Artist-Pastry Chef from Turkmenistan. World’s Best EdibleArtist 2022
What inspired you to pursue pastry art and create signature cakes?
Since childhood, I have had a great passion for drawing. At the age of 10, I enrolled in an art school in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. I was a bit young for art school, as the admission age was 12, but they made an exception for me due to my talent. The teachers immediately recognized my artistic abilities, and there I spent my afternoons learning to draw.
Simultaneously, my interest in another direction started to grow – in the world of sweets. From an early age, I loved eating meringue, plain protein cream, and that’s where it all began. Initially, I wondered how it was made. I pondered over it, searched for recipes – back then, there were still books, and I studied them. I began learning to make meringue, sponge cakes, and éclairs. Of course, I ruined the products many times but learned through trial and error.
It happened that pastry art initially became a hobby for me. I had both baking and art. I completed the art school, then the art college named after Shota Rustaveli, and later enrolled in the Institute of Culture for the design faculty (interior and equipment design). At the same time, back at home, I started baking custom cakes. That’s how it turned out – pastry art merged with creativity.
I always loved making unique cakes, adding my elements to ensure clients were pleased. The key was for them to be satisfied with the combination of colors, details, etc., and undoubtedly, my artistic education played a significant role in that.
How do you choose the concept for each cake, and do you have any special sources of inspiration?
It depends on the customer, firstly. I choose the design based on the type of cake it will be. Sometimes I have to brainstorm about colors and shades. For example, wedding cakes are often delicate and white, but it naturally depends on the customer’s preferences.
Sometimes I create foam models for Instagram. They are identical to the cakes, like two peas in a pod. And for this, I have a completely different source of inspiration. I love my homeland, Turkmenistan. We have a rich history, vibrant colors; everything is expressive and historically saturated. Ethnic themes are my passion. I love incorporating ethnic motifs into cakes.
So, my sources of inspiration are always diverse, depending on the cake I’m making and for whom.
What is the most unusual or challenging order you have ever fulfilled?
It was the celebration of the 17th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s independence. I made a 17-meter-long cake for that occasion. That was really challenging. Of course, the decoration had to be entirely Turkmen: national ornaments, traditional dishes, and everything had to be edible at the same time. It was very difficult, but I made it very beautifully, and everyone was satisfied. I think it was one of the most complex cakes I baked for Independence Day – a 17-meter cake.
Which of your cakes has elicited the greatest response or admiration from a customer or audience?
The first cake that received an incredible response was a cake with the portrait of Khabib Nurmagomedov. I made it for myself and, of course, posted it on Instagram, where the audience and followers shared their emotions. Everyone was thrilled. The base was a cake, and I sculpted the portrait from chocolate and fondant.
The second cake was a national cake. I often make cakes with our national theme, featuring historical motifs, etc., and they are always liked by both me and the customers. I always study how our artists and jewelers created their works in the past, and I take ideas and designs from there. By the way, this is one of the most requested concepts.
Do you have a favorite flavor or combination of ingredients that you prefer to use in your cakes?
In my assortment, there’s a standard Charlotte cake. This recipe has been in fashion for about 20 years, and it’s based on bird’s milk. It’s my unique recipe, from the composition to all the details. Of course, I have other varieties, but the best one is, as they say, the classic Charlotte. Certainly, we also offer popular fillings, such as Red Velvet with various types of creams and toppings, and much more. But the classic remains a classic.
What role does color play in your designs, and how do you choose the color palette for each cake?
It all depends on whether I am making the cake for a customer or for a concept I am developing for myself and social media. Sometimes, I even create sketches at home at night. I like working at night when no one is distracting, and by morning, the idea is ready. For each cake, I use a separate palette, my unique tones. Thanks to my profession, I can play very well with color, combinations, shades, etc.
How did the world competition influence your art and approach to cake making?
The world competition took place, I believe, in the 22nd year. I was chosen online via the internet, through Instagram. The organizers really liked my national cake featuring a Turkmen woman with a jug and poppies, and this cake brought me global recognition. In the final, there were the most famous pastry artists in the world, only 8 people in total. It was a big surprise for me. In early January, after the New Year holidays, I received a letter informing me that I won the world competition. It was very unexpected. So, I became a winner, and I was awarded the title of «Edible Artist of the Year 22». I have a diploma, certificate, and trophy in my profile.
Do you have any secret ingredients or methods that give your cakes a special taste and texture?
Well, of course, every pastry chef has their secrets, that goes without saying. I have a lot of diverse textures, especially when working with fondant and chocolate. Certainly, we use ready-made forms (molds), but in most cases, I prefer to create everything by hand because there is a special uniqueness in that. If we buy molds somewhere else, the cakes may end up looking similar to the works of other pastry chefs, and I do not accept such an approach. It’s important to me that my cakes have my unique style. Perhaps that’s why they turn out beautiful and unique.
Allow me to reveal a small secret: in the near future, I plan to start global masterclasses. Most likely, we will launch this project in the summer.
What would you like to achieve with your cakes?
Firstly, I would like to continue surprising with my cakes. Because my cakes, my decorations, are unconventional. I have my own handwriting, my style that is evolving, so let’s hope that we will continue to improve both designs and techniques. And, of course, I would like more attention to be paid to my work. It’s even becoming pleasant for myself. I would like my works to be liked worldwide. That would be really cool, and probably, it’s the dream of every person.
What does the term «pastry artist» mean to you?
Before I started combining artistic and pastry arts, it seemed to me that there was a very large distance between them. As if they were different worlds: one – the world of an artist painting with oil paints in a studio, and the other – the kitchen, where cakes are neatly prepared, eggs are beaten, and so on. I liked both aspects, both sparked interest. I thought for a long time about how to combine them.
That’s how the idea of creating something unified came about – an artist-pastry chef. Now I draw and relax, and get inspired. It’s like playing with paints. I love drawing and baking. That’s how this line – artist-pastry chef – was born.