Lin O’Brien, Chief Executive of HCL, said: “I’m so pleased for the four staff who won individual awards. Encouraging our staff to enter competitions such as these is just one of the ways we support them to achieve their own personal goals.”
Finishing Touches is a culinary display competition aimed at all levels of staff, employed in any aspect of local authority catering, capable of producing excellent craft pieces. It provides entrants with the opportunity to show off skills which would not normally be seen during their everyday profession.
Tina Lee, a Chef Manager from Hemel, scooped Silver in the Decorated Celebration Cake category. Tina, who runs the kitchen at Adeyfield School, drew on her past experience to decorate the three tier celebration cake. “I’ve created sugar roses and ivy to adorn the cake, alongside lacework, as this doesn’t seem to be used as much anymore.”
Although Tina has been working for HCL for more than 10 years this is the first time she has entered the competition, having been encouraged to enter by her line manager. “I’ve made a few decorated cakes for special events within HCL in the past few months and my manager had seen my work and suggested that I ought to enter. I’m delighted to have won awards in two categories.” Tina also won Bronze in the Floral Sugarcraft Display category.
Brigitta Rafael, a General Catering Assistant who works at the Thomas Alleyne Academy in Stevenage, scooped Silver in the Filled / Covered Sponge category and Jean Potter, a Contract Supervisor within the Stevenage area, was awarded Bronze in the same category.
Brigitta’s creation was a Blueberry Vertical Sponge cake, made from classic sponge roulade, classic chocolate sponge, blueberry buttercream and adorned with fresh blueberries and handmade chocolate decorations.
Brigitta said: “I’m really happy to get a Silver award. I won Bronze last year, so it’s great to go one better this year. I’ve always enjoyed making cakes so it’s lovely to have my work recognised in this way.”
Jean’s Turkish inspired creation contained layers of sponge in three different flavours; pistachio, rosewater and vanilla. This was then covered with white chocolate frosting and adorned with pistachio macaroons, Turkish delight, chocolate roses and butterflies and strawberries.
Jean had entered the competition before and knew that creating an award winning cake would take some time. “I put lots of hours into the pre-preparation and I spent most evenings last week perfecting the decoration. It is hard to juggle around my day job but it’s what makes me buzz. Sometimes I think I must be mad but it’s important for me to make time for the things that I enjoy doing.”
Serena Hosier, a Cook Manager from Hemel, scooped Silver in the Floral Sugarcraft Display category with a sugarcraft display of lilies and roses which took more than 20 hours to create. Serena’s dedication to her craft has seen her finishing work in the afternoon and working on her exquisite creation in the afternoons and into the evening over the last month.
This was the first time that Serena had entered the competition and she’s enjoying the challenge: “I enjoy producing sugarcraft as cake toppers and the Finishing Touches competition is a wonderful opportunity for me to extend my skills and produce a large floral display.”