Grab a cuppa, a slice of cake and delve further into the world of cake decorating in this interviewThis week we caught up with Veronique de Groot who owns her own business called Very Unique Cakes by Veronique in New Jersey, USA. We loved getting to know how Veronique works and what her design process is. Here's what she had to share with the Food Heaven team...
When did you first start decorating cakes?I began my cake decorating journey in early March of 2009. I was teaching high school art all day and was yearning to create art of my own. I always enjoyed sculpting and creating 3D art but wasn’t inspired to create anything in particular. After watching a few episodes of the TV show “Ace of Cakes”, I decided that I would try my hand at cake decorating. I experimented on my own, learning along the way from books and the internet, until I felt comfortable to debut my first cake. I created my very first fondant covered cake for Easter which was topped with a 3D figurine of a bunny made from sugarpaste. My family’s eyes lit up with awe at Easter when I walked in with my bunny cake. It was at that moment that I felt a tremendous sense of pride, joy and accomplishment, and was hooked on cake decorating. Where did you learn your baking skills? I have always loved baking since I was a little girl. After 2 years of cake decorating on my own, I decided to enrol in culinary school. I attended the French culinary institute (now known as the International Culinary Institute) in New York City and graduated in October 2011. How did you become such a good artist? I attribute my artistic talent to my genes first, I have my talented grandfather to thank for that. He is a well-known and accomplished painter and sculptor. Second, is my passion for art. I have been creating art my entire life. Art class was always my best subject and that was why I chose to become an art teacher. Third is my formal training and education. I am a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Product Design and a Master’s degree in Design Management. How would you sum up your style? I would sum up my style as clean, modern and sculpturally illustrative with a controlled pallet of colours. What is it that most appeals to you about sugarpaste modeling cakes? I love 3D art and working with my hands. I love how sugarpaste is a versatile medium for bringing my designs to life. Added bonus, it’s edible too which makes it a functional centrepiece that is the star of the party! Where do you get your inspiration for creating new designs? Like a lot of designers these days, I turn to Pinterest where I find inspiration from furniture, fashion, interior design, architecture, graphic design, product design and of course nature. What’s your design process? I am a very calculated thinker. I utilise the methodology of Design Thinking for my design process by following these 5 basic steps. Step 1 (Empathise): I empathise and understand the needs and wants of my client and the parameters of the project. Step 2 (Define): I explore and research as much inspiration as possible in order to define the design direction that I will go in. Step 3 (Ideate): I brainstorm design solutions, through rapid sketching, flushing out as many ideas as I can. Step 4 (Prototype): I create a final sketch of my design by refining one of my quick sketches or by combining multiple ideas. Step 5 (Test): I ask for constructive feedback on my design from friends and experiment to create elements for the cake in advance. What are your top tips for sugarpaste modelling? My top tip that has worked best for me is to plan ahead and work in advance. Not only does this give you the freedom to change your design, if need be, but this way you can take your time and enjoy what you do instead of feeling rushed and frazzled.
Connect with Veronique de GrootVery Unique Cakes by Veronique Lambertville, NJ USA www.veryuniquecakes.com www.facebook.com/veryuniquecakes
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