When I met Celebrity Chef Rosalind Chan, she was not at all what I had imagined her to be. With awards and accolades in the field of cake designing a mile long, you can’t blame me if I had thought her to be a formidable character. Prior to interviewing her, of course I had done some homework and the more I read about her, the more awestruck I became. Rosalind Chan’s credentials are incredible. She is a world-class cake designer, international instructor, adjudicator and entrepreneur setting new international standards in the field of wedding cake designs and cake decorating.
Celebrity Chef Rosalind Chan
Right from a very young age, Rosalind took to baking, having been mentored by her mother. After her tertiary studies, she learned the finer arts of cake decorating from top British cake designers and decorators. In 2006, she set up the International Centre of Cake Artistry (ICCA) Malaysia in Petaling Jaya as the first ever authorised and certified Wilton Method Instruction Training Centre.
So it was at the ICCA one fine morning that I had a chance to catch the ever-busy celebrity chef for a chit-chat and these were the questions I posed to the vivacious Rosalind.
Q: What made you go into this cake decorating business?
RC: My mother is my mentor. She’s a beauty therapist who loves baking and that passion has rubbed off on me. When I was a little girl, I used to watch and help her for hours in the kitchen when she was baking and decorating her cakes using the Wilton method.
When I left Malaysia to further my studies overseas by taking up business and law studies in Britain, I never let go of my childhood dream. Even after I obtained my American BA degree and worked for some years in the corporate sector, I knew that eventually I would be moving on to do the things I love best, which is all about cake decorating and creating sugar art designs.
Q: What are the latest trends in cake decorating?
RC: Well, as far as cake decorating themes are concerned, more and more people are going for “Topsy Turvy” where twists of humour are incorporated in the design. The “Bling Bling” trend is also popular and one of the latest craze is the Lace designs, using new techniques. Lacey designs are very much favoured in wedding cakes.
Rice paper flowers are also gaining popularity, as compared to the traditional fondant. Rice paper, as a medium, is excellent for defining very real-life details and colors of flowers.
Just look at this amazing creation!
Q: Where do you get your inspiration for your cake baking and designs?
RC: Oh, I get inspired by almost everything in life! From my travels, I get to learn more about the different cultures and practices. I love going to the markets – there are so many things to observe there, from the produce to the foods to the people! For example, if I were to create new flower designs, I would dissect the original natural flowers and analyse their characteristics carefully in order to come up with the most life-like creations.
I love experimenting with sauces and natural flavors from local produce. From mixing and matching flavors, the most exciting fusions can be created. I do ship a lot of local products back to my Canadian store as I believe in using only authentic ingredients for my cakes.
Q: So what are you busy with at the moment?
RC: In between my hectic travels to teach and promote Wilton programs, I also do a lot of work for Satin Ice (rolled fondant) as I am their brand ambassador and have also been conferred their prestigious “Satin Ice Artist of Excellence”.
I’m also very excited that my very first cake decorating book will be out soon. This project is very dear to my heart as I was invited by Whitecap Publishing Co (Canada) to write and be the creative force behind the book. The concept of the book is very unique as it will showcase 14 special cake projects based on countries I have travelled to. The cake designs centred on the national flowers of the various countries but other unique factors like their culture and traditions are also incorporated in the designs.
From my experience, I know how critical it is to use the correct tools when creating flowers or any decorative items for cakes. To cater to this need, I have actually developed and created a set of stainless steel modeling tools which will be a great help.
Q: Do you have any other passion besides cake decorating?
RC: Oh yes, besides all the travelling, I enjoy gardening. Whenever I have the opportunity, I would spend time pottering around my garden, tending to my plants and flowers. I’m particularly proud of my rose bushes, which are flowering very well at the moment!
Rosalind’s gorgeous garden where she spends many happy hours
Q: Do you have any advice for people who would like to take up cake designing and baking to a higher level?
RC: All I can say is “Live your Dream!” I hope to inspire people, especially women, that everything is indeed possible, if there is determination and faith to achieve your dream. Even though it is something very different from what you have been doing, or trained for.
Like I’ve mentioned earlier, Rosalind’s credentials, accolades and achievement are too extensive to list them all here. If you are inspired by this talented and gutsy lady, more information and updates are available at the following official Facebook Fan Pages:
International Centre of Cake Artistry (ICCA) Malaysia
Sandy Folsom, director of the Wilton School says
She was a wonderful student at the Wilton School, so many years ago. I am very proud of her work and contributions to the World of Cake Decorating