Posted on September 02 2019
Inspiration struck me from many different places this week (sometimes I guess it takes many times for the message to sink in).
In the lead up to spring, there seemed to be a noticeable emphasis on the value and deeper meaning of the food that I’ve been eating. I guess it makes sense that I'm learning so much, with this time of year being traditionally about growth and renewal.
It's been heartwarming to find that the further along I go in my journey, the more surrounded I become with people who know and love food and who can help me grow as a baker and business owner.
In the spirit of sharing, I've put together this list of what's inspired me this week.
Last week my favourite podcast Shameless featured an interview with Cyan Ta’eed, who amongst a raft of impressive feats (such as co-founding Envato and cracking Australia’s Top 10 Young Rich List) created the ethical chocolate brand Hey Tiger.
When asked 'What makes you feel the most fulfilled?', Cyan responded:
“Hey Tiger really has made me incredibly happy. Something experiential, that I get to hand to people and they get excited… I think food is like art except you get to experience it with all your senses.”
That line stuck with me and mirrored the same way I feel about our cakes. Cyan talks about wanting to create food that is incredibly enjoyable and experiential for people, something that’s visually beautiful and something that people find interesting.
She took the words right out of my mouth!
The next day I was invited to a harvest-themed lunch with a fabulous bunch of ladies who also run hospitality/food-based businesses in Brisbane.
Keeping with the spring theme, it was a bounty of beautiful food prepared lovingly by Nims from the Jam Pantry.
To me, her kitchen kind of represents the heart centre of Brisbane. It's about a focus on the connections we make over food. I think it's the closest that a restaurant or cafe could come to replicating the feeling of eating Mum's home cooking around the family dining table (which if you know my Mum, means a generous table, food made with love and the highest quality ingredients).
One of the most magical moments at the lunch was listening to Nims describe how she brings together recipes based on the meaning of the ingredients. Cumquat for mother, thyme for courage, polenta for family...
and, of course, sugar for joy.
A special joy at the lunch was being sat next to Gillian Bell, who is so well known and loved for her adventurous cake decorating spirit.
Gillian's approach to baking for couples around the world is as unique as the places she visits. Flying in days before an event, Gillian's focus is on the individual story of each couple and how she can translate that into the flavours of their wedding cake.
Often it takes a community of friends, family and strangers to get the ingredients and equipment Gillian needs to pull off her designs. Over lunch, she told me that she has never been let down by anyone she has asked for help.
Her trust and belief in people shines through.
Something that stuck with me about our chat was that there has to be a focus on the baking when you're making a special occasion cake. Too often, people consider themselves just as a decorator, but the flavours and recipes are equally if not more important. Why have a beautiful, sculpted, designer cake if it doesn't taste amazing as well?
It's a philosophy that was also reiterated to me by Margaret when we bought the Cake & Icing Centre. To Margaret, the flavours and textures of the cake inside are just as important as the look outside. We've worked to ensure that philosophy has lived on in Studio Cakes.
My chat with Gillian opened my eyes to how inspired and artistic the baking process can be. I'll certainly be following her future journeys and working on growing my own love of baking.
Here's to more spring inspiration to come!
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