The lovely Frances Quinn came in work yesterday, to talk the Great British Bake off and all the projects that she has been a part of since winning the prorgramme in 2013. I don’t know if you can remember Frances; she was a childrenswear designer at Joules who made the most beautifully designed cakes with incredible details. Critics labelled her edible creations as “style over substance” but this criticism was soon put aside as she went on to win.
I’m a huge foodie, so I really enjoyed hearing about the thought process behind some of the key bakes from the series. From a design point of view, what I found fascinating was how Frances doesn’t let herself be restricted by her chosen medium. Paintbrushes sit next to wooden spoons in her kitchen with each taking an equal role in the creative process to blur the line between art, design and food.
“Creativity is at the heart of everything I do. It is the raising agent in my cakes, it feeds the yeast in my dough and rolls out the ideas in my pastry. I often get asked what would you choose baking or design? But for me it’s never a choice and always a collaboration of the two”
Being a textile designer, I often find myself being frustrated by my chosen medium – my ideas have to be applied to fabric, which can be very restricting due to the limits of materials and manufacturing. It’s refreshing and inspiring to hear people like Frances talk about finding inspiration in anything and applying it to food. It’s one of the things I love about forecasting– looking at all areas of design, art, culture, society and the economy, and seeing how this knowledge can be then applied to products, whatever that product may be.
For Frances, like art, her cakes can evoke an emotion or a memory. The only restriction that Frances gives herself is that “everything will be an edible creation”. What that creation looks like and what it’s made of should constantly surprise the audience and test its creator.