Jessica Siskin, aka food sculptor Mister Krisp, lives the sweet life. In 2012, she started to experiment with making sculptures out of Rice Krispies Treats, dubbed them “Krisps,” and in October 2013, Mister Krisp was born. Since Mister Krisp’s inception, Siskin has become an Instagram all-star and has been making masterpieces out of the crisped rice cereal—from avocado toast and a detailed version of her dog to emojis. Oh, and she did this as a side hustle while simultaneously pursuing a M.F.A. in creative nonfiction writing at the New School. To say Siskin has been up to a lot in the past year would be an understatement. Aside from receiving countless custom orders daily, she earned her degree; partnered with Rice Krispies for Treats for Toys; and her first book, a cookbook, Treat Yourself, comes out on June 27. What Should We Do caught up with Siskin over the phone (while she was stirring her next Krispies creation) to hear all about how she became Mister Krisp, her creative business, and where she loves to go in NYC.
What Should We Do: What are you making right now?
Jessica Siskin: An emoji!
WSWD: What inspired you to become Mister Krisp?
Siskin: I was working in fashion, for a brand that had just launched, for almost seven years. As it grew, I moved more into a sales role, but I was really missing the creative element of what I did. I started using my creative energy at home—I would do arts and crafts and paint watercolors and things like that. For the most part, I didn’t know how to cook at all. I still don’t. The only edible thing I know how to make is a Rice Krispies Treat. So I would experiment with Rice Krispies Treats.
I was invited to a potluck birthday dinner with my best friend, and we didn’t know what to make because neither of us knows how to cook. But I would always make Rice Krispies Treats in the shape of a heart or star, and my friend said to me, “You know how to make Rice Krispies Treats. Why don’t we make one in the shape of a surfboard?” (because our friend likes to surf). So we did [make it]. At the time it was 2012, and I realized at that moment something I had never realized before: you can add food coloring to the Rice Krispies Treat mixture. And that was just an aha moment for me. I had this very immediate impulse (when I get ideas, they hit me hard and I can’t stop thinking about them) to make a Rice Krispies Treat cheeseburger. So I stayed home the next day and I made all of the different layers of the cheeseburger, and when I stacked them together, it was 11 p.m. on a Sunday night, and I actually screamed out loud because I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen. I posted a picture of it on Instagram and I broke 100 likes for the first time, and then I brought it into work and all of my coworkers freaked out.
I started to realize that I was onto something and thought to myself, What else can I do? Then for about a year I just casually experimented with Rice Krispies Treats in my kitchen every time I had a birthday or something like that. I made a watermelon, an ice cream cone, and a bagel with lox…and after about a year, I noticed people really liked when I shared these things—when I would post pictures of my dogs, I would get 50 likes [on Instagram], but when I’d post pictures of my Krisps, I’d get 150 [likes]. I thought to myself, Maybe I should start a separate Instagram for this…. So I did and I called it Mister Krisp.
WSWD: How did you come up with the name Mister Krisp?
Siskin: People always make fun of me because I am such a feminist and it’s Mister, not Miss. The reason for that is Mister Krisp is named for the villain from the movie Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, which is my favorite ’90s movie.
WSWD: When did you make the shift from making Krisps as a hobby to having it become a business?
Siskin: I started the Instagram and put it out there not knowing what was going to happen. A bunch of my friends shouted it out on their Instagrams. I think the biggest perk about starting a business when I was a little older is that my friends were in positions of influence and power. So they were able to share my account with their followers, and within an hour of the Instagram being live I got my first order. It was a dream come true.
I was a little overwhelmed at first. I had a full-time job and I was like, How am I going to sell these things? But I did. I was waking up at 7 a.m. to make all of the Krisp orders, and would stay up until 2 a.m. to finish them. All the while, Mister Krisp was slowly blowing up. Everybody who saw it wanted to write something about it or wanted to work with me in some way. I also think Mister Krisp came about at a time when people were starting to figure out what influencers were and what you can do with these types of creative Instagram accounts.
WSWD: How do you make your Krisps and what holds them together?
Siskin: It’s a Rice Krispies Treat. So, it’s just butter, marshmallows, food coloring, and Rice Krispies. Then I decorate with icing, sprinkles, and other kinds of candy.
WSWD: How long does it take to make?
Siskin: It takes anywhere between a half hour and two and a half hours, depending on how detailed the Krisp needs to be.
WSWD: So how long did it take to make that 3-D dog Krisp?
Siskin: Oh, my God, that took me such a long time. That probably took me about two and a half hours. That one is definitely one of my favorites, and it’s modeled after my dog.
WSWD: This past season you joined forces with Kellogg’s for Treats for Toys and you made an awesome window display, and those Krisps were huge! Was that a dream come true for you?
Siskin: That was so much fun. It took a couple of weeks to get everything together because they were about four feet tall. They were made 100 percent of Rice Krispies Treats, but they had reinforcements on them and were stuck together using wood backing and other material.
WSWD: You’re coming out with a book, right? What was it like putting that together?
Siskin: I’m really excited about it because I was able to write a lot in it, and I nod quite a bit to the topics I write about in my regular nonfiction in the cookbook. It really does express what I care about. I made everything new for the book and we shot everything step by step.
WSWD: Since you customize orders, what is one of the most memorable requests you’ve received?
Siskin: Everything I get is equally special, but one of my favorites was when someone from Sports Illustrated ordered one for Chrissy Teigen. Then [Teigen] posted it, and I’m a really big fan of hers, so that was pretty special for me.
WSWD: So…do you ever eat your Krispies creations?
Siskin: Yeah, I do. They’re delicious. I mean most of the time, first of all, the only thing I have in my apartment are the ingredients. So sometimes in emergency situations I will eat them, and if I have leftovers, I’ll snack on them.
WSWD: What’s your favorite sweet spot in New York City?
Siskin: I love ice cream, so I’m going to go with Big Gay Ice Cream. Find out Mister Krisp’s other favorite spots in downtown Manhattan.
Follow @mister_krisp on Instagram to check out Siskin’s edible works of art daily.