[Photos: Sam Horine]
What happens when you put hipsters and molded Jell-O sculptures in a non-airconditioned Brooklyn warehouse space on one of the hottest days so far this summer? You get sweaty hipsters and melted Jell-O. Throw in Jell-O shots and $3 cans of PBR, and you get drunk, sweaty hipsters. Eating Jell-O and celebrating its jiggly ways. With Food Party's Thu Tran as host and MC! This was the scene at the 2nd annual Jell-O Mold Competition at the Gowanus Studio Space in Brooklyn on Saturday.
· The standout work, in our eyes, was "Traditional American Sweets" by professional pastry chefs Andrea Lekberg (previously at Sweet Melissa's in Brooklyn) and Erica Leahy (previously of Craftsteak). They run the bakery The Artist Baker in Morristown, New Jersey. Some might call them ringers! Unfair because they're pros meddling in an amateur competition! But their re-envisioning of American classics like apple pie and red velvet cakes into Jell-O form were truly imaginative and technically innovative, fusing dairy (cream cheese, flavor-infused half-and-half) and Jell-O together. Also: tasty. They won "Runner-Up for Culinary Appeal/Edibility."
· The grand prize winner was Shelly Sabel and her "Aspic Ascension--Tastes Like Heaven," a classic tomato aspic remade as a boozy Bloody Mary, cast in a mold of an effigy of The Madonna. Sabel previously competed in last year's event and won a runner-up prize.
· MEAT JELLO! Ben Light, Dave Gould, and Ben Walmer won the "Special Jury's Meat Lover's Honorable Mention" for their piece "The Trophy Room." Gould was recently a chef at Michael Psilakis' New York City restaurant Anthos. Their entry was two mounted animal heads (a boar, a bull), made using beef consomme and pork consomme, respectively.
· Other notable works included Peter Pracilio's pill-shaped "Healthcare Re-Form" (won "Runner-up for Aesthetics"); Julia Greene, Melissa Zook, and Kenzan Tsutakawa-Chinn's light-box glowing "Louie Comfort's Jiggly Bits" (won "People's Choice"); and the Jell-O sushi, Lego, and a distressing approximation of the Gulf oil spill (relevancy!).
· Ultimately, the non-airconditioned space took its toll: An hour into the competition, some Jell-O structures started liquifying, losing their form. Who knew Jell-O can't stay solid in a room that's 100 degrees? The Tiffany lamp had the extra bonus of having a lightbulb underneath, and promptly (and sadly) oozed all over the place. Even the Jell-O shots liquified, becoming sugar flavored liquid shots. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, mind you.