3D Cake Creations
Our Food & Space design correspondent Jashan Sippy reached out all the way from India to Russia to interview the architect who turned to pastry craft, Marie Troitskaia. Using the skills she learnt during her architecture education, Marie creates detailed illustrations of cakes before realising them in an edible form. Using 3D printing, AutoCad and other tools more frequently used in architecture than in patisserie, she has found a cross over niche to express her creativity in a unique way.
Paris – July 2020
Which culinary techniques and design tools are interchangeable? How do you apply these to your body of work?
Knowledge of composition, styles, color schemes, architectural programs, architectural constructions and mathematics helped me in creating future desserts. I draw a lot of sketches of future desserts. I have many notebooks in which I also write down plans for the day. Sometimes I can wake up at night if I had a cool idea to draw or write, so paper and pencils are always next to the bed. The image of the future cake is the basis of success. During the day, I also use architectural computer programs (ArchiCAD or Photoshop) to draw a section of the dessert or make drawings with dimensions. My clients appreciate me for clear and beautiful sketches of future cakes, so it is easier for them to present the real result. Featured below: an illustration by Marie Troitskaia of a cake based on the “Elbphilharmonie”.
What makes you use architecture and building references in your pastry work?
Now you need to be able to surprise. Create what others cannot do. My drawing and spatial thinking skills help me develop my own style. I travel very often, and every time I study architecture while traveling. I have prepared in advance a list of the necessary architectural masterpieces and interesting buildings. My inspiration always comes when visiting architecture. After all, it can be understood only by being inside. Textures, colors and light are my sources of inspiration. I love to touch the materials to feel the texture. Often after visiting new interiors, I create chocolate decor or new coatings for cakes.
I am always impressed with architectural constructions. Sometimes I look at the incredible cantilever for more than twenty meters and think how to create a similar cake and how to strengthen the structure…
"I am inspired by Peter Zumthor, Frank Gehry and Snøhetta."
Name a few other people who do work similar to you or agencies whose work you look up to and why?
Now I do not follow other confectioners. It seems to me that if you are inspired by art and do not look at what colleagues are doing, then the brain will give more unique and interesting ideas and fantasies. I follow new technologies in architecture, I constantly go to museums, look at catalogs with paintings, travel, pay attention to details. I am inspired by Peter Zumtor (if I choose from modern architects), Frank Gehry and Snøhetta.
What role might people like you play in society, politics, culture and sustainability?
It seems to me that the more popularity a pastry chef has, the more responsible he should be. I like to be open and share my knowledge with people. A recipe is just black letters on white paper; you give numbers and symbols, but not your skills. In today’s world, you need to be generous and give, without demanding in return. Knowing that now we, the pastry chefs, have a great influence, we must not forget about this.
At the moment, I use my architecture skills to create desserts, but I’m sure that after a while I will be able to create some kind of synthesis of arts for future creativity. It is also very important to respond to the needs of society. It is necessary to make our work as environmentally friendly as possible by reducing the use of plastic, artificial colors, additives, and sugar.
How does your work perhaps deal with more urgent global questions?
I care about ecology and smart consumption. The problem that really excites me is the high consumption of plastic and the wastefulness: throwing of products in the kitchens. Unfortunately, a lot of processes in the confectionery world use film. Now I try to minimize the use of film and plastic and choose reusable equipment.
Pastry chefs often throw pieces of cakes, the leftovers of creams, ugly buns, wanting to display the most beautiful pastries on the showcase. Maybe this is part of Soviet education and psychology, but I always take care of everything and try to use it in other pastry products without throwing out products. For example, mirror glaze can be frozen and stored for up to 1.5 months in a freezer. Biscuit leftovers can be used in candies and trifles.
How does your architectural patisserie perhaps connect to a bigger topic?
Being a woman and at the same time an architect and a pastry chef, I am concerned about the topic of feminism in such “male” professions that I have chosen. Even in 2020, there are still few famous female chefs! There is still a stereotype that men cook better, and that chef and pastry chef are male professions. In the restaurants I worked at I was often the only girl in the team. I agree that being a pastry chef in a restaurant is physically difficult work. When I worked as an employee, I endured uncomfortable conditions, sexist jokes, screaming, and insults. Therefore, many women do not want to work in a real kitchen, creating personal ateliers and their own cakes without rush and pressure. When I was just starting to make desserts, some members of my family did not support my choice of profession: it is difficult for a woman. After 8 years in Russia, pastry chefs are mostly women! Talented, successful, famous. I am proud that this profession is represented in Russia as a female. I would love to be part of a changing world! In a confectionery in Moscow, where I worked for two years as a brand chef, my team consisted of five girls. I tried to create the most comfortable attractive atmosphere. In the future, when I create my own pastry shop, I would like to make safe and comfortable conditions for my employees without aggressions and pressure. I want to see talented people with passion in my kitchen!
This interview was conducted by Jashan Sippy our Food & Space correspondent.