Dagenham pastry chef wins patisserie award

Leigh-Chantal Caesar from Dagenham on her first shift as a pastry chef.

Leigh-Chantal Caesar from Dagenham on her first shift as a pastry chef. - Credit: Barking and Dagenham College

A pastry chef from Dagenham has found her calling after winning a patisserie competition and securing a new job.

Leigh-Chantal Caesar, 35, started out making cupcakes for her partner and four girls about six years ago, with the feedback she received so positive she decided to start her own business.

To help grow the business and expand her baking knowledge, Leigh-Chantal signed up for the patisserie course at Barking and Dagenham College.

Cupcakes made and decorated by Leigh-Chantal Caesar from Dagenham

Leigh-Chantal Caesar’s gold winning cupcakes. - Credit: Barking and Dagenham College

Seeing her talent, her tutors encouraged her to enter patisserie competitions as part of the International Salon Culinaire hospitality and catering show 2021.

The competitions were held online this year due to Covid.

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The sugar craft and cake decorating competitions are a showpiece section, within which Leigh-Chantal entered the decorated Easter cupcakes category.

Leigh-Chantal, whose cupcakes won the gold "best in class" award, said: “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.

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“I was quite emotional when I found out I had won and pretty shocked - it’s amazing.”

Entrants were asked to draw on their creativity and skills to make and decorate six individual cupcakes using two different designs with a spring theme.

All decorations used had to be completely edible. 

But winning gold in the competition is not all Leigh-Chantal has achieved.

Having studied at college and realised she’d found a new love for all things pastry, she wanted to make a career within the patisserie world.

Now she has fulfilled that dream, having started as a pastry chef at The Bell Inn in Essex village Horndon-on-the-Hill last month.

Leigh-Chantal said: “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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