Yolanda, a cake and pastry designer.
Favourite place on earth?
My favourite place that I’ve seen so far would have to be North India.
How would you describe yourself in five words?
Outgoing, Uncoordinated, Passionate, Positive and Awkward.
How did you get started in doing cake and pastry design?
It’s always been about food for me. From a young age I’ve enjoyed cooking, baking, eating and sharing food with people I love. After I finished high school, I spent half a year working in front-of-house hospitality jobs and spent the second half of the year travelling Europe. While I was away the thing I missed the most was my kitchen and I spent my trip discovering new foods and researching new recipe ideas. I returned home in 2014 and studied patisserie at William Angliss Melbourne while working at Candied Bakery (in Spotswood, Victoria). I started out making birthday cakes for friends and family and eventually I started taking orders.
I took my next big overseas trip last year where I spent most of the year in India, Vietnam and Japan. Surprisingly I found Asia to be a far more inspirational trip than Europe. The captivating colours and smells and scenery were overwhelming to all my senses and I think the most motivational thing was not having an accessible kitchen. As I was unable to cook I instead started to draw food designs and write random food descriptions. I began to write down almost everything new and exciting I tasted and would plan on how to create my own version when I returned home. When I did return home I did nothing but cook. I started to post photos on Instagram and before long I was taking custom cake orders.
What’s your drink of choice?
I don’t have one drink of choice. I love beverages almost as much as I love food. My favourites are gin, whisky and red wine.
Who or what inspires you?
I would say I have many inspirational people and things in my life but the person that inspired me in pastry was my good friend Natasha. I worked with her at Candied Bakery and although her skill level and creativity was above mine by a million she always encouraged me, shared her wisdom and asked my opinion and advice even though she didn’t need it. Her creations are insanely beautiful and delicious. I’ve always looked up to her and her desserts.
Where would we find you on a Sunday morning?
My favourite thing about my life at the moment is that I don’t have a regular schedule. Every week and day is set out differently. I work part time at a custom cake shop called Don’t Tell Charles and we host workshops on Sundays. So some Sundays you would find me there or maybe baking in my own kitchen or maybe still out from Saturday night, it’s never the same two weeks in a row.
What are your plans for the future?
I don’t know exactly what the future holds just yet, I’m currently really enjoying my freedom. I hope to stay at Don’t Tell Charles for a couple of years and continue to grow with the business part time and continue with my own work part time. I plan to travel as much as possible in the next few years as well but I guess the ultimate goal is to have my own patisserie eventually.
Where do you feel most creative?
I feel most creative in my family kitchen by far. It’s the same kitchen I’ve been cooking in since my dad first showed me how to make scrambled eggs when I was six and I’ve always felt comfortable and creative in that space.
Who are the women who you look up to and why?
It’s going to sound so cliché but the woman I look up to is my mum. She really is everything I hope to be. I admire everything about her. She has such a warm personality, always smiling and laughing, the kind of person that makes you feel comfortable and relaxed as soon as she’s around. She is the hardest working, most caring women I know with strong values but an open mind. She has also been my biggest support in regards to cooking.
Where can we get our hands on your creations?
My cakes are all made to order so each one is unique to the person it’s created for. You can find my contact details on Instagram: @yolandawhelan