Your story (biography) with two specific hints: the first about your childhood and the second about your actual age
I am a food designer, based in Berlin, but born and raised in Munich, south of Germany. I grew up in a family where health and a sustainable lifestyle were very important. I was raised with common values and learned – from my childhood to go on – a lot about food and its differences. Food can change your health, your wellbeing and your concentration. I feel it right away as soon as I have eaten something that slows me down.
This is the first important part, getting to know my body and learning about food. It accompanied me ever since during my work life and during my experimenting.
I am (almost – 12.11.) 26 years old now and the last few years have been an intense experience: I have learned a lot about me and experimented a lot about food plus design.
For every conception of every single project I first try to get a feeling of the event or the client. How should this taste? How are people supposed to feel when they eat it? It’s of course supposed to make them happy but other than that it’s also interesting to lead them to a question. What is it in there? And why can’t I get it? Because playing with ingredients that are not usually in desserts makes you not get it at a first sight. I speak, for instance, of aubergines, cucumbers or fennel and zucchini…
They occupy themselves with the piece they eat.
After I have found the perfect taste of the project I go into design. Each conception involves a new challenge. I work with statics and architectural constructions, simple design, matching colour combinations and structures of the surfaces. It’s interesting to see people first not believing that it’s edible, and definitely if edible not tasty. The only hint is the smell of the sculpture. And the smell of it usually is quite strong and tasty. So it’s a double surprise and pleasure either for the eyes and the senses.
This astonishment makes them remember it!
Your idea of ‘eating design’ or of ‘art to eat’ seems to come from the future, because you apply concepts and forecasts all together without forgetting a total body experience with the ‘appetite’ instinct.
You seem to put together in eating cakes: the act of carving, the set or the furniture to hold food, other ambient experiences while eating, the form of the sweet as a precious item.
Is all this because eating, above all, conceives and boost social spaces and geographies not viceversa?
I think it can be both. Of course social spaces and geographies conceive food. Gnocchi from Italy, Ramen from Japan and Wurst from Germany. This is how the original structures were. But, in these days, every chef and cuisines in every country play around with those barriers. They melt them. Some might experiment with the whole range of ingredients from all over the world and use its flavours for dishes, fusions of all kind of food concepts. Others might use just regional and seasonal ingredients and apply techniques from the other side of the world. Reflection is the biggest and most important part of growing and creating more interesting things.
With my work I want to, as you said, conceive the social space, I want to create something; people – who have demands on food, pleasure and aesthetics – can enjoy and experience and be part of the process. I create installations that keep changing even when I have finished my work process on the sculpture or on the installation. And they change though the recipients. Do we have to consume edible pieces the same way? Do they always have to look the same?
The installations take the guests in.
It’s just for a short while, then it’s gone but at the same time it stays in the heads of people. For me it’s always different. Sometimes the furniture holding the food is important, sometimes I work without furniture. Usually people have to eat the pieces with their hands, which makes it more original and pure, it goes back to the thought that people should take a closer look to the pieces they eat.
In each concept I evolve the whole picture of the installation and for this I would try to make everything possible. Sometimes I use concrete, sometimes light effects, metal or hanging compositions.
At the same time I use only very fresh, natural and high quality ingredients. I know about food and I couldn’t “serve” what I wouldn’t eat myself.
Which has been the inner spark for you to be attracted to this particular experience of architectural/sculptural approach in designing food and eating experiences? Any master to quote?
Hmmm no master in quote, I guess. I come from the patisserie, have seen a lot, learned a lot. And when I archived the state of being able to do all this, being good at all this I noticed that it’s not me. From that point to go on, I experimented and know that I have to go on my own way.
I was working at a famous patisserie in Vienna, at the end leading a station, where it was all about designing cake, being in charge of the customers, calculating, leading a team. My former supervisor and friend Anika taught me so much about it. At that time I was shy, so I have learned how to be self confident, that’s important either for yourself and for your team (and especially for the customers). I learned from her how to work perfectly with fine decorations – and a lot more.
But as soon as I knew this work isn’t for me (in the sense of a long-term job), I had to do my own stuff.
That’s why I am here. My new atelier in Berlin Prenzlauer Berg will be finished early 2017 and it will be a wonderful and beautiful space reflecting my style.
You should come at one point!
I guess I have some role models who have lived and worked their lives in a way I admire. But they are no famous people!. For me working hard is important, and also to never go away from my values in terms of my projects and work, keeping myself genuine and never forget the other side, the side of the employee. I think that happens far too often. I wish to never stop reflecting and growing.
What is your relation with constraints in food design, as for instance with intolerance? Apart cakes, do you performed ‘art to eat’ also with savoury ‘pieces’?
After myself being allergic, I know the feeling, when you are disappointed again either not to be able to eat something or if there is something you can eat, it tastes like a dry too old biscuit, that you don’t feel like eating. But, even not tasty, it costs the triple of a normal food. With my knowledge I can create fillings and tastes that are not missing this important part of the taste! Of course, it depends from which intolerance, the options are limited, but even in a tight range you can still make something wonderful.
I work with ingredients from the savoury “area” but so far just in the patisserie-installations. But who knows what this gonna go..
Which is the most important achievement you obtained as food designer and which is, on the other hand, the one as the more intimate yourself?
I think the greatest achievement so far is that I have reached people to understand the thought behind it. I work without compromises in either the quality or the design and to see during all those events or exhibitions how it gets to the people is a wonderful feeling. Because for some things there wouldn’t be enough understanding in general. Of course my work isn’t for everyone but it’s for some, and they get the questions and the answers.
What your city – actually Berlin – is giving to you and vice versa?
Berlin is giving me a lot of platforms and events for my work, it’s giving me the opportunity to talk to young and creative people, even almost every important manager is in a way easy going and interested. To reach the right people is easier, because barriers between different classes are faded in Berlin.
The food industry is super interesting here. Many young ambitious and creative chefs are in many of the great restaurants and even young people feel comfortable in a fine dining restaurant (at least in many), because it’s more comfortable than stiff. It’s great, because the food community is very close here.
Hmmm, what do I give to Berlin? I guess I am a part that builds a bridge between food and design. Both are important to me and also to many others in this city.
Describe a fantastic happening you have had in recent time
At the moment so many great things are happening. My new atelier, exhibitions and projects, I should name. Recently I was part of a group-exhibition during the Berlin Art Week and it was stunning to see how people loved the installation. It just made me excited for the future exhibitions. This is also a way of opening my work to everyone. My clients are agencies, companies, couples marrying or some other private parties, but it’s always for the client and his guests. So I think it is always nice to make it possible for people who couldn’t afford an extravagant and lavishly installation to be able to come and see, feel and taste it.
Can you share your favourite cooking passion when you do not cook for your clients?
When I cook at home, I love fresh ingredients, but I don’t have one dish I am known for in my friends’ circle. I love to cook for and with friends and they will love my new atelier as much as I do, there I will have also enough space and atmosphere for dinners with my loved ones. I love savoury and sweet food. It has to be well seasoned and for the sweet things (just as I work) not too sweet but with great ingredients to make a wonderful taste possible. Food can be prepared either in simple and in many complicated ways. I don’t care, sometimes you feel needing the first, sometimes you want to enjoy a complicated cooking process. Drinking wine and listening to good music completes the picture.
Which is your favourite wine or drink?
I love red wine, I also love scotch.
Cocktail-wise I really enjoy a great Gimlet (which is quite rare) or Old fashioned.
But when I have a lot of work to do, I drink mostly tea and a glass of red wine at night.
Which is your music or the book(s) with you now (and on which kind of side table or desk the book(s) lies down now)?
I love classical music (Chopin, Beethoven), and rock’n’Roll music like Ray Charles, Otis Redding, Robert Palmer, but also sometimes tuneful electronic music (Darkside, Stimmig, Group Rhoda, Moderat, Nicolas Jaar) and melancholic slow music like Tindersticks, Douglas Dare, Marc Hollis and James Blake.
Books: At the moment on my sideboard lies Stefan Zweig’s Die Welt von gester (The World of Yesterday) , but I haven’t read too much so far. No time!
Which has been the place in this world where you successfully lived “slow”, if this ever happened?
I have lived in Australia with an ex-boyfriend a few years ago. There the lifestyle is slow. Everyone is enjoying life, not stressing too much and you naturally adapt to it and calm down.
Which is a talent you have and the one you miss?
I guess my talent is to be able to keep calm even in stressful situations. I need the time to let a new piece evolve and then I feel safe and no matter what happens during the process, I can keep professional. As well, I must have some talent with matching together colours, shapes and taste combinations J
I lack computer talent. My parents are IT-People but I didn’t get much of that. Of course I learn by doing but I am a total Computer-Looser.
What have you learnt from life until now?
Cheesy but true. When you feel and follow your guts, you usually can’t go wrong. If you bend yourself for something it usually doesn’t work out for long. It’s important to always stay interested, reflected and combine this with knowledge and feeling, hard work by following your goals. They might change, but that doesn’t matter, the process is usually the more important part. Then you can’t go too wrong.