Creating Art with Jelly

The Jellyologist uses architectural moulds to recreate the retro dessert

Jessica Mentis, The Jellyologist. Picture / Babiche Martens.

New Zealand now has its own Bompas and Parr, the UK food artists who famously bring an architectural approach to jelly. Jessica Mentis (pictured) is The Jellyologist, using her architectural background to recreate the retro dessert.

“I enjoy using those skills in different disciplines, and being able to work at the intersection of art, architecture, theatre design and the emerging field of food design,” the freelance designer says.

With no interest in working as an architect after finishing her Masters, Mentis headed to New York and London, where she worked in off-Broadway set production and as a graphic designer. A brief for Pernod Ricard introduced her to the work of Bompas and Parr and sparked her interest in experimental food design. On her return to New Zealand she set up Mentis Studios to fuse her passions for architecture and food.

Jelly is an initial focus. She has been making the desserts to order (she made a jelly tower for Trelise Cooper’s birthday), and is mid-way through the 100 Days Project, creating and sharing a different jelly every day on Instagram. Each creation is made with a custom 3D printed mould, and recipes are often based on cocktails — she’s made espresso martini, rosemary vodka and tequila sunrise-flavoured jellies. “Anything you can juice, mull or drink, you can jelly,” she says, adding that she eventually hopes to open a pop-up jelly bar.

“I don’t know how big jelly can be. It’s not like cupcakes where everyone loves it. If there’s a market for it I’ll make jelly!”

• See or @thejellyologist on Instagram.

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New Zealand Herald

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