Ksenia Avdulova, the woman behind Breakfast Criminals, caters for Miu Miu and Glossier
Ksenia Avdulova is one of the most in-demand breakfast caterers for some of the world’s top fashion brands. And it all started with a vacation.
“There was a time in my life when I was in-between visas, in-between jobs, I lost my apartment, I lost my boyfriend and everything sort of crashed,” Avdulova said. “I started getting into super foods and I decided to go to Hawaii because what does a jobless, boyfriendless person do?”
After returning to New York, Avdulova decided to start making acai bowls like the ones she had eaten in Hawaii, styling them in a red ceramic heart-shaped bowl, and noticed a spike in Instagram followers. “I decided to come up with a different account because I’m obsessed with breakfast and how you start your day,” she says. “I really believe that how you spend those first waking moments affects how you’re going to feel the rest of the day.”
Avdulova sold the bowls through her platform, Breakfast Criminals—completely selling out of her entire stock. “It became a symbol of the brand,” she explains. Around this time, Victoria’s Secret model Romee Strijd got a hold of one of the signature bowls and also posted it on Instagram. “One morning, I woke up and my Instagram was just blowing up,” she said.
Shortly after, Avdulova decided to make a list of her dream collaborators. Instagram, who she worked with just late last year, was one of them. So was cult beauty brand Glossier, who she reached out to with a project idea that was immediately accepted. She also listed Virgin America and Marina Abramović. After contacting Glossier, she was commissioned to make breakfast: a healthy parfait themed around three scents of Glossier’s latest Balm Dotcom lip balms, cherry, mint and rose. “That was when I realized how fun it was to bring the world of fashion together with food,” she explains. “Wellness is trendy and all that, but there’s still such a huge gap between those worlds. Just like there is an enormous gap between the food you see on Instagram, and then what you actually eat.”
“With Breakfast Criminals,” she says, “If you compare it to a fashion line, there’s like a Zara which is what I post on Instagram, and over the years it’s become more accessible, and then there’s more aspirational line, which is partnering with brands like Instagram or Miu Miu to create something really unique to support the full experience of them launching either a product, project or campaign.”
As for Miu Miu, the quirky Italian luxury label reached out to Avdulova first and ended up working with her twice to create custom treats. For the first collaboration, she created a breakfast using Anita’s Coconut Yogurt and E3Live (Blue-Green Algae, or as Avdulova says, “the luxury in the world of super foods.”) to mimic the pale blue bottles of the brand’s new perfume launch. In late 2017, to celebrate the store’s redesign, she created a similarly blue-hued parfait (to match the store’s new baby blue interior, of course.)
At Instagram’s headquarters during New York Fashion Week, Avdulova made 75 gluten-free toasts with almond-based cream cheese, turmeric, beet juice and charcoal coconut oil paint. The toast matched the Instagram logo, right down to the camera icon made out of avocado. There were no artificial dyes in the recipe and it was also super healthy—like everything Avdulova creates for brands. There’s a reason why she puts a health focused spin on everything too: her goal is to bring the concept that healthy food can be super creative and beautiful to the masses, and Instagram was her favorite event yet. “It was very meaningful to give back to the company who changed my career and my entire life,”she says.
Up next? A campaign with sportswear brand Athleta, and a desire to expand food and fashion as we know it through possible installations or even experiential events that go beyond Instagram. “We’ve reached all the limits with food on Instagram,” she says. “Especially this past year. I think the next step is really simplifying, enjoying and being mindful and also bringing the more wholesome approach of food into worlds that don’t necessarily have it.”