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Because of the diverse nature of the many different restaurants and chefs Brian Henry has worked under he is highly proficient at a wide range of cuisines.

Brian’s cooking is seasonal, inventive and smart, but in no way unapproachable or fussy. When he is coaxed out of the kitchen and starts talking about food, his passion and knowledge are instantly recognizable.

"Chef Brian Henry cooked a series of delicious appetizers for us as we sat around a table in the kitchen". Thanks

Tony Aspler, Wine writer

“Chef Brian Henry puts one hundred percent of his energy into going all the way.”

Birgit Moenke, Editor Stir Media Read More Reviews

Posts Tagged ‘ice sculpting’

Gastronomically yours,

February 6th, 2017

Ice Cube

For most Canadians ice is something to skate on, fish through, serve with your favorite beverage or needs to be heavily salted and sanded after a storm. Nowadays ice seems to either be a luxury or a nuisance to us.

The earliest record of harvesting ice was written around 600 BC in northwest China. It was harvested in the winter months and stored for use in the summer months for refrigeration purposes. Over the next 1000 years not too much changed with ice and the harvesting of it.

Michael Tuinstra, of Cambridge, works on an ice sculpture during the Ice Sculpture Competition in Lakefield. The event was held as part of Polar Fest in Selwyn Township.

In the 1600’s Chinese peoples in the Heilongjiang province, began making lanterns out of ice to illuminate the long winter nights it wasn’t long before people started hanging these lanterns outside of their homes as decorative pieces. Before long these decorative pieces grew in size and began appearing as large decorative show pieces.

There seems to be some dispute as to whether China or Russia should be credited with starting the first ice based festivals. Seeing as the region where these traditions started were in the same general area with a border running through them I think it would be safe to reason that these carnivals grew to be a part of regional traditions. The trend spread, and people started hanging decorated lanterns from homes and parading them in carnivals.

The first large scale ice sculpture was of a palace created entirely out of ice in Russia in 1740. Highlights of this monumental piece included cannons that fired cannon balls of ice, and an icy elephant that sprayed water out of its trunk. Ever since the creation of this palace communities throughout China and Russia have been constructing entire towns out of ice.

Ice has been incorporated into many cuisines for its decorative accents. Most famously Chef Auguste Escoffier first presented the traditional Peach Melba dessert nestled in a dish that looked like a swan which was completely carved out of ice. Since this time chefs have plied their craft at making ice sculptures to decorate their buffet tables. This is exceptionally present on cruise ship buffets.

As a chef I enjoy sculpting ice as it allows one to create temporary works of art that are very pleasing to the eye.  I truly enjoy the fact that no matter how beautiful or big the sculpture we know that it will ultimately end up as a puddle of water. An ephemeral expression of art.

The ice blocks that I choose to carve are specially made, they come in 300 lbs. blocks and take three days to form. The water is continuously agitated during the freezing process producing crystal clear ice, without any pressure cracks or bubbles forming in the blocks. As well the water used is food friendly and can be ingested safely. Some carvers use lake water which works equally as well as the factory formed blocks, the downside being that bits of debris can be trapped in the ice, as well it is advisable not to ingest untreated water from our lakes.

Once I’ve decided on a design I draw a one dimensional paper template of what I intend to carve. I then etch the template into the ice. From here I use a chainsaw to remove all of the large pieces of ice that will not be needed in for the sculpture. Then using any of the following tools chisels, irons, grinders, drills and blow torches I begin to transform what began as a one dimensional drawing into a 3 dimensional sculpture.

We celebrated the 13th Annual Polar Fest Ice Sculpting Competition in Lakefield Ontario this past weekend. There were a dozen professional carvers on hand competing for the People Choice Award and the Carver`s Choice Award. This annual event has been sponsored since its inception by the Lakefield Village Merchants.







Gastronomically yours,

October 23rd, 2015
Come check it out!

Come check it out!

The Lakefield Village Merchants

Present the 12th Annual Polar Fest Ice Sculpting Competition

Greetings from the Kawarthas!

The Lakefield Village Merchants are currently planning the

12th Annual Polar Fest Ice Sculpting Competition

Saturday, February 6, 2016


2016 theme

Creatures of Legend”


Each sculptor(s) or team will have 2-3 blocks of ice to work with.

You can have a fourth block to carve with,

but it will need a logo of one of our sponsors carved into it.

In addition to prizes/awards for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners,

all carvers will be given $100.00 to help offset incurred personal costs.

The People’s Choice Award will be given at 5:00 pm, with an Ice Carvers’ Reception

from 4:30 pm –5:30 pm

immediately following the competition Saturday evening at The Thirsty Loon Pub.


Please keep in mind that entrant space is limited and it fills quickly.

Please respond by, January 25th, 2016.

If you are interested please reply to me ASAP, and I will forward more information to you.

Don’t hesitate to contact me if you require any additional information.

I look forward to another successful year.


Sincere regards, Brian Henry

Ice Sculpting Competition Founding Facilitator on behalf of Lakefield Village Merchants


Ice Sculpture Competition Guidelines

The following guidelines will assist you with your plans to participate in the upcoming

Polar Fest Ice Sculpture Competition on Saturday, February 6, 2016.



  • A minimum of two blocks of ice per entry will be supplied by The Lakefield Village Merchants (40”x 20” x 9.5” – approx.270 lbs per ice block).


  • Ice carving will take place on Saturday, February 6, 2016 from 9 am to 4 pm. Please arrive at Cenotaph Park in Lakefield at 8 am for instructions for the day. The Awards Presentation will take place on Saturday at 4:00 pm with a reception from 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm immediately following the competition.


  • Participants are responsible for supplying their own tools and materials – electricity will be provided. Neither ladders nor chairs are provided and it is the sculptor’s responsibility to provide these if necessary for their carvings. Please remember to bring extension cord(s) if you will be using chainsaws or other tools that require power. A limited number of generators will be on hand. You may choose to bring your own generators.


  • The sculptures will remain on display for the whole weekend and as long the weather allows them to last. Once completed, all sculptures become the property of The Lakefield Village Merchants. The Lakefield Village Merchants retain exclusive rights to the sculptures and the use of any photographs, videos or reproductions thereof for future promotional, commercial or other applications. Parties interested in the use of photographs, videos or reproductions of the sculptures for commercial, promotional or other use application means must receive written approval of that use from Brian Henry, Competition Facilitator and from the Lakefield Village Merchants. Carvers shall be entitled to use photographs of the sculptures they themselves created for their personal portfolios and such use shall be excluded from this restriction.


  • Safety is very important. In order to ensure the safety of all participants, we strongly recommend that personal protective equipment be used in order to avoid injuries due to the use of electrical or manual equipment. This includes safety boots, hearing protection, protective eyewear and other relevant safety equipment. Each participant is responsible for their own safety, as well as the safety of other competitors and the general public. The Township of Selwyn, the owners of property on which sculptures will be situated and The Lakefield Village Merchants will in no way be held responsible for injuries and/or damages incurred to the carvers/sculptors and their support team. The carvers are responsible for their tools and equipment. No rewards will be paid out due to loss, theft or damage to tools, equipment and personal effects.


  • Other than the annually set theme there are no set parameters as to design to the sculptures, a general sense of taste must apply, with a liberal approach to keeping the sculptures in the realms of political correctness. As well this approach applies to the sculptor’s behavior and actions while partaking in this event.


Deadline for entry is January 25th, 2016.

Come check it out!

Come Carve with Us!


2016 Theme

Creatures of Legend”


2016 Ice Sculpture Competition Entry Form




Number of blocks requested: One             Two                 Three                    .


Telephone:                                                    Occupation:                                                  




City:                                                                            Postal Code:                         





Please be sure to include (checklist below):

  • Completed form
  • Sculpture Design Plans
  • Short 100 word bio about yourself and or your team for press release.



Please forward your completed entry forms to:


Brian Henry

Private Chef Services

Ice Sculpting Competition Founding Facilitator

On behalf of the

Lakefield Village Merchants

  1. 875.0428













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