We have a real sweet-tooth over here but Jami Curl, owner of QUIN– a Portland-based candy company, really knows her gummies from her marshmallows. That’s why she wrote the book Candy is Magic, to share her recipes with those adventerous enough to attempt candy making at home. Thanks to her detailed instructions and helpful hints, we think we’re game enough to try.
Jami, what inspired you write a cookbook of your recipes?
I really love to explain the magic and methods of candy. My degree is in English and I have always loved the written word. I don’t think there’s ever been a day since the founding of QUIN that I doubted I’d write a book. That said, what truly inspired me to write the kind of book I ended up writing was the candy itself. I wanted people to really see candy the way I see it. It’s so much more to me than something sweet and sugary. Candy is art, it is happiness, it is fun, it is beautiful, it is rooted in design – I wanted to invite people into my head, to live with candy the way I live with candy. I am so proud of the fact that the book we ended up with really accomplishes that goal.
All your recipes make candy from real, totally natural ingredients. Why is that important to you?
The honest answer here is that it never crossed my mind to use typical mass-produced candy making ingredients in my candy. Prior to opening QUIN I had a bakery, and the ingredients we had in the bakery are what I used to make candy. Chocolate, sea salt, fancy butter, heavy cream, vanilla bean, whole fruit – this stuff was at my fingertips so I worked to figure out how to magic it into candy. And now that QUIN is a few years old, I still wouldn’t change how we do things to make it easier – I’m still just as dedicated to these “real food” ingredients because it produces superior results.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career?
I keep this in mind every single day: no one is going to care about QUIN the way I care about QUIN. Even the most dedicated employee can’t care about the company in the way that I do because the truth is that this is my thing. It’s my responsibility to take care of employees, to make a great product, to provide excellent customer service, to work constantly and consistently to make QUIN better every day. I can’t expect anyone else to do that the way I do it.
Your book is so colorful. How does color play a role in your home decor?
Oh, I am so happy you noticed the color. I love a lot of white with a lot of color – the book is the perfect distillation of my personal style. Happy, fun, active, unexpected, whimsical. I love anchor pieces (chairs, sofa) that are neutral, then I like to go wild with color all around it. Currently I’m in a sort of hot pink phase – pillows, throws, artwork – a lot of what surrounds me features hot pink.
Plus we heard there is a new kind of QUIN Candy treat coming out?
We’re putting the finishing touches on a pitch for a line of paper products inspired by the photography and artwork in Candy is Magic. Notebooks, folders, wrapping paper, gift items, super fun journals, an activity book – it’s been so much fun thinking about and designing products that reflect the beauty and whimsy of the book.