Hi there cake boys and girls! Let me start by saying that for those of you who are not friends with me on Facebook, I recently had an opportunity (the first of many) to guest-blog for one of my favourite blogs (and stores) - Decorate the Cake! I had a blast testing some products for the owner Melissa, and will be doing more tutorials for her in the future! Stay tuned for a Favourite Things feature on DTC in the next few weeks.
Now on to something we've all been dying for (some of us more than others.....right, Suzanne?) - my Baker's Dozen with none other than James Rosselle. James has been one of my cake heroes since I saw him compete on Food Network Challenge. His cakes are breath-taking and his flowers so lifelike it is incredible! I am extremely fortunate that I will be able to spend 3 days in April studying under his guidance when he visits Canada to teach at Icing Inspirations in Kitchener, ON.
Please enjoy the interview, I enjoyed coming up with the questions!
Morsels By Mark: What drove you towards a career in cake design?
James Rosselle: I have always been interested in food. When I was going through culinary school I couldn’t decide which avenue to choose-sweet or savory. I enjoyed cooking as I went through the program, but as soon as I was in the backing module I fell in love with pastry. The artistry involved with pastry was fascinating. Cakes, chocolate and sugar satisfied the inner artist and pastry chef.
MBM: You have a huge fan base in the cake world thanks to FN Challenges. Do you get nervous before competing, and which was your favorite competition?
JR: Food Network has played a big role in the success of cake design. I enjoy the competition arena and find myself to be very competitive. However, I do get slightly nervous the day before a challenge. Once the clock begins the countdown the nerves go away. I am in my element and “I feel at home” when I am in the cake making mode, even on Challenge. I’ve competed in several challenges- “Sweet 16 Cakes”, “Surprise Engagement Cakes, “Extreme Holiday Cakes”, and “Last Cake Standing”-winning all four challenges I’ve competed in. They’ve all been interesting in their own way. “Sweet 16 Cakes” was my first challenge and it’s hard to beat that feeling of your first BIG win!
MBM: What is your favorite piece of cake decorating equipment?
JR: My favorite piece of cake decorating equipment is my mini pastry wheel cutter. It’s so tiny it can fit into my pocket. I use it every day with everything I do especially sugar flower work.
MBM: What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
JR: The best piece of advice I was given was by one of my instructors in culinary school. She told me not to limit myself. I’ve always kept that in the back of my mind. Since then, I’ve worked for some of the best in the industry, Ron Ben Israel, Gale Gand, and Ewald Notter. I truly believe you should never limit yourself.
The wealth of knowledge I received from them will always be with me. There is nothing better than that…knowledge.
MBM: Please explain your design process. Where do you go for inspiration?
JR: My design process varies from cake to cake. I find inspiration from many things. Fashion, art, gardens, flowers, fabrics, are a big inspiration to me. Cake design begins with an idea, then I figure out how to make it happen.
MBM: What is your preferred type of cake to work on (ie Wedding, celebration,...)?
JR: I enjoy working on the elegant side cakes. Sugar flowers are what I’m known for. I enjoy the process so much, in a way, sugar flowers are my therapy. Finding the balance of elegance and whimsy with wedding cakes is very enjoyable. My job isn’t work . I love what I do.
MBM: Is there anyone in particular that you would like to do a cake for?
JR: I would love to do a cake for the Queen of England. I imagine the cake being very regal, adorned with jewels and sugar flowers.
MBM: Which is your favorite flower to create?
JR: My favorite sugar flower to create is the peony. I think peonies are beautifully vibrant and lush. You can’t help but smile when you look at a peony. Peonies have many petals but the lengthy process is worth the wait.
MBM: Seeing as your classes are so popular, would you ever consider coming out with an instructional DVD?
JR: I really enjoy teaching classes on cake decorating, sugar flowers, chocolate, sugar, etc. Teaching breaks up the monotony of cake making. Teaching has allowed me to travel, meet new people, and grow as a cake artist. I hope to have some instructional DVD’s in the near future or perhaps a book.
MBM: What is your favorite flavor of cake?
JR: My favorite cake flavor is Lemon. I’m a sucker for lemon or anything tart and sweet. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
MBM: What one piece of advice can you give the readers about the world of cake?
JR: My advice to all cake goers is “anything is possible”. Set goals for yourself and meet them. You owe it to yourself!
Thank-you James for taking the time out to answer the questions and continuing to be an inspiration for all of the up and coming cake decorators out there! I look forward to meeting you in April and learning all I can!
That's all for now. Keep checking back for DVD news, tutorials, site reviews, and hopefully soon, a Baker's Dozen with another of my heroes - Ron Ben Israel!
Until next time,