No one can doubt the skill it takes to make a wedding cake. If you’ve ever thought you’d love to have a go but didn’t know where to start, here’s some inspiration for you…
Kristen has been creating and cooking ever since she was a young girl in Tennessee. In college, she was a pre-studio art major and a pre-dietetic major before deciding to combine her two loves of art and food and go to culinary school. A few years later, she graduated as Valedictorian of her culinary class at Utah Valley University.
Have you always been creative?
Yes, I’ve been creating for as long as I can remember! Many of my memories of my early childhood are of making things out of cardboard boxes, building with wood scraps, and teaching myself how to sew. I’ve always loved making pretty much anything.
I’m sure you can guess that art was always one of my favorite classes in school. There were certainly other classes I enjoyed, but I always made sure to take at least one art class at school every single year.
Where did your love of baking come from?
Probably from my love of eating, ha ha! My whole family has always thoroughly enjoyed good food, so I’m sure that’s where it all started. Good food– especially desserts– was always something exciting in our house, even when it was something simple.
My mom had a couple of cake decorating magazines (now that I think about it, I’m not really sure why because I’ve never known her to decorate a cake, ha ha) that I came across as a kid and I would try to make some of the cake designs in them. Then, when I was older, I discovered the Food Network and for the first time I really saw how food could be art—naturally I was hooked because those were my two favorite things!
What’s your favourite thing that you’ve made?
Hmm, that’s a tough question… I really don’t think I could choose one (or five or ten) favourites. I think the most fun things to make are the ones where I’m making it with a specific person in mind, but where I still more or less get creative control. Does that make sense? Like when someone hands me a picture and says I want this exact cake, that’s not particularly exciting. But if someone shows me a few pictures and says, “These are the types of cakes I’m drawn to—use them for inspiration to do whatever you think will work.” THAT is fun!
I do like making all sorts of foods other than cake, too, of course! But even with those, I think it’s more fun when there’s a particular person I have in mind while I’m making it.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Oh goodness, all over! Pinterest is great for brain storming, of course. And it’s always fun to find ways to incorporate other forms of art that I enjoy into baking (ie: painting on a cake or sculpting modeling chocolate).
And of course, I draw inspiration from whomever I’m baking for!
How do you find the time to be creative? Do you have set days that is “your time”?
That is an ongoing struggle, to be honest. I have two kids at home that I home school, so as you can imagine, extra time – much less alone time — is in very short supply most days. If I do manage to get a craft project going, I usually work on it a little every night after the kids are in bed.
I don’t do a lot of creative baking just for fun anymore – we always seem to have too many sweets in the house already, ha ha. But I do some fun baking here and there throughout the year for birthdays and holidays.
Oh, speaking of holidays—I suppose the one time of year that is set aside as “my time” to create is Halloween! So far I’ve always gotten to make really fun and detailed costumes for my oldest daughter (my youngest just always wants to be Elsa and doesn’t really care about crafting the perfect costume, so she just gets to buy a new Elsa dress each year).
Starting my blog has actually helped me with having “creative time.” It’s not the same as my usual crafting (although it does help me do more of that so I can create tutorials), but writing posts, taking pictures, and putting it all together has been surprisingly creatively satisfying. And I can squeeze it in to my schedule a little easier than crafting. I can’t work on a painting while I’m at my daughters’ many extracurricular classes, I can bring my laptop and work on my blog (I’m actually answering these questions while at my youngest’s gymnastics class right now)!
What advice would you give to someone wanted to explore their creative side?
Do it already! There are SO MANY WAYS to be creative! Take a class or an online course (many are free!) or check out a book from the library or find a tutorial on pinterest. Just go for it.
I think many people don’t think they can be creative because they aren’t “artsy,” but you don’t have to paint or draw or sculpt clay to be creative. You can knit or quilt or write or act or cook or even just paint your nails a new way!
You can’t fail at being creative. In my opinion, as long as you’re having fun with it, it really doesn’t matter if your results are less than stellar. You’re still getting the benefits of creating, and honestly even the best artistic people make duds sometimes. Just enjoy yourself.
Do you have a favourite cook book/ Chef/ Baker?
I don’t really have any favourites, to be honest. But to be fair, I’ve been out of the professional culinary world for quite some time now.
One of my teachers from culinary school (Chef Aldalberto Diaz, owner of Fillings & Emulsions Bakery in Salt Lake City, UT) has been on several Food Network championship shows in the last few years, so naturally I’m always rooting for him to win.
Is there anything that you’d like to have a go at that you haven’t tried yet?
I can’t think of any particular culinary technique that I haven’t tried yet that’s been on my mind. I suppose I’ve always wanted to use a blast chiller, but that’s more because I’m impatient, ha ha! This doesn’t have to do with food, but a creative endeavor I’ve always wanted to pursue is photography.
Kristen is now a military spouse and is currently stationed in Hawaii where she’s raising two wonderful kids and is an involved member of several local home school communities. She also runs her blog, www.makingwithmegan.com, where she shares recipes, DIY tutorials, and home & family tips.
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