St Paul Winter Carnival Ice Sculture First Place 2012
Hennepin Technical College Culinary Arts Instructor Rob Graham and two longtime friends have won first place in the multi-block ice carving competition at the 2012 St. Paul Winter Carnival with their entry “Wintermachenmachine.” Judging was based on creativity and originality, technical difficulty, initial impact, and attention to detail. In addition the team received the People’s Choice Award, which is based on voting by members of the public who view the ice carvings.
If you’ve admired ice sculptures and wondered, “How do they do that?” here’s what Rob Graham has to say.

Where did you learn how to carve ice sculptures?
I learned as a student at HTC. The Culinary Arts program still includes ice carving. I graduated in 1974 and I’ve worked at the college since 1979, first as food service manager, then in 1998 I started teaching high school students who were attending HTC. This year I’m teaching an evening class that includes ice carving, which is a lot of fun.

Who carves with you at Winter Carnival?
My friends, Tom Schiller and Terry Ries, and I have been entering the contest for over 20 years. Tom is the chef at Lake Elmo Inn and Terry , who formerly lived in Minneapolis, now operates two restaurants in Burlington, Iowa. We’ve been friends for so long I don’t even remember exactly when we met. We’ve won first place about three times, but it has been a while since we’ve won. We’re seeing lots of great designs at Winter Carnival. It’s good to see so many younger ice carvers.

How did you choose the theme for your entry this year?
It was my idea. Since we hadn’t really had a winter, I thought we needed to have a machine that could make it for us. It’s our version of Dr. Seuss’ winter making machine. It’s a really busy design. Every inch has something going on.

What’s the competition process?
You start with 20 blocks of ice. That’s 6,000 pounds. The competition runs for 48 hours, from 9 a.m. Thursday to 9 a.m. Saturday. You can use the time any way you want. This year, since it was warm during the day, we waited until nighttime to carve. The teams pay an entry fee to participate. The prize for first place is $2,000.

What about this year’s mild temperatures?
Warm weather is the enemy. A piece this large needs to be structurally sound because if one chunk falls off, it takes a dozen pieces with it.

Last updated by jlaabs : 2012-02-14 02:08:39