Patti Paige, founder of Baked Ideas (New York City), is one of the undiscussed queens of decorated cookies and artistic bakery.
Her creations have been featured in many leading publications such as New York Times, Martha Stewart Weddings, Brides magazine and more.
Her clients portfolio includes The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Tiffany and Co. and Martha Stewart Living among others.
She has just published her first book, You Can’t Judge a Cookie by its Cutter, a funny and incredibly helpful cookie decorating guide.
Would you like to know something more about this creative woman and her fabulous edible works of art?
Here’s our portrait/interview.
– What’s the story behind Baked Ideas?
While I was at grad school in NYC getting a masters degree in painting, I started baking cookies (inspired by my grandmother) to make some extra cash. Because I like to make things, I began playing around with the dough and made elaborate gingerbread buildings which got a lot of attention in the media. That lead to sculpted cakes and then, decorated cookies!
Baked Ideas was born, and in a few years, became a full time endeavor.
– What’s the best food related memory of your childhood?
When I was eight years old my mother, who never liked baking or cooking, surprised me, upon my return home from summer camp, with a panda shaped cake! The white parts of the bear were coated with shredded coconut, which I love, and dark areas were fluffy chocolate icing.
I even remember exactly where the cake was displayed on the kitchen counter when I first saw it.
– What baking and decorating mean to you?
What I love about baking is starting with a bunch of ingredients which become totally transformed into something that looks so different in the end. Baking has a lot to do with precision. Decorating, however, is more about experimenting and being open to changing your plan along the way. I like the adventure of it, as I really like to decide as I go. It’s fun and exciting to be open to unexpected results.
– Where do you find the inspiration for your nice creations?
I am always looking around at signs and symbols and colors and textures. I get ideas from fashion, vintage picture dictionaries, popular culture, and even from trips to the hardware store! One idea often leads to another. I have a million ideas… Just need time!
– What’s your favorite food related quote?
A cookie a day keeps the doctor away.
– In your first book, You Can’t Judge a Cookie by Its Cutter, you give precious tips to all the aspiring cookie decorators.
What was the best tip you have ever been given?
This is very specific, but when I first started making decorated cookies there was not a lot of helpful information readily available. I used to cover the big bowl of icing with plastic wrap which worked ok, but eventually the icing would dry out. A girl from Italy came to work for me and she told me to cover the bowl with a damp towel. Best tip ever and so easy!
– What’s your ideal playlist for baking?
I usually listen to public radio (NPR) while I work. I like the variety of talk shows and interviews.
– What’s your mantra?
It’s only a cookie.
– Do you have some future projects you want to share with Style Behind’s readers?
I’m experimenting with more vegan recipes and plant based food colors. I can’t wait to share this info with everyone.
Cover ph, Jennifer Causey for Baked Ideas
Title handwriting and illustrations, Sara Ottavia Carolei
Gallery ph courtesy, Patti Paige
(Click on the images to open the gallery)