Juliet Sear’s list of customers reads like a copy of Who’s Who. They have included everyone from Kate Moss and Matt Lucas to Bryan Adams, and Mary Chateris. But the rising baking star has kept her feet firmly on the ground. We caught up with her between bakes to talk about her inspirations, hot new trends, and her culinary creations.
Q. How did you get started?
I got into baking and cake making entirely by happy accident! I’ve always had a huge passion for savoury food and love throwing parties. When our son George turned one (he will be 18 next month!) I threw a big bash. Obviously, I wanted to have a cake to bring everyone together to celebrate, so I got a few books and made one. I loved making it so much and everyone loved the cake. I was hooked! From then on, I baked lots of cakes and this soon grew into a little business from our home supplying friends, family and local cafes.
Q. You have baked for some of the world’s most famous people, but if you could bake for anyone who would it be?
So hard to pick one person. I would have to say Nigella is one of my idols and it would be an honour to bake for her. I would make a massive tiered cake, decorated with delicious hand-made decorations, using biscuits, meringues, sweets, salted caramel drizzle, doughnuts and chocolates. The whole cake would be decorated in chocolate ganache and very decadent. Of course, I would have to serve it in a silk dressing gown in the middle of the night!
Q. If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you take with you?
I’d take my family, a pet and marmite.
Q. What are the hot baking trends of the moment?
We are seeing lots of really cool effects using buttercream and also decorating with other sweet components. For example, dripping with chocolate or caramel sauces, decorated with cookies, sweets or meringue kisses. Naked cakes are still very on trend and also pinata cakes are on trend, too.
Q. What charities do you support?
Wellbeing of Women (www.wellbeingofwomen.org.uk), Little Havens (www.havenshospices.org.uk), Macmillan (www.macmillan.org.uk) and Fashion Targets breast cancer (www.fashiontargetsbreastcancer.org.uk).
Q. What do you like about London?
I absolutely love being right in the centre of London because the food scene is incredible. Also because much of my work is in London, it is so easy to whizz about on the tubes. Even if I am carrying bundles of cakes.
Q. What new projects are you working on at the moment?
I’m actually working on a very special Christmas project that is a world first. It is for a food brand’s press campaign. I’m not allowed to say what it is until the pictures come out! I’m also working on some Christmas goodies for Fortnum and Mason.
Q. Describe your perfect home?
Ooh that’s a tough one! I would say where we are living now is pretty perfect. It’s a lovely town house with four levels in London on a quiet road. I would like a bit more garden space though. My perfect home would be Victorian or Georgian with original features, a massive kitchen, gorgeous bathroom, sound-proofed and with a big garden set away from the street with a parking space thrown in. I don’t ask for much : ). Oh and ideally a separate level for me and Simon [my husband] so our teenagers don’t wake us up at 2am!
Q. What food can’t you live without?
I’m a carb head, so bread and pasta.
Q. Who and what inspires you?
I think it’s a tough question, some artists completely inspire me, Grayson Perry, Banksy and Nigella is a complete legend when it comes to food, recipes and writing (again). My children and my husband, too.
Q. Do you have any favourite architects or interior designers?
Frank Lloyd Wright is my favourite architect, not sure on interiors, I like loads of stuff out there, I am into House of Hackney (www.houseofhackney.com) at the moment, but I couldn’t pick one interior designer.
Q. Any advice to young hopefuls who want to break into baking?
Be prepared to work very long hours, be up early and make sure you develop a signature style. Create stand-out products because it is so competitive out there now. Ideally, if you want to make it into baking go on the Bake Off, which is your best hope nowadays.
- Juliet Sear (www.julietsear.co.uk) has just released her new book: Cakeology: over 20 Sensational Step-By-Step Cake Decorating Projects (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cakeology-Sensational-Step—Step-Decorating/dp/178488006X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1444639043&sr=8-1&keywords=cakeology)