United States Chef
Krystina Castella Chef Profile
Industrial Design meets the Kitchen
I like to create books and products that inspire play. My most recent
cookbook Pops! Icy treats for Everyone (Quirk Books)(icypops.com) has been a dream project for me. After the success of my book Crazy About Cupcakes (Sterling Publishing) (crazyaboutcupcakes.com) I decided that I wanted to upscale another kids’ food for adults to enjoy. My obsession with pops goes way back to when I was a kid but it also perfectly meshes my experience as an industrial designer and knowledge of food and mold making to create fun and tasty pops. The transparency and texture of ice is also a fantastic material to experiment with. I consider two features when making pops: the recipe and the shape. Sometimes I think healthy, others fancy and indulgent. Many of my pops are inspired by flavors, forms, patterns and rituals from around the globe.
So how does an industrial designer like me get into writing cookbooks? I have always loved playing with materials. I usually start designing products with a box of materials instead of a sketchpad and paper. I built an industrial design company that launched and internationally distributed more than seventy-five new products including furniture, toys, clothing, stationery, housewares and soft goods. Once I learn about manufacturing in one material I move on to learn about the next.
I approach cooking and baking and develop new recipes and design food in the same way. I particularly love the creative opportunities that cupcakes provide because they are quick and I can make a batch of 24 and make each one different. One year I made thousands of them and sent photos off in a book proposal and was able to land a book deal and my cookbook author career was launched. I love creating books because the pages can be filled with so many concepts and ideas. When making products I usually have to edit all of these concepts down to one or two to make because of manufacturing costs.
I am also an avid backpacker and nature person and my husband Brian Boyl and I spend 10 weeks a year off the grid in the woods. Together we created a children’s book Discovering Nature’s Alphabet (Heyday Books 2006) and site discoveringnaturesalphabet.com that depicts alphabet letters in nature. This project, which started out purely as a game between the two of us, has evolved into a museum exhibit traveling worldwide inspiring others to explore nature.
For the past sixteen years I have worked as a professor at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena California. My focus in teaching is on materials explorations and design entrepreneurship. I love working with students to bring their ideas to market. I founded an organization for professionals titled the Design Entrepreneur Network and have a consulting business helping other people bring their ideas to market. (krystinacastella.com) . I am pretty busy but I always make sure to block out enough time to play and experiment on my own creative projects.
Awards, Honors and Societies
GREAT TEACHER AWARD ACCD
LEADER IN DESIGN EDUCATION ACCD
EDISON AWARD FOR INVENTION RISD
IDSA MERIT AWARD
SIGGRAPH PANEL AWARD
CALIFORNIA READERS BOOK AWARD
URBAN OUTHOUSE COMPETITION
CODA DESIGN COMPETITION
NY NEWSSTAND COMPETITION
WHITING & DAVIS MATERIALS COMPETITION
Design and Business Advising for Entrepreneurs