Continuing our new series, we recognise cake icons in the industry for their expertise and phenomenal designs. This month, we speak to Chef Nicholas Lodge.
Chef Nicholas Lodge is known for exquisite sugar flower designs and has been teaching his craft all over the world! He is a highly esteemed author and master cake artist. Here we find out more about his cake decorating journey and top tips for budding cake decorators.
Can you tell us about your cookie decorating journey – where did it all begin?
At a very early age, I realised that I loved to bake. I would help my mum bake scones and pies and I would play with the leftover dough and pastry to make animals and cut outs. Then my poor dad would have to eat them. This was my playdough and it turned into rolled fondant and gum paste as a teen! When I was ten years old, I had my tonsils removed and my grandmother bought me a cake decorating book from Australia. I was hooked. I made carnations to decorate a cake for my mum and dad’s anniversary. This was long before any cutters existed so I used a biscuit/cookie cutter and a cocktail/toothpick! My parents loved my cakes and that’s all that mattered. I’m sure looking back it was horrendous and sadly no photographs of this creation exist.
In your experience, how has the industry changed over the last few decades?
Our industry has changed so much in the four decades that I have been in this profession. New students and bakers in our industry have no idea how it was even two decades ago! Now there is so much equipment, tools, moulds, etc. that never existed before! When I started making flowers, there were very few cutters; most of the cutters I had I made myself from cardboard templates. I made formers from Diet Coke cans and used porcupine quills that I picked up each time I taught in South Africa to vein petals and leaves. I used real leaves, plastic flower petals and things like dried corn husks to vein petals and leaves. Oh my, we have changed a lot indeed!
What is your biggest inspiration for your work?
The world is my inspiration. I have been fortunate to travel over four million miles and visit over 40 countries – that has been my inspiration. Seeing artwork, a window display, visiting gardens, reading fashion and interior design magazines are all very influential in my work and choice of colours.