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Kristiane Kegelmann is a Berlin-based food designer who aims to interpret classic patisserie in a brand new and unrestrained format: her sweet edible sculptures, half cakes half pieces of art, involve a synergy of colours, shapes, fancy textures and exceptional flavour combinations.
Speaking of her unique work, Kristiane commented: "Do edible pieces always have to be consumed the same way? Do they persistently have to have an equal, unmistakable outward appearance? Nowadays aesthetics and ambience are strongly focused on the sense of taste".
Intrigued by this approach, Fine Dining Lovers asked Kristiane Kegelman to tell us more about her work, contemporary cake design and inspiration. And if you want to enjoy her creations, don't miss the gallery at the top of the page!
Where does the inspiration for your creations come from?
I get my inspiration from seeing color- or shape-combinations in everyday life. For the fillings I use some special flavors as well, I feel it’s interesting to use vegetables together with chocolate, herbs … Sometimes when I eat something, it hits me how it would taste in combination with chocolate or a creamy filling. Like ginger-white chocolate filling in combination with a cucumber-mint confiture with gin, or a fine grated salted cashew nut crumble with lemongrass creme and an elder-heart.
Of course, every fine dining chef has used sweet things in combination with salty ingredients or vegetables. But I think, it’s important to have a feel for it, using only the best ingredients, so you can create the ultimate taste. In terms of food, so many flavors have been combined, so many incredible desserts (not only these) have been placed beautifully on the plate. But I guess with my installations I can create double pleasure, first for the eye, then for the senses. Sometimes the filling influences the outward design, sometimes exactly the opposite.
What is your speciality/signature cake/design?
I think my signature design is that I use a lot of graphic shapes and clear lines in combination with matching colors and more structure than kitsch squiggles. You could almost say, my edible pieces are plain. But in their clear and clean outward appearance, my sculptures have a very complicated construction and when you use clear lines and patterns you have to work with precision. So if you're not a perfectionist, it’s not worth a try. I guess, every architect or designer would agree with that :) To plan and convert the installations is connected with a lot of work, imagination, patience and sensitivity.
What challenges/rewards do you encounter when working on a new cake design/cake project?
That's the best part! Because every project is a new challenge for me. I never do a piece twice, every time it’s an individual creation. After I work with a lot of complicated construction and creamy consistencies, very often I have to evolve new ways of translating a picture, which has developed in my head, into practice. That’s always a challenge.
I learn a lot and in the end there is something that no-one has seen before in this edible context. Usually, I am never totally happy at the end, but I guess, that’s how it is in creative business. Finally, you always see, what you could have done better :) And with some self-reflection you grow.
Can you tell us about any specific techniques or equipment you use to create your cakes?
I think, what is special about my working process, is that I work more like a designer, than as a pattissière. Of course the fillings and bases I produce with the same techniques, but my installations always involve elements, who I build specifically for the installation to complete the whole setting. Like getting some material, sometimes I pour concrete blocks to arrange it on top or every now and then I work with lights.
Once or twice I created installations, that were hanging on the walls, so I had to plan and build (or let someone build, if it wasn't possible for me) a „frame“ for that. Nothing is prohibited, so I can work with whatever is hygienically ok to be around food. I am running from the material place for a curtain to a tasting with a client to my Laser-Partner, who lasers some special boxes, that I have designed for the next tasting. At most of the events I will be there to present my edible installation. It’s very exciting to be part of the whole process and see at the end how the recipient reacts. That makes me happy.
How do you manage to incorporate design and technology into your cakes to keep them relevant and contemporary?
I incorporate my own taste for design and colors into my cakes and then I have to figure out how to get to the finished sculpture. Of course, technology these days is a great help. When I create smaller new moulds, the 3D-Printer makes it possible to print a perfect prototype. I can even build my own chocolate moulds and with some connections you can find a place to make my personal shapes in plastic moulds.
Are there any future trends that you can forsee in the cake/patisserie industry?
I think the trend of good quality and clean food in general will grow even more in the coming years. To keep up with the high standard of taste is very important. And I notice at every event, the guests are surprised that it tastes great, when it looks that interesting. Not even most of the traditional wedding cakes taste good. To have after the visual pleasure the upfront taste as well is definitely something, that people remember.
What is there still to come from you? Any future projects you would like to share with us?
I will surely be part of bigger projects in the future. My own exhibitions and even more complex installations. Every day we learn so much and get new ideas, it would be sad if there weren't so much process. At the moment I am working a lot on creating installations, that are built on many small pieces, so at an event no-one has to cut the cakes, but people take a piece and the sculpture still exists in a clean and beautiful way, it changes but doesn’t suffer for it.
To find techniques to make different types of designs and shapes possible, in my style, is a new challenge.