Now she’s working on the Guy Fieri emoji we all know we’d use constantly.

By Adam Campbell-Schmitt
October 04, 2018
©Jen Lewis

There’s pretty much an emoji for every situation. Heck, there are even a bunch that don’t seem ideal for any situation (I’m looking at you, Money-Mouth). But among the dozens of official Unicode Consortium keyboard emoji, there’s one tiny face that food lovers are sorely missing: The chef’s kiss.

For Brooklyn-based designer Jen Lewis, the lack of the lip-smacking and gesturing chef was too much to bear, so last year she took to her computer and designed an entire range of chefs showing both their appreciation and disdain for… well, whatever it is you’re texting about. Currently, the *chef’s kiss* is part of a sticker pack, meaning it can be typed or dragged and dropped into your iOS Messages app texts (sorry Android users). But Lewis didn’t stop there. She’s also in the process of launching a Halloween-themed update to the app, and she’s even trying to give us Guy Fieri emoji we all know we want.

I emailed Lewis to find out how the *chef’s kiss* and *chef's diss* emoji came about and what she thinks are the ideal situations to drop a Guy Fieri kiss into the conversation.

Adam Campbell-Schmitt: Since there’s no official *chef’s kiss* emoji, what made you decide to take on creating one for yourself?

Jen Lewis: About a year and a half ago, I found myself furiously scrolling back and forth through the emojis on my phone because I could have sworn there was an emoji of a chef kissing its fingers. My friend had just sent me a delightful text that merited nothing less than a *chef’s kiss* reaction, but my mind was playing tricks on me; there was no chef’s kiss emoji. So, I opened Photoshop and cobbled one together. I tweeted the result, and thousands of folks came out of the woodwork to tag their friends and say, “I need this!” That’s when I knew what I had to do: I had to Google “how to build a sticker app.”

ACS: How many designs did you go through before you landed on the right one?

JL: My first *chef’s kiss* design was just a Photoshop mash-up of three pre-existing Apple emojis — the kissing emoji, the OK hand, and the chef. I knew I’d have to redesign the sticker from scratch before I could submit it to the App Store, so I did, and it was immediately rejected for copyright infringement. Turns out, the second design looked exactly like the first design, which looked exactly like a certain trio of Apple emojis! After sifting through Apple’s legal jargon and fearing for my life, I went back into Photoshop and designed my third and final chef. The App Store accepted my redesign, and that was that.

©Jen Lewis

ACS: Did you learn anything in particular from designing these stickers?

JL: I learned a lot from these stickers — I had no idea how to build a sticker app when I started this process, but now I do, thanks to a dozen YouTube tutorials and three days of teeth clenching. People seem to really love the app, and that makes it all worth it.

ACS: What does the chef’s kiss mean to you?

JL: “Perfection,” nothing more, nothing less.

ACS: What are some ideal situations to use the chef’s kiss emoji? What about the chef’s diss?

JL: The *chef’s kiss* emoji can be used for anything and everything that warrants your approval! If your friend sends you a photo of a delicious grilled cheese, hit ‘em with a chef’s kiss. If your mom texts that her flight lands at 2:45, toss her a chef’s kiss. If your partner sends you a video of a good dog, it’s time for a chef’s kiss. The *chef’s diss* emoji is the complete opposite. Your friend burned their grilled cheese? Chef’s diss. Your mom’s flight is delayed? Chef’s diss. “I’m breaking up with you and will never send you dog videos again”? Chef’s diss.

©Jen Lewis

ACS: Why did you decide to honor Guy Fieri with his own emoji? When is the appropriate time to use that one?

JL: I came up with the Guy Fieri emoji while I was brainstorming ideas for a Halloween app update. I knew I wanted to design a bunch of spooky chefs — a ghost chef, a skeleton chef, a monster chef — and maybe one chef that’s just in a normal Halloween costume. That’s when I thought of Guy Fieri. His image is iconic, his existence screams everything I love about the *chef’s kiss* emoji, and I knew he’d be extremely fun to design. The Halloween update is built and ready to go, I just need Guy Fieri’s permission before I can submit it to the App Store. I’ve been trying to get his attention on social media, but no luck . . . yet!

If I can get Guy Fieri’s permission in time, the *Guy Fieri’s kiss* emoji could be used in the exact same way as the normal *chef’s kiss* emoji, just kicked up several notches. Your friend made a grilled cheese with five kinds of hot sauce? Guy Fieri’s kiss! Your mom is going skydiving? Guy Fieri’s kiss! Your partner sends you a video of nine dogs jumping through a flaming hoop? Guy Fieri’s kiss!

ACS: What have been your most memorable responses to these stickers so far?

JL: Every now and then, a friend will text me something like, “My old college roommate just sent me your chef emoji!” That’s the best feeling because I definitely forced the app onto my friends, but I didn’t force it onto their old college roommates.

ACS: Are there any other essential emoji you think are missing from the standard keyboard?

JL: I think I’d get a lot of use out of a *winking finger guns* emoji for when I tell a bad joke, or when I just want to say “‘ayyyy!” to my loved ones. I designed an emoji for that, and I might turn it into a sticker pack, but for now, I’m content with the chefs.

ACS: What other projects are you working on?

JL: I recently started an Instagram account called “Things That Need To Exist” where I design goofy things that need to exist.

The Chef’s Kiss sticker pack is available for iOS on the iTunes App Store for $.99.

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