Do you ever stumble upon a chef or baker doing something inventive and offbeat and so visually stunning that it stops you mid-Instagram scroll and prompts you to wonder, how did they think to do that? How did they figure out the process? Oh, and also, how the hell are they making a living off it? Us too. Whether it’s tarts that look like Mondrian paintings, cookies topped with pressed flowers, or ice cubes unique enough to pique the interest of the New York Times, social media is filled with artistic foodies handcrafting their careers before our eyes. And while, like so many influencers, they make it look easy, the reality of building an artist-driven business in a competitive field like food is anything but.
, the brilliant mind behind Disco Cubes, is a true multi-hyphenate. When she’s not crafting custom ice cubes for the hip Silver Lake restaurant Botanica and for events thrown by clients like The Coveteur, Girlboss, and Martha Stewart, she’s also a DJ, filmmaker, and photographer. She already had a thriving career spinning records, when, she tells Refinery29 via email, “I made an amazingly beautiful ice cube on accident.”
“I put a blackberry and a rosemary sprig in a large cube tray and poured boiling water into it. It resulted in a half clear, half purple cube that was unlike anything I had ever seen,” she recalls. “Then I decided it was time to become an ice cube scientist.”
These days, Kirchoff says, she’s barely able to keep up with the demand for the cubes, which come as either traditional squares filled with herbs, pepper, and edible flowers, or in more complex, customized varieties that can cost over $14 per cube, and are typically sold to companies or private clients for parties and events.
“Los Angeles has so many events each day that I’ve been running at full capacity and I’m already starting to scale up production,” she explains, adding that her aforementioned write-up in the Times, titled “She Makes Fancy Ice Cubes For A Living,” has unsurprisingly been “quite helpful in getting the word out.”
And while she’s still pursuing her other careers, Kirchhoff seems to be leaning into her newfound position as ice queen of L.A. She’s currently working on launching an online shop that will sell vintage ice buckets and glassware, and says she’s also been “working on recipes, playlists, and content both for Disco Cubes itself and for other brands.” The great thing about one buzzy side hustle is that it often leads to others.
Such is the case for Linda Miller Nicholson, a self-proclaimed “pasta ninja” who crafts noodles so vibrant that you have to see them to believe them — and you can, naturally, via her Instagram and YouTube accounts, both called Salty Seattle, which currently have 151k and 15k followers, respectively. While Nicholson tells Refinery29 she’s been making pasta since she was four years old, it wasn’t until she became a mother to a very picky young eater around the same age that she began experimenting with color. And while her creations may look otherworldly, they actually obtain their hues thanks to all-natural ingredients like spirulina, beets, peas, carrots, and spinach.
While Miller Nicholson receives regular requests from people hoping to purchase her creations, she only does occasional custom orders — mostly because the pasta-making is so time-consuming. That said, she’s previously created stuff like custom emoji lasagna, and writes on her website: “I’m dying to make a lasagna with a custom lasagna topper that says ‘Will You Marry Me?’ If you’d like to be the recipient of such a thing, let’s talk!” We, by the way, are in full support of a pasta proposal.
Instead of selling her pasta, Miller Nicholson teaches private workshops and says she’s considering selling certain pasta-making tools she’s crafted herself over the years. She also regularly films pasta-making videos for The Food Network’s social media channels and will publish her first book on the art of pasta-making later this year, all of which enable her to build a life around doing what she loves.
SOURCE : Refinery29