Ayako Kurokawa is a Brooklyn-based food stylist, pastry sculptor and patissier. She founded her brand just a year ago but it took much less for her sublimely styled cookies to become Tumblr classics and spread among Pinterest’s food community.
Born and raised in Hokkaido, at the very north of Japan, Ayako Kurokawa had never practiced her talent for sculptural treats until she moved to New York. She dove into pastry making at The Modern, Moma’s restaurant and the Plaza Hotel. Nowadays, she is the head of Kuroiwa, a minimalist laboratory where her sweets and savories take shape. From the made-to-order portrait cookies to the humorous man tarts and her hand biscuits for Elle Japan (where she also has a blog), Ayako’s work is a clearly promising one.
FDL caught up with her to find out more about her carved cookies and fancy pastry making.
How did you become a patissier?
I could say by instinct. I studied food service management but after my degree I realized that I am more of an artisan rather than management person. I didn’t lose time - I knocked on the door of my favorite pastry shop in New York and at the same time I studied pastry from scratch.
Which experience has taught you the most professionally?
Everyday of working in a team was quite a challenge, both for the things I learned and the collaborative sense that I was called to develop. Every experience taught me something, but the best lesson was discovering that I am better suited for working in a laboratory kind of environment.
Which was the most bizarre commission you have ever received?
I couldn’t tell! I get crazy requests everyday but at the same time I make several unexpected designs by myself.
Why all this love for ornamental pastries?
For me it’s a way of expressing my feelings. Something that goes beyond recipes or techniques - its pure inspiration and quite often it’s instant. For instance, I sometimes make the sketches for my future works on my iPhone.
What do you get your inspiration from?
I get most of my inspiration from everyday life in Brooklyn, it comes from the mood of my neighborhood and the people I meet. My favorite hobby is daydreaming in the subway, this is where a big part of my ideas come up. I also like to visit museums and art galleries: stone carving and clay sculpting have things in common with what I do.
And on the technical side?
I usually work on classic French recipes, even if one couldn’t tell since I often retouch the aspect.
What would you do for living if you weren't s pastry maker?
Most probably I would be an artist!
Medovik or Russian honey cake is a multilayer cake made with a whipped sour cream frosting. This classic Russian cake with notes of honey and caramel is so tender it just melts in your mouth. Surprise your friends with this famous Soviet Union dessert. Try our recipe at home
Journalist Lisa Ling highlights the stories and experiences of Asian American families in the US through the lens of food in a new six-part docu-series on the streaming channel HBO Max. Watch the trailer.
Geranium's Rasmus Kofoed has decided to stop serving meat at the restaurant currently ranked number two on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list. But the Danish chef isn't yet willing to go purely plant-based.