Blog

 

Never short of something to say, a pearl of wisdom, a super top tip or life changing advice  – in her blog, Mich will share morsels from her own life.

 

 

The America’s Cake & Sugarcraft Fair – Mich Turner Q&A!

09 September 2015

September 18th introduces the launch of the never seen before “Cake & Sugarcraft Fair” hosted by Satin Ice in Orlando, Florida.

At this event you’ll experience an abundance of “cake-spiration” activities.

Headlining as a part of the 3 day celebrity lineup is “Cake Maker to the Stars” Mich Turner MBE. Create and Craft was lucky enough to catch up with her at the Dorchester Hotel in London to talk about the upcoming cake fair.

What can visitors expect to see when they see you at the Cake Fair in Orlando, Florida 18th-20th September?

This will be the first time America has held such a large live cake show. I’m headlining along with Buddy Valastro AKA the Cake Boss, Ron Ben Israel- a very talented chef artist from New York and Roland Mesnier who is the ex-pastry chef to the White House. So it’s a really eclectic mix of headline acts in addition with over 40 international cake designers. There is a huge amount going on with the show. There are live demonstrations, hands on classes, cake competitions, and on stage presentations. There is a wedding cake zone, a chocolate zone, a kid’s zone and even a sugar- art fashion show. There is a huge amount of live, interactive cake experiences over 3 days.

Will you be doing any master classes there?

I’m going to be hosting hands on master classes, on each of the 3 days I’ll be showcasing my cool Britannia, the classic, individual crown cakes that I’ve become synonymous with. It’s showcasing hands craftsmanship- in terms with the candy stripe and making roses and crowns. These are the cakes that I took to Buckingham palace for her Majesty the Queen. In addition to this, I’ll be showcasing live on stage each of the 3 days showcasing the strawberry chiffon which is the cover shot of my new Mich Turners Cake School.

Do you have any master class stories? Ever had any mishaps?

I have taught master classes literally all over the world and we now issue quite strict guidelines to students who are coming on one of our classes. I’ve had a lovely lady turn up when we were hosting one of our Christmas Master Classes, and she turned up wearing a gorgeous mohair green jumper. Mohair sheds and we had little green fibres in everyone’s beautiful white poinsettia on top of the Christmas cakes they were making. That’s one funny story.

I had an Italian chain smoking man who turned up to do a 2 day wedding master class and he’d never even picked up a rolling pin before. He and his sister had set up a company, she was going to be doing all the bonbon wedding favors and he wanted to do all the wedding cakes, so he came in- and do you know what? By the end of 2 days, even though he couldn’t speak a word of English, just by watching, following and listening he went home with a brilliant cake!

We host regular masterclasses at The Dorchester and its sister property the country house hotel and spa, Coworth Park. During a masterclass at Coworth Park last December, we had been warned that the hotel was only going to be available from about 11.00am. When we got there it became clear why, as the guys from ‘Take That’ (a famous 90’s boy band in the UK) were in situ. They walked past the window at one point and our students were enthralled.

I did a class in Italy and actually missed the flight to get to Italy because the plane was delayed. They called it back without letting anyone know in the airport lounge that the plane would be on time after all. So I walked down to see the plane pulling back which meant I couldn’t get a flight in time to host my first class which meant I had to work a straight 36 hours to make up for class at the end of the following day.

What is the most challenging thing you’ve had to mould with icing/and or the most challenging cake you’ve had to finish?

My most challenging thing to make out of icing was a replica of St. Bride’s Church which is the idea of where the wedding cake originated in central London. It’s based on an octagon and it has a gorgeous really high steeple. It’s a very pretty church. I had to recreate that in royal iced panels. Architecturally, it had to be very mathematically sound because you want something incredible fragile, at the same time you want it to be quite heavy but precision perfect because every panel had to match up in order for the structure to stand high. That was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to create in sugar.

My most challenging commission has been to make David Beckham’s birthday cake because I had 48 hours to make, bake, decorate and transport a very specific design. The event was held in a Buddha Bar in Madrid which gives you an indication into the style of the cake. It was extraordinary.

Do you ever actually get to meet these celebrities?

I get to meet some of them; Pierce Brosnan and Emma Thompson are two of the nicest people I’ve ever met in show business. They are incredible grateful and always write to say thank you for anything we do for them afterwards.

If you get time off in your busy schedule, what do you enjoy doing?

I love being fit, sporty and active in any free time I get. What I do is plan in my time to make sure I’m down at the gym. I’ve run half marathons and I live to keep myself fit and active. I do quilting, I have worked on a quilt which took me 12 years to complete- a real labor of love. That’s something I really enjoy doing. Anything which gives me the opportunity to do something with my hands. As a working mom I rarely get the free time that I use it to plan my next move strategically.

Do you have a favorite place to visit in the US? And if so, why?

I’ve been really fortunate that I’ve had the opportunity to travel to quite a few places in America. They all hold different points of interest. New York will always be special, my husband and I went there 6 weeks before we got married and that was my very first trip to the US. I was just blown away with how ‘movie star- show business’ it all was. I loved going to the Rockefeller Center and the Empire state building, I have yet to visit the Statue of Liberty so that’s always my reason to go back. It was just magical, you see it so often in the movies, it all just felt magical and it just all came true.

My husband and I had a fantastic time in New England, New Boston and Cape Cod. We drove up to Provincetown and went whale watching for 5 hours, and came in and had a lobster salad. That would be probably the best meal I’ve ever had in my life.

Have you ever bought a decorated cake?

No, I have never bought a ready decorated cake, ever. (Mich laughs!)

Tell me something people would be surprised to hear about you

I can play the clarinet, and did in the orchestra. I’ve run half marathons and I’ve done my own quilt. I also played the lead role baddy Dandy in a pantomime when I was 14 and had to strut on stage in fishnet tights and sing the opening song “Life is just a bowl of cherries.”

Do you come from a creative family?

I do actually, not knowingly so. My mother is a qualified dress designer. That’s what she studied at Art College. She had already stopped to have a family so we never really saw that part of her life. So my mother is a qualified fashion designer and my father’s ancestors, are the master enamellers on the canal boats so I suppose that hand craftsmanship detail has shown its hand in what I do. As a qualified food scientist, I put the science together with the art and creativity in what I do.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

Literally, everywhere. I think as a creative designer, you’re never off duty. Anything and everything will lock itself away in a little portfolio in your head and you can see things which will plant a memory/ an idea that will manifest itself in so many different ways. Jewelry, architecture, fashion and nature – there are so many different elements can bring a wealth of inspiration. It’s really great.

Do you have any top tips for anyone who is thinking about getting into craft decorating?

It can feel really intimidating when you look at the top of the tree. You may think, how am I ever going to get there? I think one of the things I’ve learned as a teacher is ‘baby steps’ if you break it down and just look at the next task, you’ll find there is not one task that is unachievable. Start small, start simple. Harness what you learn, focus on getting that right before moving before you move onto the next step. That’s why my book ‘The Cake School’ is so great. A huge amount of it comes down to patience and having the right attitude and the right frame of mind. If you come in thinking ‘I’m not going to be able to do it’, you’re going to struggle. If you come in thinking ‘all I have to do is listen, learn and do what I’m being shown, told or being taught I’ll be able to achieve’. That’s what I strive at. If I can teach an Italian, without a word of English, in two days to decorate a 4 tier wedding cake, you can achieve great things. Don’t be overambitious to start with. You need to feel like you’ve had an achievement before progressing. Cupcakes is a great way for people because you don’t have to invest in a huge amount of time, money and energy or skill to achieve a really good result. That will give you the confidence to want to go on and achieve a little bit more. YouTube is a great way to see lots of short clips of ‘How tos’, but by watching your favorite stars on Create and Craft, who show you live on air, how to do and similarly what to do if things go wrong is a great way of learning.

Do you have a favorite quote?

I have lots of favorite quotes actually, “If you always do what you’ve always done you will always get what you’ve always got”

My very best quote which came from a very good friend of mine who is American and ran a multimillion dollar company in the states, who lived every day twice daily, and sadly passed away last year, he always said “Do the right things and the right things will happen”.

Another one of mine is: “there’s no fast track to experience’

How did you feel when Jinger dropped your MBE at CHA?

One of my very best TV producer friends put together the clips for “it’ll be alright on the night” clips for ITV, and I was telling him about the time when Jinger dropped my medal and he’s desperate to get that clip to show it on ITV. It felt like we were both holding it, to be honest when we dropped it I wasn’t sure if it was me or Jinger that had dropped it but, I made my little apology to her majesty the Queen live on air so that I wouldn’t be taken to the tower. It just goes to show that we all have a very good sense of humor.

What is next for Mich Turner and The Little Venice Cake Company?

It’s so exciting! I’m already in talks with Cake House Media which is the TV production company that Buddy now owns so there’s a possibility of filming with Buddy Valastro early next year. Little Venice Cake Company has also embarked on a franchise in the Middle East, which will take our fantastic spectacular cakes to the Middle East. We’ll be opening boutiques and servicing the whole of the Middle East down to Kuwait with our range of celebration cakes. We also have new kits and tools coming out which I can’t wait to come back and show you all on Create and Craft.

Create and Craft is so excited to be a part of this amazing event – we hope you can join us! For more information visit cakefair.com