Photo courtesy of Erin Kestenbaum
Food artist Jessica Siskin requires just three ingredients before getting to work: Rice Krispies, marshmallows, and butter. Yes, Jessica’s specialty is masterfully molding Rice Krispies Treats, but these are far from your average after-school snack. She has taken the childhood favorite up a few notches to create edible works of art, and developed it into her business, Misterkrisp.
The company was born a little over a year ago in Jessica’s New York kitchen. Since then, she’s been exploring the Rice Krispies possibilities all the while growing a loyal following on Instagram where 15,000 followers delight in her work. A quick scroll through Misterkrisp’s photo page reveals everything from classic New York bagels to emojis to a bowl of ramen–all made out of Rice Krispies Treats. It’s fair to say that Jessica’s creativity is limitless, especially since many of her krisps, as she calls them, are customer requests.
We recently spoke with Jessica to learn more about the architecture of Rice Krispies Treats and the daily rewards of providing New Yorkers with food art.
The original Misterkrisp
Before you started your business, you worked in the fashion industry. What was it like to be part of this major New York industry?
I worked at Elizabeth and James for seven years. I managed their department store sales, and I loved working in this really vibrant industry in New York. It’s really small so everybody knows each other, and it’s a really great industry to work in. But I knew instead of selling someone else’s creativity, I wanted to work more on my own creativity.
What inspired you to start Misterkrisp?
I was going to a potluck dinner with a friend, and we are not cooks. She said, “Why don’t we make one of your Rice Krispies Treats.” The person hosting the potluck was a surfer, so my friend suggested, “Let’s make a surfboard and put a Barbie doll on top as a surfer. It will be cute.” When I discovered that I could put food coloring into the Rice Krispies Treats mixture, my immediate impulse was to make a cheeseburger. I don’t know why, but I ran home the next day and I made it. I posted it on Instagram and the response was significant. I started to realize that there were a lot of things I could do with Rice Krispies Treats.
I kept experimenting, and a year later I realized I could make an Instagram account just for the treats. The cool thing about this kind of business is that it really couldn’t have existed four years ago. It all depended on Instagram; I consider it to be my catalog.
Jessica with her creations
What do you think makes Rice Krispies Treats special?
People have nostalgia for them from their childhood. They always remember how easy it was to make them and how great they taste. For me, what makes them great is that they’re super easy to mold. They have a really cool texture, and I really like working with them.
Do you remember making them as a kid?
I definitely had them when I was younger, but my best friend actually taught me how to make them three or four years ago. It became my specialty.
Where do you find inspiration for the krisps?
Everywhere. I’m constantly inspired by everything I do, see, eat, and definitely pop culture. Emojis are huge for me. For the most part, I’m really inspired by my customers.
Do you make sketches before building the treats?
No, I just see it in my mind’s eye.
Beyond Rice Krispies, what other foods do you use?
I’m very ingenious with the way I use different foods. I use a lot of candy such as rainbow Twizzlers and M&M’s. I walk into the candy store and am always inspired by different candy that I see. I get ideas for krisps just looking at the candy.
What have you learned about designing and building with Rice Krispies?
I use different methods for different structures. Certain cooking methods will make them harder and more stable for krisps that need to be taller. I can use more butter if I need them to be softer for a trim. But I’ve learned that I definitely need to work fast, and I’ve gotten a lot better at understanding the structure of the mixture and how to make it work for what I need to do.
To date, what is the most complicated krisp you’ve built?
I built a three-dimensional bottle of Jack Daniel’s for my best friend’s birthday. It had a whole internal structure of pretzel rods to hold it up. Anything 3D is a little more complex because you have to think about stability.
How many marshmallows do you have in your kitchen at any given time?
I have a crazy amount of Rice Krispies, marshmallows, and butter.
Some of last year’s Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day creations
Is there a krisp that you’re hoping to make?
For the most part, when I get an idea and I’m itching to do it, I can’t stop myself. I’ll just make it. Right now, I’m working on concepts for the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day.
Does being a food artist mean venturing out to try new things in the city?
All the time. I love to go to the Gotham West Market. It’s really great because you can try all different things, but still be in one place. It has that upscale food court vibe.
What does sharing the Rice Krispies magic with New Yorkers mean to you?
It’s so much fun. I get to meet a lot of people from around the city who I would normally never come into contact with. I love to hear their ideas and creativity. It’s also really interesting for me to observe trends. One week, out of nowhere, I’ll get three orders for sneakers, or one week I’ll be doing a ton of dogs. It gives me a sense of the psyche of the city and what’s happening.
[This interview has been edited]
All photos via Misterkrisp