Interview with One Tough Cookie’s Gail Dosik
If you’re following me on Twitter, then you already know that I’ve got a major sweet tooth. If I could bring three things with me on a desert island, LaDuree macaroons would probably be one of them. I met pastry artist Gail Dosik through Twitter, where she tweets under the handle THEToughCookie, a reference to her New York City based business One Tough Cookie, where she designs and bakes custom-made cookies, cakes and other pastries. I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to interview this former fashion industry executive turned pastry artist.
Termeh Mazhari: Was there an A-HA moment that lead you to quit your career in fashion and pursue pastry art?
Gail Dosik: Over the years I realized that fashion wasn’t my passion….I never got the same rush about a pair of shoes that I got about a new dessert recipe. That should have been my first clue. I had never really thought about a career in pastry art because I never considered myself artistic, despite the fact that I loved to bake! After the last Seventh Avenue company I worked for downsized, and I was part of that downsizing, I decided to change my life completely.
Termeh Mazhari: What was the biggest challenge launching your career, and what is your biggest challenge today, as an established baker?
Gail Dosik: The biggest challenge is marketing yourself. That takes a lot of guts, I have to say. Thank goodness for the internet. The web is everyone’s marketing friend. Biggest challenge today? Identifying the ‘next level’ of branding. That’s very exciting, too!
Termeh Mazhari: Define One Tough Cookie. Where does the name come from?
Gail Dosik: I love double entendres, always have. I just knew that if someone was doing an internet search for baked goods, they’d definitely be intrigued by a company called One Tough Cookie. It just reeks of snarky fun. I had to go for it.
Termeh Mazhari: What has been your biggest accomplishment thus far? What are you most proud of?
Gail Dosik: I can’t really pinpoint my biggest accomplishment, because to me, each one is another hurdle. I think I’m the proudest when people tell me they see my work and admire it., and refer to me as an artist. For someone who never took an art class, and was never encouraged to explore an artistic avenue, this is huge for me.
Termeh Mazhari: What are some of quirkiest cookie/cake concepts people have to come to you with?
Gail Dosik: I did a cookie that looked like an upper GI tract….that was really fun….my large intestine was a thing of sheer beauty. And, I love doing ‘product’ cookies for ad meetings. Turning a beauty product into a cookie is great fun. I love the challenge.
Termeh Mazhari: Do you have any favorite cookies/cakes?
Gail Dosik: My princess cake will always have a special place in my heart, because it’s the most requested cake. I also love the quarter cookie I did for Glamour Magazine, and I did scissors and a film strip for a film editing company…I loved those, too.
Termeh Mazhari: When you’re not nibbling on your own cookies, where do you like to get cookies and sweets in general, in the New York City area?
Gail Dosik: Excellent question! I adore chocolate chip cookies, and I think I’ve tasted every single one in the NYC area. Jacques Torres’ are the best, in my estimation. Baked thoroughly, nice ratio of chocolate to cookie, and the most important ingredient in my estimation is salt. People underestimate the importance of salt in baking. It really heightens all the flavors.
Termeh Mazhari: Tell me about your private pastry art classes. Who is your typical student?
Gail Dosik: I have two types of students: those who want to learn cookie decorating for themselves and their families, and the beginning pro who wants to learn new tricks. My classes are private, so I can tailor the 3 hours to anything the student wants to concentrate on. Newbies are always astonished when they see how much work is really involved. Cookie decorating is a very labor intensive process. I adore it so it’s not work to me, even after a 12 or 14 hour day.
Termeh Mazhari: How do you explain America’s obsession with cookies, cakes, and especially cupcakes?
Gail Dosik: If I only could explain the obsession! I think cupcakes embody everything about a cake that you can call your own. You don’t have to share. Special occasion cakes have definitely evolved from dry, boring, generic cakes to delicious, personal and artistic ways of marking the most important celebrations of our lives. Cake has always played a part in celebrations and now we celebrate the cake.
Termeh Mazhari: What do you love most about your job?
Gail Dosik: I’m most touched when Moms send me photos from the birthday parties. I love to see a child’s face when he or she first sees the cake. That’s very special to me.
Read more about One Tough Cookie, or sign up for private lessons with Gail Dosik at www.onetoughcookienyc.com
This entry was posted on Friday, November 13th, 2009 at 3:47 pm and is filed under Art, Food, Interview. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.