From education to employment

Baking her way to success

Leigh-Chantal Caesar

A Barking & Dagenham College (@BarkingCollege) student has had a double win – earning herself first place in a prestigious patisserie competition and bagging herself a new job as a pastry chef! 

Leigh-Chantal Caesar, 35, from Dagenham, first started her patisserie journey making cup cakes for her partner and four girls some six years ago. The comments she received back from them were so good that she decided to start her own cup cake business, a job she quickly realised that she loved doing. To help grow the business, Leigh-Chantal decided to expand on her baking knowledge, so signed up for the patisserie course at Barking & Dagenham College. Since then, she hasn’t looked back! 

Seeing what talent Leigh-Chantal had, her tutors encouraged her, alongside some of her fellow students, to enter the patisserie competitions as part of the Hospitality and Catering Show 2021. The competitions are well known within the industry and competition is tough. The sugar craft and cake decorating competitions, in particular, are a showpiece section of the event, and it was within these that Leigh-Chantal entered the ‘Decorated Cup Cake’ competition. Giving entrants the chance to show off their creativity and skills, competitors had to make and decorate six individual cup cakes, with two different designs, on a spring theme, with all decorations having to be 100% edible.   

Leigh-Chantal need not have been nervous – her fantastic cakes won her the gold ‘best in class’!  As Leigh-Chantal says:

“I wasn’t going to enter the competitions at all as I didn’t think I had the confidence but my tutors really supported me to do it, and I’m so glad I did.  I was quite emotional when I found out I had won and pretty shocked!  It’s amazing!” 

A gold win though is not all Leigh-Chantal has achieved. Having now studied patisserie at college, she realised she had found a new love for all things pastry and wanted to have a career within the patisserie world. Now she has fulfilled that dream too, having been made a pastry chef at The Bell Inn, Horndon on the Hill.   

Leigh-Chantal couldn’t be happier.  As she adds:

“Doing the course at College has totally changed my whole life. I’ve expanded my knowledge, I’ve realised what career I want to get into, I’ve entered and won competitions and now I’ve got a new job too! Being a pastry chef is hard work, and hot, but I absolutely love it.” 

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