Have you ever experienced an inner struggle with disgust before eating your dessert? What taste can desserts have which look like dead animals or different parts of the body? Most likely, you will experience conflicting double feelings, ordering a dessert from Katherine Dey. The secret of her success is in the love of her work, her art, hyperrealistic and thought out images and her own style.
Leslava: Hello. How are you? Tell me about yourself. In what field do you have your diploma, what is your work and how did you get into cooking?
I started off in the arts. I went to the Rhode Island School of Design and studied Illustration and Sculpture. When I graduated I went to Texas to work for Hanson Robotics making humanoid robots. But the economy was tough at the time so I went back to school for nursing at Nazareth College and became a Registered Nurse. I spent a few years working in the hospital and in a dialysis clinic. I missed making things with my hands and so I started making special cakes. I always loved making things in the kitchen so sculpting cakes was pretty much a combination of everything I loved the most. I made them for my family and friends. Now I have stopped nursing to focus on starting a dessert shop, Deviant Desserts. I do that with my husband, Mark.
Leslava: How are the ideas on the recipe and appearance of horror and gore desserts created? Definitely, one of the ways are movies. I remember the realistic cake of Madame Marie Delphine LaLaurie from the American Horror History.
I get inspiration from a lot of places. I am drawn to the human body, inside and out. I love anatomy and portraiture. I love the grotesque. I have a strong stomach. I think that helped make me a good nurse too. I want to bring out strong emotions in people. I am not completely limited to this style of work though. We do all sorts of cute or elegant cakes as well.
Leslava: Which of your desserts would you recommend to try first?
Valentine’s Day is coming up so I would suggest the anatomically correct red velvet heart cake with chocolate buttercream.
Leslava: Which dessert causes more fear, disgust?
It depends a bit on the crowd. I made a tick cake with mixed berry filling that bled when you cut into it for some friends of mine who go mushrooming a lot. Mushroomers are always scared of getting Lyme disease in the woods. They still ate it though.
Leslava: Probably an unusual question for a horror confectioner, but what was your most strange order?
We are doing strange things on a daily basis which I enjoy. So it is all starting to look normal.
Leslava: Are there trends for horror desserts? 2017 is clearly remembered by several films about clowns-killers.
There have been killer clowns, zombies, severed heads. People are always asking me for babies or anatomically correct organs. Making sculptural cakes in itself has been become a trend and I am inspired by all of my peers in the dessert world. Whatever I make has to taste good and visually come alive so there is always something new to learn. New products to test.
Leslava: As far as I remember from the page on Facebook, your desserts took part in the TV show. Tell me about this experience.
I was on the Harry Connick Jr. show the past two years for Halloween. It was a great experience both times. I made a few cakes including a pumpkin spice portrait of Harry. He cut off his ear and had a bite. The year before he bit the nose right off the cake. That was unexpected.
Leslava: How do you see your business in the future?
Deviant Desserts is moving to a renovated railroad boxcar in Victor, NY. We are working really hard to have our grand opening next month. The shop will be open every Saturday but otherwise taking online orders and doing custom work. I am very excited.
Leslava: Tell us a little about your hobbies, what do you like to do besides cooking?
Besides work I have my family. I am married with two kids who are 6 and 2 years old. I love to hang out with them. I am also a distance runner. I am usually on a training plan for some race.
Leslava: Do you have any idea that you cannot implement, but really want?
I have always wanted to make an anatomical cake that has fillings and layers to match what is actually there. We have been able to do this for a few cakes like our cockroach cake with Boston cream filling or our tick cake with mixed berry filling. I want to continue to work on developing that aspect of my cakes.
Leslava: What are your favorite horror films and what are you afraid of?
When I was a little kid my mom had me watch ‘‘The Exorcist’’. She told me it really happened. A was pretty horrified for about a year after that. I have strong stomach for most things. As an adult I am afraid of negative infection control outcomes. But I have good work practices because of it so that is probably a healthy fear.