, he plans to carve a Christmas tree.

Farina will continue carving as long as the weather stays cold. If you're inspired and want to try making some sleek shapes (without using power tools), check out our slide show of use-at-home ice molds, plus shots of Farina in action.