Baking for me started out being the best weekend hobby, mainly because when you finished making the cakes you could lick the bowl clean! It was something that would keep me entertained on my days off and my family enjoyed the peace and quiet as much as they did the sweet treats that came at the end of it. As I got older I took a little more care in the presentation of each cake and was even promoted to designated birthday cake maker for all family and friends. Despite having my trusty chocolate cake recipe (passed down by a close family friend) I always wanted to create something bigger and better than last time, so I began to experiment bit by bit with my capabilities. Through teenage years I would dare to put fruit in icings and even like it! My repertoire grew from one faithful recipe to several more advanced that started to draw the attention of friends and colleagues abound.
I always wanted my creations to have a wow factor to them, as well as just the pleasure in consumption and moving into the world of chocolate really improved my skill set. I started off as a tour guide in York telling the stories of our city’s chocolate heritage and grew more fascinated by the art of creating it. Having hung around the chocolatiers long enough (not just eating the chocolates I promise) I asked to be trained up and get stuck in. A surprising few albeit messy weeks later and I was making moulded chocolates and ganaches without guidance. The spectacle of making chocolates is something that really brings out the inner child in you; the fascination of chocolate rain (if you’ve not witnessed it you really must) to the incredible shine on tempered chocolate can make you stop and stare. This truly ignited a fire in me to further these skills and delve into the world of patisserie.
I started my patisserie chef journey in January 2020 down in Devon at Ashburton Chef’s Academy and it is my favourite adventure to date (not just because we got to eat everything we made). To sum up how my training has shifted my skillset in the most simply way is to say that when I now watch Bake Off Professionals I don’t have to google what they’re making to understand the conversation, I know all of the patisserie terms and even a darn good recipe for how to make them! It has allowed me to elevate my baking with the use of home made ingredients like caramels, puff pastry and the innovative flavour pairings that I may have shied away from before. I feel I’ve grown considerably from baking for the love of eating the batter into a fully-fledged patisserie chef who enjoys creating new confections for others enjoyment just as much as my own. From chocolate maker to professional baker the urge to lick the spoon still hasn’t subsided!