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Fruit Carving Ninja Cuts Up at US Foods Show

A unique sign by Patrick O’Brien hung above a pizza vendor.

Patrick O’Brien discovered during a routine garnish class in culinary school that he was more suited for the Fruit Carving Ninja lifestyle than one in a restaurant kitchen. While the other students struggled to make a rose out of a radish, O’Brien, who “can’t draw a stick figure to save my life,” found his calling. He went home from school that day with a six-pack and a melon and honed his knife skills.

Patrick O’Brien travels around the country entertaining crowds with his knife skills.

Life has been pretty rosy for the gregarious produce carver ever since. He’s traveled the country wowing crowds as the Fruit Carving Ninja. US Foods hires him to entertain the crowds at its Food Fanatic shows around the country, such as the recent show at US Bank Stadium in early May. 

O’Brien, who lives in North Carolina, has to drive to all his gigs, because he has to start his display pieces at home. “No one wants to watch me carve a melon for two hours,” he says. For the Vikings stadium, O’Brien carved logo’d goalposts with a pineapple football sailing through them. 

He continues to carve away as people stop to talk. In the off-chance that he needs a conversation starter, he has a few on the table, such as a cucumber ship next to a head of iceberg lettuce. “Know what that is?” he asks a couple who stop to watch him carve a watermelon. “The Titanic hitting an iceberg.”

Another pun was an Apple watch carved out of an actual apple. “It’s way cheaper,” he says.

His craft is more practical than ice sculptures, he points out, because “an ice sculpture starts dying as soon as it’s out,” while his artwork can be displayed for three days straight.

While fruits and vegetables are his go-to canvases, he also came up with a sign for one of the exhibitors: a background of white bread slices toasted to spell out US Foods and the Vikings’ logo.

Now that’s a way to expand your repertoire to make some extra bread. 

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