A pastry chef from Dagenham found her calling after winning a pastry competition and getting a new job.
Leigh-Chantal Caesar, 35, started baking cupcakes for her partner and four daughters about six years ago, with the feedback she received so positive she decided to start her own business.
To help grow the business and broaden her baking knowledge, Leigh-Chantal enrolled in the baking course at Barking and Dagenham College.
Seeing her talent, her tutors encouraged her to participate in pastry competitions as part of the International Hotel and Catering Fair 2021.
The competitions were held online this year due to Covid.
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The sugar craft and cake decorating competitions are a flagship section, in which Leigh-Chantal entered the category of decorated Easter cupcakes.
Leigh-Chantal, whose cupcakes won the Gold Award for ‘Best in Class’, said: “I wasn’t going to participate in the contests at all because I didn’t think I had the confidence, but my tutors m ‘really supported doing it, and I’m so glad I did.
“I was quite moved when I found out I won and quite shocked – it’s amazing.”
Participants were invited to use their creativity and skill to bake and decorate six individual cupcakes using two different spring-themed designs.
All decorations used had to be fully edible.
But winning gold in the competition is not all Leigh-Chantal has achieved.
After studying at university and realizing that she had found a new love for all things baking, she wanted to make a career in the world of baking.
Now she’s made that dream come true, having started as a pastry chef at the Bell Inn in the village of Essex Horndon-on-the-Hill last month.
Leigh-Chantal said: “Taking the course at university has totally changed my life.
“I broadened my knowledge, I understood what career I wanted to embark on, I entered and won competitions and now I also have a new job.
“Being a pastry chef is hard and hot work, but I love it.”