Pastry 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.

Celebration Cooking_Nessy Eater (51)

Photos by Vanny Tang

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

Opinions are however, Nessy Eater’s own.

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Legendary Pastry Chef Anna Polyviou takes on Shangri-La

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For a few weeks now a dessert degustation hype has been the new next thing towards sweet tooth fans and I believe there’s a social media hype going on around Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and so on.

After years managing pastry and baking operations at Bather’s Pavilion and featured in Lux Bite dessert night 2012, just recently Sydney Shangri-la Hotel has welcomed a very talented award-winning passionate pastry chef Anna Polyviou, as their new executive pastry chef.

She and her intriguing team have established their very first dessert degustation promotion in June in Shangri-La’s pastry kitchen lab. It takes place every Wednesday, but unfortunately last night was the final session. (Seats limited to 20 people per session, $105 per person).

Only 80 lucky people experienced this exclusive event and I was truly thrilled to be one of them. *Insert happy dance*

Fingers crossed that Anna plans to create a few more of these scrumdiddilyumpshus events. I’d describe this degustation overall to be sugar orgasm on every plate!

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Thank You Bonnie for organising this awesome dessert degustation!

We know degustation can be a tad traditional at times. Unlike a “usual” degustation, Anna took her inspirations to a whole new level, introducing a casual and relaxed atmosphere, where 20 of us watched our desserts being hand crafted and decorated in front of us by Anna and her hard working team .

Seeing  the drama , chaos and entertainment in the kitchen, I seriously thought there would be a few hiccups or two, seeing as I was watching my dessert being prepared right before my eyes.  I didn’t need to worry as the entire evening went smoothly without a fuss .

Due to traffic and weather I happened to arrive half an hour earlier than the scheduled event. I sat on the large comfy, cozy sofas of the lounge amongst the other fortunate guests when the extremely friendly and professional Shangri-La team , mostly Kevin greeted me with a shiny champagne glass of NV Chandon.

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Glass of NV Chandon

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After a few sips, we were then escorted through the maze of the hotel to the spacious pastry kitchen, where Anna and her team warmly greeted us. Anna is fun and quite a down to earth character!

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Managed to take a few photos of Anna’s Team preparing our coma inducing desserts!

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We were greeted again by Anna and her team and explained to us what would we be expecting during the evening.  In my opinion just before the degustation had begun my expectation was sky high. I expected a lot of chocolate throughout the evening and that’s usual. But I was utterly wrong! She had created a “tongue-smacking” experience I cannot imagine. It’s not just chocolate! We had a variety of seasonal fruits that made it far more interesting.

To kick start, was a mouth watering dessert called “Anna’s Liquid Mess“ –  Vanilla bavarois crème shaped in a semi sphere with what Anna calls “holes and everybody loves it” covered in pink cocoa powder, beneath a crunchy base served with freshly cut strawberries, a dollop of strawberry sorbet , pop rocks, baby basil and meringue. An appealing tasty dish! The pop rock was a blast full of fuzziness’ in my mouth. Most likeable dessert of the night.

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Anna’s Liquid Mess: Vanilla crème, strawberry, popping rocking

It was very eye catching to watch the chefs  pour a jug of warm syrupy strawberry coulis on the dessert, instantly liquefying the white chocolate sphere and creating  a complete appetizing  dish.

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Next dessert “Lemon Twist“, was a lemon soufflé drizzled with lemon curd sauce.  It truly was a twist with a small test tube filled with lime sherbet for the sugar fever lovers and a spoon full of lemon . This was a “toe-curling” outcome with the acidic texture, crunchy but soft in the soufflé, eye popping with the additional lime fizzy test tube. It was heavenly tangy!

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“Lemon Twist”: Lemon meringue, lemon curd, lemon fizz

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Lemon sorbet

In between our splendid desserts, “Re-freshen Apples” was the palate purifier infused with the element of apples. As a result it was pleasing to the palate as a cleanser.

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Re-freshen Apples

Anna mentioned this dessert was inspired by her close friend John Ralley, a pastry chef at Wildfire.

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Anna assembling “Re-freshen Apples”

The unique shaped glass contained with sweet and sour apples,  green apple jelly, a taste of cinnamon crumbles, fennel sorbet and caramelised with white chocolate crème. To complete the dish one layer of crunchy almond tuile. Incredibly amazing! Looked like a garden-fresh dessert.

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The following dessert, “Caramelize me Casey“, was an absolutely sinful dish and a personal experience for Anna, as she said she put it together for her partner, including all her beloved flavours and textures like candied popcorn, fresh banana puree, my favourite passionfruit sorbet and caramel ice cream. I was really fascinated with the chocolate sponge.

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“Caramelize me”-Banana, caramel, passionfruit, popcorn

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This dessert is fit for a king! With a mix of savoury, yet a honey-glazed taste of chocolate gateau. In my opinion a sensational rollicking dessert!

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Our last dessert “Lick” a finger-licking parfait ice-cream yoghurt attached on a wooden popsicle stick topped with crunchy caramel with liquefied pearl mango jelly all around prepared by a friend of hers overseas, crunchy honeycomb, the bottom sprinkled with chocolate crumbles and garnished with baby herbs. A splendid way to bring the degustation to an end.

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“Lick”: Yoghurt ice-cream, honeycomb, mango pearls and cacao

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20 guests were attracted towards “Take me home” stand, where Oreo and Honeycomb prettified into appealing candied chocolate lollipops with a happy face, additionally modified the likable Snickers bars and Red Skin macarons.

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“Take me home” stand

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Anna’s Lolli Pop

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Anna at Shangri-la (39)Anna’s Snicker Bar

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Anna’s Red Skin macarons

I was quite surprised I was the only one who brought an SLR, perhaps camera phones tend to be the new hip thing?

It was such an unforgettable memorable experience and opportunity to see Anna Polyviou and her team work their magic with sweets! On a side note, I made a few fanatical foodie friends. This degustation is a jaw dropping work of dessert art! Thank you Anna and her team for making a magical sugar high evening for us.

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Had a lovely chat with the Amazing Anna !

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You know… just me & Anna ! 🙂

Photos by Vanny Tang

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