Lianne Holt is testimony to the fact that a qualification in Cheffing can lead to a multi-faceted career: Since graduating in 2007, having completed the Diploma in Food Preparation and Cooking and the Diploma in Patisserie, Lianne gained practical experience working at the St. James Boutique Hotel in her home town of Knysna. On her return to Cape Town she did a stint at the Olympia Bakery in Kalk Bay and then launched Petite Bouchee, her bespoke cake making business. Furthermore, Lianne also lectures in Patisserie at Capsicum Culinary Studio, offers short courses from her own premises, is a food stylist and photographer, and is about to launch herself as a food blogger.
She enjoys the different aspects of her varied life for different reasons: When she presents a client with a cake for a special occasion, she loves the little dance for joy they make and feels good about her contribution to their special celebration. When with her students, she feels great pride at their progress and the seamless way students of all ages are integrated into the class group.
Lianne says that before a potential student embarks on studies at Capsicum, he/she should be sure to understand how demanding the food industry is, “It is not like on television.” According to Lianne, the best thing taught at Capsicum is to have a positive attitude as this will go further to initially launch your career than cooking skills will. She also remembers her experience of working with top chefs at the Good Food and Wine show as a highlight of her student years.
To start your own business, Lianne advises that you first gain as much experience in all aspects of the food industry as possible. Baking and baked products have been popularised by television and are “big” at the moment. Clients expect to see something as good or better than they have seen on TV, making it very important to always be on top of new trends. Lianne says that the current trend in desserts and baking is “deconstruction”. As an example of this she explains that The Test Kitchen, recently awarded top restaurant in SA, has a lemon meringue on their menu for dessert. An eggshell is emptied and sterilised, after which lemon curd is piped into it. Once it has set, the shell is peeled away to reveal a perfect egg, which is then placed on a biscuit base and served with meringue shards.
Lianne’s inspiration is the celebrity pastry chef, Peggy Porschen. Like Peggy, Lianne is expanding her business, Petite Bouchee, which means “little bites” into a Café. Follow her bite by bite progress on her Facebook page and her website www.petitebouchee.co.za.