Celebrity Chef

Celebration Cooking with Jessica Pedemont + Interview

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Keen to decorate dessert like a Master Chef? Then head along to Celebration Cooking on the 1st Floor 720 New Canterbury RoadCanterbury and join Jessica Pedemont in this hands on class to explore the colourful and vibrant world of of decorating cakes and desserts. Learn the art of pastry from the industry’s finest. We always seem to see those celebrity chefs on TV and they make it all look super easy by taking a pinch of this and adding a cup of that. Then transforming the ingredients into something that makes our mouth water like as if we saw a supermodel walk across the room. At the Celebration Cooking they do the same, by providing step-by-step process at an absolute beginner or seasoned level from $220 a class and then turn you into a patisserie decorator master.

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (0)Guess who made this?! Hint it’s someone who cannot cook and is VERY messy 😛

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (2)Now which door will you choose today? 😛

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (3)There is so many types of cacao in different processes. Check out the mini museum hidden at the corner.

We are first welcomed with our own individual notes, ganache, chocolate cake and tea towel in class. Yes did I mention you get your very own CAKE…no need to share for those who like it all to themselves *raise my hand*.

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (7)Getting the wafer party started 

Starting her own business called Chocolate Artisan 8 years ago and just launched her very own Sydney based cooking school early this year AND happen to be the FINALIST for the “Local Business Awards 2015“- Jessica Pedemont, a Muay Thai Kickboxer who is highly regarded pastry chef with over 18 years of experience, runs a cooking class most weekends and offer personalised class. Classes are an ideal way to learn the basics of sugar craft and with a house-made coffee made by Jessica herself on arrival and the opportunity to take home the treats you create, who wouldn’t want to participate? Not only does this bad ass chef uses her fists and elbows along with various wrestling techniques in her own cooking classes just so she can score more points, but she already won the match for being the most sweetest chef you’d ever meet.

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (9)HEY it’s Jessica Pedemont in her PINK Chef uniform.

We start off with cooking some cake lace in decorative moulds and my oh my am I impressed with how easy this looks. You so can do this at home if Jessica was next to you.

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (11)DIY cake lace moulds

Spotted an EDIBLE “Food Scenepainting made by Jessica who was nominated to make an art work for Australian Cake Decorating Network gallery at the Cake Bake Sweet Show “Sydney in Cake” exhibition. The theme was “What inspires me about Sydney?”. It is clearly evident a lot has got to do with edible ingredients…and mostly sweets I believe. It’s a NO BRAINER that there is royal icing, chocolate, modeling chocolate, rice papericing, gum paste, edible paints and wafer paper. Yeah you name it kiddo.

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (13)This painting is edible kids!

I knew straight away this girl LOVES her CHOCOLATE as she is so passionate and detailed about explaining the right ingredients for each type of chocolate cake. Who knew I found my chocolate soul mate. Teehee. Stepping away from the kitchen and kickboxing scene Jessica spends her time writing for the Australian Baking Business that offers an inside look at the news and views affecting today’s baking industry.

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (16)True face of a chocolate lover.

All cakes and ganache are provided and made from scratch by Jessica using Swiss ‘Felchlin‘ couverture Chocolate, ‘Pepe Sayabutter and buttermilk and free range eggs.

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (19)Time to set-up a round cake with chocolate ganache and create sharp edges.

Tough love was seen here as we carefully place the warm gooey ganache that was re-heated to the surface of the cake. It felt like a lifetime smoothing the surface as I tried not to remove sweat off my face when dealing with something so delicate in front of me.

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (21)You need steady surgical hands to create smooth surfaces for this cake. 

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (22)SUCCESS for Nessy Eater Girl!

We now move on to colour and handling techniques for fondant. We decided sunset orange and with confidence the cake will look even brighter.

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (23)I can see a rainbow 

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (24)During the roll of sugar fondant icing, we somehow created Mr. Blob. Teehee.

Minutes before we started our class we had the pleasure to meet Tommy Prosser, who worked at the 1 Michelin starred Gravetye Manor and 3 Michelin starred Waterside Inn. Tommy tells us he dreams of one day eating in all the world’s best restaurants. Not just a man who knows how to cook though, it turns out Tommy’s quite the fighter as well…the sporting kind of course.

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (25)Sneaky shot of Jessica Pedemont and partner in crime Tommy Prosser.

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (26)I spy C-A-K-E!!!

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (27)SPOTTED another cake display.

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (28)Best quote ever for hard workers 🙂

NOW it’s time to cover with ready to roll sugar fondant icing. Be prepared to work-out your arms as it requires all strengths from  your upper body.

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We set-up a round cake with chocolate ganache and created a magnificent smooth edging. The beauty of this cake is its simplicity. Crisp orange edges and a comfy icing fondant are a solid go-to cake.

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (30)I think my ego just boosted for making this cake look so smooth…

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (31)There may have been a competition happening between four of us students in the wafer class.

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (32)Time to make wafer rose.

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (34)Our cake lace moulds are set.

Personally the most difficult part of this class was having patience. We spent a generous amount of time outlining the shapes of the leaves, cutting out and brushing with edible glue. Sadly that wasn’t the hard part. It was making sure you didn’t glue your fingers to other wafer paper leaves. In the end we pulled through and below is what we ended up with. What do you guys think? 😀

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (37)*Woo-hoo* Made a wafer paper from scratch

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (38)Did you know that this decorative lace mould is edible?!?!

We are almost finished with making our own wafer rose paper cake and now our eyes pay close attention to Jessica as she demonstrates the final steps. I swear I was DEFEATED with Jessica’s 18+ years experience as it looks easy from here as she sticks on the cake laces within seconds.

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (39)Jessica teaching us the handling techniques.

Okay…I may not be the best cake decorator but the smell of the cake was astonishing. MUST not eat this cake till it is complete…

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (40)Steady now…

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (41)Now that’s a wrap folks of the wafer paper rose cake class.

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (42)WOAHZA! How simply was that? Hehe

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (43)It’s impossible to ignore these cakes…

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (44)Incredible hard work has been put to these wafer rose cakes. 

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (45)You don’t leave empty handed at Celebration Cooking with Jessica Pedemont. 

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (48)Top view of Nessy Eater’s Wafer Paper Rose Cake. Suspense is killing me to show you!!!!

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (49)But FIRST let me show you “behind the scenes” …#Sorrynotsorry…yeah I am childish 😛

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (50)We did it GIRLS! Totes can be a pastry chef any day…*coughs*

Jessica Pedemont has an enormous range of cooking and decorating classes to choose from including Brioche Nutella Star, Macaron Mayhem, Handbag cake and Christmas Fruit Cake just to name a few. They are perfect for all ages  even catering some of her classes for the wild kids you may have. Jessica’s classes are also an excellent  gift to give or if you are impressing the family or maybe someone special *wink wink*. With less than 4 weeks to go till Christmas i’d be be scheduling classes before they all book out. Just make sure you don’t mess with her otherwise she’ll organise a Muay Thai match and we know who will win this one. Teehee.

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (50 B)We had to do kawaii poses just for the sake of it 😀

Tell me about yourself Jessica Pedemont

I started Martial Arts when I was 15, mostly kickboxing and Muay Thai. I’ve always been athletic. I progressed to mixed martial arts, competing on a professional world level, then eventually was asked to do freestyle wrestling for Australia and competed at Oceana. As a kid, I was a national gymnast. I’m always game to learn new things. I love to travel, meet new people, different cultures.

When did you realise being a Pastry Chef was your passion? And do you have any passions outside of cooking?

While I still also do work as a savoury chef, my passion for pastry was a natural progression. I’d trained in both, as you do. Other passions, as above, include sport, well-being and travel.

How did the opportunity at Celebration Cooking come about?

Andrew, the owner of Celebration Cakes, is someone I’ve known in the industry for many years and he offered me this space where I’m current teaching. It’s been a great opportunity to have a dedicated facility so close to my home.

Tell me about being in the FINALIST for the “Local Business Awards 2015”? What was rushing through your mind when you received the news?

It was a pretty unbelievable as I’d only just opened. It’s been a great privilege to be recognised for our work.

What personal quirks does your team tease you about?

Since fitness is important to me, I still like to balance all my cooking with a good workout…

What’s your process for coming up with a new cooking/decorating classes?

We do take a lot of student feedback, recommendations…I’m always open to new ideas. Often my students will ask for things…which is really encouraging. Classes for kids, water colour cookies, marzipan, etc.

Is there a chef that you admire?

I admire chefs who are hard-working, who have a sensitive palette, who have skill, talent, poise…who are deeply passionate and elegant to watch work…oh and and a sense of adventure, a great pedigree, amazing experiences in kitchens…it makes me think of my partner Tommy Prosser. He’s also very humble, which is a killer trait, so I don’t mind mentioning him here. I also like what Jaime Oliver has done. Doing a lot to help communities, get people to think and act, love his fresh approach to food, even making good/healthy eating easy and quick where appropriate.

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Photos by Vanny Tang

Disclaimer: Nessy Eater attended Wafer Paper Rose Cake, thanks to Celebration Cooking.

Opinions are however, Nessy Eater’s own.

Like to know more about Nessy Eater food adventures?

You can follow Nessy Eater on Instagram / Facebook / Twitter or feel free to leave a YUMMY comment 😀

Nadia Lim’s My Food Bag “Easy Weeknight Meals”‏ Book Launch + Lamb Recipe

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Glad the stormy weather from last week is finally over. During the crazy mother nature being oh so harsh to Sydney, I decided to have a lunch date with 2011 MasterChef New Zealand Winner Nadia Lim to celebrate the launch of her third cookbook, “Easy Weeknight Meals“. This book showcases Nadia’s passion for everyday good food cooked at home. The book includes a delicious, well-balanced, nutritious, yet simple recipes that anyone can follow, including myself. Teehee.

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Easy Weeknight Meals Book Launch

When I mentioned to my Kiwi friends that I was going to see Nadia Lim…they went ballistic. Nadia Lim is seriously a household name in New Zealand. She’s basically like Poh Ling Yeow in Sydney, except based in New Zealand (I hope I didn’t offend anyone). Nadia hosts her own TV show on the Asian Food Channel and has her own online healthy food community called The Healthy Food Channel.

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Congratulations to Nadia Lim and My Food Bag 

Arriving super early to the My Food Bag Head Quarters, I managed to have the whole charcuterie platter to myself…well almost.

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Charcuterie platter

Nadia Lim is not only an award-winning cook and champion of Master Chef NZ but she’s the Head Chefdietitian and co-founder of My Food Bag. My Food Bag has just been recently landed in Australia as it originated from New Zealand 2 years ago. The idea of My Food Bag is making healthy eating as simple, easy and delicious as possible at home. So I heard from a birdie that you don’t have to do the grocery shopping because My Food Bag does that ALL for you and they deliver straight to your door on Sundays. WINNING on saving time and carrying all the grocery bags to and from the car.

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My Food Bag Sample Bag

My Food Bag Book Launch _Nessy Eater (5A)

Loved the decor

When I was told that I was going to be sitting next to a MasterChef winner you should have seen the look on my face…it was like someone had just asked me to their school formal. My hands were all sweaty and my heart was beating so fast. I couldn’t contain my excitement.

My Food Bag Book Launch _Nessy Eater (5B)

Can you guess who was Nessy Eater Girl sitting next to?

But before my date sits next to me, Co-Founder of My Food BagTheresa Turmeric Gattung and Nadia Lim tells us more about My Food Bag and asks us all to give ourselves a nickname with our favourite fruit or vegetable. I named myself Vanny Mango Tang causes I love mangoes. I mean who doesn’t like mangoes?! If you don’t then I don’t think we can be friends…KIDDING!

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Co-Founder of My Food Bag-Theresa Turmeric Gattung and Nadia Lim

Did you know? Nadia Lim started her passion for food when she was 12 years old and all because of one guy, Jamie Oliver. In the television series The Naked Chef, Nadia truly believed she would one day write her own cook book and perhaps call it “Foodie in a Nudie“. Although all three books did not have the word foodie or nudie in the one sentence, I’m sure it will be coming soon. Fingers crossed her fourth book would be called that.

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2011 MasterChef New Zealand Winner Nadia Lim

Time for lunch and we have a delicious green mix salad with slices of shepard avocado, sprinkles of pomegranate seeds. Did you know? Shepard avocado have a smooth green skin and golden buttery flesh which doesn’t turn brown when cut like a hass avocado. Crazy! I think I’m converting to a shepard avocado from now on.

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Eat your greens kids!

It’s pretty intense seeing Nadia cook in the My Food Bag Head Quarters Test Kitchen. Was awesome to see her in action whip up the Chermoula Chicken Drums with Moroccan Couscous and Yoghurt Dressing. The chicken was ridiculously flavoursome and married so well with the couscous. I had to sneakily grab another piece of chicken because it was just everything a girl could ask for.

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Chermoula Chicken Drums with Moroccan Couscous and Yoghurt Dressing

After graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Science in Human Nutrition and Post Graduate Diploma in Dietetics, Nadia spent a few years as a clinical dietitian. When MasterChef NZ came up, she thought she’d give it a go and BAM 2011 MasterChef New Zealand Winner. Fast forward a few years Nadia is now writing recipes and nutritional articles to developing and testing recipes for My Food Bag. She jokingly tells us that “My Food Bag saves marriages” and for the adults “Better sex life too“. I can’t confirm or guarantee that because I’m not married nor am I an adult. HAHAHA!

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Nadia making our DESSERT

Our next dish was awesome too that it blew my mind. My face went blank when Nadia told me what was in the Chocolate Mousse. Only three ingredients she tells us and they are dark chocolate that’s 70% melted, coconut milk and avocado. Whhhaaaaaat?! Are you reading it wrong…AVOCADO in chocolate mousse. No sir you are not reading it wrong. There was avocado in my chocolate mousse and I couldn’t even taste it at all! It was light and I would certainly re-eat this again.

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There’s avocado in this chocolate mousse!

And I thought meeting Nadia Lim was enough…nope there was more dessert. She offered all of us a slice of her easy peasy pear tart that’s made with puff pastry, maple syrup and bosc pears. I admit this dessert lingers on the palate and in a good way off course. Before we all waved our hands to say good-bye to Nadia and the My Food Bag Team, each guest received a My Food Bag mystery gift bag (see first image) that contains a variety of herbs, spices, fruits, veggies and two thick pieces of lamb. The My Food Bag team challenged their guests to cook something using these ingredients. Keep scrolling to see what I made…

My Food Bag Book Launch _Nessy Eater (10B)

Pear tart

Applause for scrolling down. Well we all know Australians love their lamb and for me to be honest it’s never been easy cook lamb. I’ve always had difficulty trying to find the right recipe and luckily I managed to cheat my way through using only the My Food Bag mystery gift bag (see first image). Yes, I cheated…using herbs and spices. I hope you all enjoy this dish.

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Nessy Eater’s Easy Peasy Lamb Recipe Challenge

The following ingredients you will need for Nessy Eater’s Easy Peasy Lamb Recipe:

10 mins to prepare

30 mins to cook

2 servings

100 grams of Cherry Tomatoes

60 ml Olive Oil (3 tablespoons)

300 grams Lamb Striploin

3 Tablespoons Red Meat Spice (Prefer Sami’s Kitchen)

2 Tablespoons Rosemary (Chopped)

100 grams French Style Lentils

1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

4 Fresh Mint Leaves

2 Sage Leaves (Chopped)

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Challenge Bag thanks to My Food Bag

 Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c. Cook 100 grams of French Style Lentils in pot of boiling water for 15 minutes or until medium-soft.
  2. Meanwhile rub lamb with 2 tablespoons of chopped rosemary and sage, then add 2 tablespoons of oil. Continue to rub until the oil and herb is absorbed to the lamb. Add 3 tablespoons of red meat spice. Continue to rub until lamb is covered in spice. Set aside to marinate while you prepare the rest of the meal.My Food Bag Book Launch _Nessy Eater (14)
  3. Toss 100 grams of cherry tomatoes in 1/4 tsp, season and wrap tomatoes loosely in foil. Place foil on baking tray. Roast for 10 minutes until soft. Make sure to check every 3 minutes.My Food Bag Book Launch _Nessy Eater (15)
  4. Cook marinated lamb in a frypan over medium heat for 3 mintues or until browned. Turn and cook for a further 4 minutes.My Food Bag Book Launch _Nessy Eater (16)
  5. Rest the lamb, cover tightly in foil and place it in oven for 12 mintues for medium, or until done to your liking. My Food Bag Book Launch _Nessy Eater (17)
  6. Drain lentils and toss with 1 tablespoon lemon juice and remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Season.
  7. To serve, scatter lentils in the middle of the plate, top with slices of lamb. Scatter tomatoes and 4 mint leaves. Drizzle the remaining lamb juice from the foil onto the plate.

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Final product of Nessy Eater’s Lamb Recipe. What do you guys think?

It was a fantastic experience meeting the one and only Nadia Lim and celebrating her launch of her new cookbook “Easy Weeknight Meals“. I learnt a lot about My Food Bag using fresh, local and seasonal ingredients to create delicious, healthy meals that are not only good for your body but at the same time should also look and taste great. I really look forward to seeing My Food Bag bring energy and enthusiasm to Australian couples and families.

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2011 MasterChef New Zealand Winner Nadia Lim

 Photos by Vanny Tang

Disclaimer: Nessy Eater attended “Easy Weeknight Meals”‏ Book Launch thanks to Porter Novelli.

Nessy Eater received challenge bag thanks to My Food Bag.

Opinions are however, Nessy Eater’s own.

Like to know more about Nessy Eater food adventures?

You can follow Nessy Eater on Instagram / Facebook / Twitter or feel free to leave a YUMMY comment 😀