Baking was something that I picked up whilst recovering from kidney and pancreas transplants that I received in 2011. I picked up a book about macarons and figured that they looked simple enough. I am legally blind, so this was a bigger challenge than I had realised, but managed to not just nail my first attempt, but consistently get them right and that was it, I'd found my passion!
I took this passion all the way to reality TV, as a contestant on season 1 of Zumbos Just Desserts in 2016, and a step further the following year by formally training as a pastry chef. During my training, I broke my hand which nearly stopped my new career before it had even started, and it was during this time that the idea of supporting people in similar situations to my own popped into my head, and I found my purpose in my charity, The Sweetest Gift.
What is your business mission?
The mission of The Sweetest Gift is to support transplant recipients and people living with chronic illnesses, many of whom suffer from social isolation, mental health issues and financial disadvantage due to the changing and sometimes unpredictable needs of their health conditions. Our primary focus is to create a stable, understanding and socially inclusive workplace - a social enterprise dessert restaurant - the first of its kind in Australia, where these people will be able to work in a range of roles and disciplines that suit their needs, wants and abilities.
Do you have any advice for someone else who might be going through a transplant?
Waiting is one of the most difficult things that you will do on this journey. Having a positive mindset will help you get through the dark days and hard times, and having a group like The Sweetest Gift can really help keep your spirits up - we're here and we understand.
What is your personal favourite cake or sweet treat?
I love a good croissant - there's a lot of time, love and energy that goes into them (the best take up to 3 days to make!) and there's nothing like that first buttery, flaky, crunchy bite. Ooh la la!
The best tip that I can give to anyone learning to bake or make sweets is to weigh and measure EVERYTHING! There's no room for winging it in a pastry kitchen, it's a place for precision and patience - very difficult at times!
We heard you are a fellow Review Girl?
I am most certainly a dedicated #ReviewGirl! My first purchase was way back in 2014 - I loved the bright colours of the Vintage Rose dress, and as soon as I had tried it on, it was love 💕 I still have that dress, and still adore wearing her!
I adore my Strawberry Fields dress! I often pair it with my favourite monogrammed red Chessie Cardigan and navy Zabelle Flats. It also pulls together with my red Maddie Bow Belt.
What were your favourite pieces from the new collection launch?
I loved the marshmallow-y goodness of the Sovereign Jacket, the super flattering Selena Ponte Dress, and the timeless versatility of the Purr-fect Skirt. And so much pink! What's not to love?
Where can our audience follow you and support your great cause?
Head to our website where you can find out more about us, order our handmade sweet treats, and donate to support us open our first restaurant.