Annabel de Vetten trained as a taxidermist and sculptor, but worked as a fine art painter before establishing her wonder-kitchen of grizzly cake and chocolate creations. Since then, she’s made S&M wedding cakes, an edible version of the Terracotta Army and recreated that Bilquis scene from American Gods in cake form for the PR launch of its DVD. We caught up with her to find out how it all started and discovered some of her most freakish edible eats.
“My browser search history could make me seem like a psychopath!”At Uni I spent time casting and moulding, stitching latex together like skin (now marzipan and fondant), and working with resin (now sugar), but it didn’t occur to me that my 3D art background could be helpful in the field of edibles. The subject matter and techniques are similar – I’m even still working with wires and armatures – only now everything has to be edible and hygienic
Like many cake decorators, I got into the trade by accident. I made the cake for my wedding and it transpired that I not only enjoyed the edible medium, but I had a knack for it. After a couple of years, I had to make a choice between my day job and edible art. I chose the latter.
I once created an S&M wedding cake. It was quite early on in my career and I hadn’t really been too challenged before. The couple wanted it to reflect their ‘interests’, as well as making it stylish and beautiful.
The subject matter had to be executed in such a way that the couple’s families wouldn’t find it crass or crude. So what I came up with seemed the ideal combination. The research was rather interesting, as was the delivery: I had never, or have since, been asked to store a cake in a couple’s ‘home dungeon’ before…
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Edbile PR work is a big part of my job. I usually get given a very specific brief and take it from there. More often than not I have to do the same piece several times, so that they can be given to the media. This obviously reflects on the time I can spend on each piece because, with food, there’s only so far you can start in advance. It’s usually a mad dash a few days before the deadline.
I often sculpt a master first and make moulds from that so I can repeat elements or the whole piece – like the bread warriors or the recent chocolate and jelly alien embryos I created for the film launch of Alien Covenant.
Most of the time, work never stops. I think about it constantly. I guess that’s the difference between an artist and a straight up cake decorator who has a life outside of cakes! But I love it. And I really love that I can make a living in the creative field, and enjoy the jobs I get and the people I meet because of them.
I never imagined I’d be making caking for the Funeral Industry Award ceremony, for instance. My work is never boring.
I often get freaked out by the edibles I make! Sometimes I walk into the kitchen in the morning, forgetting that there ares edible body-parts or other weird stuff on the work bench.
That freaks me out. Or when it looks hyper realistic. I have just made some edible human lungs, presented on a chopping board alongside some vegetables; they looked so meaty and real, it was quite disturbing.
But it makes me laugh when I get freaked out. At least I’m not desensitised. Well, maybe a little bit. You don’t even want to know where I get my inspiration from and the research I do for some of the more gruesome pieces. My browser search history, when taken out of context, could make me seem like a psychopath!
Click on an image below to get close up to Annabel’s work.
About Annabel de Vetten (aka Annabel Lecter)
Annabel is an edible art extraordinaire and the culinary wizard behind Conjurer’s Kitchen. People are often lost for words when they see her creations (just check out her twitter feed) or else they pipe “That’s EDIBLE?!”. Indeed it is, and they eat every single piece, down to the last bite! View more of her work or order your own bespoke alternative wedding cake or edible art favours at conjurerskitchen.com