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Before applying his forward thinking techniques on food, Andrew Stellitano studied design and worked in gastronomy. Today he merges his experience and his thirst for fresh ideas into creating the most unexpected edible sculptures possible.
How did you get involved with food design?
I studied graphic design at the St Martin’s College in London and at the same time I worked in a few kitchens. It was an evening job that gave me the opportunity to observe chefs at work and I found it very inspiring. I did my first proper research on food while preparing my graduation project. It was then that I first experimented with screen-printing, laser cutting and all shorts of techniques that today make part of my creative process.
What inspires you?
It could be anything; I do lots of research, keep sketchbooks and constantly write down short ideas. I’m fascinated by technology because it evolves so quickly that you have new things coming in all the time. The rest is a work in progress taking place in kitchens and workshops. For example certain projects involve laser cutting…
What is the most important element of your work?
Taste comes first. Last summer I spent a month at Restaurant Sat Bains as a Stagiere, a week at L'Enclume and a couple of days at Midsummer House, all of which were incredible experiences. Visual communication comes just after: how impacting food can be in terms of communicating ideas. Printing, let’s say, is very evocative.
Among your projects, which one has attracted more attention?
Well, commercial projects are usually more popular in a way. The most popular so far was the Gucci Tiramisu, commissioned by AnOther Magazine to turn Gucci Creative Director’s cake design into reality for AnOther’s 10th birthday. I think the fact that it involved an iconic brand draw attention on the project.
How do you usually develop a commissioned project?
People know my approach, some times they have a clearer idea and some times not. I start from the concept that they give me and I try to push it towards different directions, collaborating with all shorts of specialists from sound designers to photographers. For example for Lyle’s “Panscape Play” they asked me to transform a pancake that is flat, into something three-dimensional (as you can see in the picture at the top of the page). It was a project that left me lots of space to experiment.
Which was the most exciting project that you have developed so far?
I think it was the Sweet Shoppe that I did with the Future Laboratory agency, during London’s Design Festival in 2011. It was a hyper-real, technology-enabled vision of the future of retail. I did the confectionary for the event.
What is your relationship with food, outside from work?
I try to understand it a lot, that’s how I eat. Consciously experimenting in the kitchen, even if my everyday food is not as complicated as my projects!
What else are you working on at the moment?
Several projects that I cannot talk about yet, as they’re still work-in-progress! On February I participated at Eat Rich or Die Trying, the first of a quarterly series of pop-up dessert tastings. The narrative is really important in this case: I am fascinated by the evolution of folklore and the traditions that we follow to this day sometimes unaware of their roots in the past. My two dishes, Courtship and Marriage, deconstructed some of these rituals, with strong reference to regional English folklore. The event takes place at London’s Kemistry Gallery and the next dates will be announced shortly.