Dear readers and tea lovers everywhere,
Welcome to a regular feature of our blog,
‘Afternoon tea with ….
people of note’
Today we’re taking tea with Bonnie Gordon, one of Canada’s leading wedding cake designers. The operative words are wedding and cake and designer. Bonnie doesn’t just decorate a cake – her cakes are architectural wonders. See her cake below.
She is a trained educator who has worked in museums and she is the founder and director of the Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionary Arts, a registered private career college in Toronto, specializing in cake design as well as baking and pastry arts. This afternoon Bonnie’s go to tea is goji berries in boiled water. The berries are plumping in the boiling water and releasing their divine nutrients. Her Ladyship (me!) pours two cups of tea and we begin our conversation.
You have a renaissance-type background – the journey to college founder has certainly been eclectic. What prepared you for this journey?
I have a degree in Fine Arts from Concordia University in Montreal. I followed this up with a teaching certificate and a Masters in the Science of Education. Then I was lucky to work in educational programming in museums in New York, Ottawa and Toronto. I feel this education and experience were a big help in starting the school.
Do you remember the first cake you baked?
I baked my first cake at the age of 12 – from a mix, but I did not use oven mitts to take the cake pan out of the oven.
Ouch! Weren’t you deterred from baking?
No, over the years I started designing cakes; I started thinking about a career change; I took some professional development courses in the industry and then started to give classes in cake design.
So you started a school?
Yes. From these classes in cake decorating and design, I developed a curriculum, hired and trained talented individuals who share my passion. I created wedding cakes and taught classes out of a cake studio for two years while developing a comprehensive curriculum that would become the standard for all classes taught at the school.
“Make something beautiful” seems to be the mantra or motto of your school.
I am a cake designer and I believe, as do all the faculty, that everybody loves to create beauty. We nurture this creative impulse.
Your school is very specialized – you focus on cake design. Why?
Bonnie Gordon College is first and foremost an art school. Our focus is to teach students proper skills and techniques AND to also foster individual creativity and vision.
If you could deign a cake for any fictional character, who would it be?
Galadriel from Lord of the Rings. The forest theme is magical.
Favourite comfort food?
Almond butter with banana on spelt toast.
How do you spend your downtime?
I like to walk and try to walk one hour everyday.
How do you celebrate big moments?
Best adventure ever?
Jewelry from my favourite jeweler. She crafts the most exquisite pieces.
Who, or what, is your style inspiration?
My mother was a fashion designer and her father was in men’s clothing, so I feel I come from a line of creative professionals. Nature is very inspiring too.
Quickest mood boost?
Going for a fast walk.
Bonnie, it’s been lovely to take tea with you and have this conversation. Thank you!