Making my dream come true
by Sophie Cote
(Montreal, Quebec, Canada)
My friends call me "Martha"
... to tease me because I LOVE culinary arts, gardening, flowers, interior design, and so on. I have always fueled on creativity, it keeps me happy and alive. My new project? I started a dessert catering service in Montreal!
Over the years, I slowly conquered various fears I had about cooking. Amateur chef Daniel Pinard made me get over my fear of making pie dough. Chef Michael Smith made me conquer my fears of improvising in the kitchen (as a result, I am writing a vegetarian cookbook!) and baking meringue (pavlovas, macaroons and Alaskas now seem so easy!).
Lorelie helped me get over my fear of working with fondant
. And here I am, starting my own dessert catering business!
My Special 30th Birthday Cake
It all happened very gradually. For my 30th birthday, I wanted to make a special cake. Making my own birthday cake is such a passionate endeavor that I wouldn't let anyone have all the fun! I checked dozens of cake pictures on the internet, and I was always drawn to the fondant cakes.
I loved its clean, sharp lines and finish, giving cakes such an elegant and professional look. BUT I thought working with fondant was difficult, tricky and above all risky, and with the seven-course meal I was planning for my birthday, I didn't want to plan a cake that was that risky. I opted for a yellow cake with lemon curd and chocolate butter cream that I decorated with a satin ribbon and white orchids. It was a hit!
Should I Or Shouldn't I
One baby boy later, I started questioning whether or not I should start a business of my own in order to work closer from home (or right inside it!). My husband, knowing my lifelong passion for cooking, suggested right away that I could become a caterer. One thing I didn't like about my job as a private practice psychologist was working on the evenings and weekends. So I decided to wait and turned to other possibilities.
My Son's First Birthday Cake
Once I went back to work in April 2010, I started getting excited about my son's first birthday... and the cake that came with it. As always, I went on the internet to find ideas and, as always, fondant cakes were the ones I preferred. This time, I decided to give it a try.
I spent a month researching fondant on the internet. I watched youtube videos on how to make it, and how to manipulate it. I watched tons of videos on cake decorating... and I found Lorelie.
I couldn't believe it: she was a successful cake caterer and she shared all her tips and recipes... jackpot! Her videos helped me figure out many cake decorating techniques
and gave me enough confidence to try it on my own. A few emails later, I was doing my very first fondant cake!
I decided to make a chocolate cake covered with a fondant pattern that matched my son's lozenges sweater. My first batch of fondant was nice for a first attempt, and I was amazed to see how soft and pliable it was. It took me several hours to color the fondant and assemble the lozenge pattern, but I loved every minute of it. The cake was a big hit and the daycare lady loved it so much that she soon found an excuse to order one just for her family. A few days later, I made a two-tiered wedding cake with the "Maypole" theme. Again, I worked for hours but I loved every step of the process. People believed the cake had been done by a professional, which gave me a clear sign that I had what it took to become a dessert caterer. I was so excited!
I'm going For it!
During the following weeks, I designed my catering website and made two more fondant cakes (a gift box cake and a drum-shaped birthday cake). This week, I launched my project by sending the website to all my contacts, asking them to forward it to as many people they could. Orders have started coming in, and I hope it will be exponential from now on.
My plan right now is to take it slow. I don't make any profit: people only pay for the ingredients. That way I'll gain experience, see if the project blooms and if I like cooking for other people on a larger scale. In a year or two, if my plan works, I may become a part-time dessert caterer, and keep working as a psychologist part-time.
It would truly be the best of both worlds...
Sophie, mommy and owner of Piece of cake!