Wiggle Over to Brooklyn for the Top Jell-O Chef Competition

What: Jell-O Mold Design Competition

When: Saturday, June 20th 6-1o p.m.

Where: Gowanus Studio Space, Brooklyn

Why: Who would have thought that Jell-O would be a pre-millennium icon worthy of a comeback? Roommates and Jell-O Mold co-organizers, Nadia Siddiqui and Michelle Zatta, were tired of seeing one of America’s most playful desserts relegated to the ends of buffet tables. They decided to elevate the economical dessert to a higher state of play after Gowanus Studio Space member Sara Martin found a Jell-O cookbook full of recipes.

“I like experimenting and building and thought this was a good combination of design and art,” said Siddiqui, the event’s co-organizer and competition director. There will be 25 competing contestants—some as individuals, three-person teams, or as part of a design collective. Once the contestants set up shop this Saturday evening, they welcome tourists and locals to come out and support their designs, and have a Jell-O shot or two.


Labor-intensive Jell-O reminds Zatta of her own mother’s attempt at Jell-O design. “Every 4th of July she’d use seven boxes of Jell-O and add sour cream as a layer. It turned out to have a transparent and opaque quality that is really amazing. I wanted to move away from childhood nostalgic Jell-O and look at it as a food and a medium,” who is also the event’s design developer.

Therefore, contestants will aim to please not just the palate but also the eyes of a panel of five judges from a variety of disciplines—conceptual designers Jason Miller and Tobias Wong, Jennifer Appel of Buttercup Bake Shop, and Thu Tran of Food Party. Each freestanding mold will be evaluated based upon creativity, aesthetics, edibility, and sculptural integrity. The hard work of the winner and runner-up will garner cash prizes and the Jell-O Design Mold title.

Although the pair couldn’t tell us what kind of molds to expect, they did let us in on one contestant’s request: a power chord. One thing is sure, new ground and molds will be set Saturday night. For the contestant’s sake, we hope it wiggles all around.

Cost: Free

How to get there: Take the F train to 4th avenue. Exit near 9th and 4th avenue. Head North on 4th towards 8th street. Make a left on 8th street. (Gowanus Stuido Space, 119 8th Street, gowanusstudio.org)

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