ICING On THE CAKE: “Rustic, and elegant, is how Taylor Stainthorpe describes her style of cake-decorating. Not a fan of fondant cakes, Taylor says she prefers to use butter-cream or ganache icings which she says “have a sharper, cleaner finish, and taste a whole lot better”. Photo Troy Baker D7857-14

FORMER Whakatane girl Taylor Stainthorpe has returned home, bringing with her the finely-honed patisserie skills she has spent the past five years developing.

Newly employed as head baker and cake decorator at Little Goose Eatery, Taylor has been making her mark in the hotly contested world of cake decorating after working for several years for Christchurch-based patisserie giant, Divine Cakes and Desserts.

Taylor had left the Eastern Bay after completing a diploma of Patisserie and Baking in Rotorua in 2014, going on to work for a French patisserie cafe in Christchurch before accepting what she says was a great opportunity to work for Divine.

“They have four cafes and an online business, and I learnt so much in my time there,” she says.

Her role as cake-decorating manager saw her responsible for the company’s cake designs, both administratively, and hands-on, as well as creating “small goods” for the company; macaroons, slices and biscuits, stacked jar desserts and other “wee decadent things”.

“It doesn’t feel like a job when you love something so much,” she says, “and I really love what I do. It’s not work at all when you have such a passion”.

And being employed in the role meant not only three years of intensive experience, “learning so much from their highly trained Singaporean pastry chef,” she says, but also, learning much about the administrative side of running a business.

“I’m so grateful to have had that opportunity.”

But Taylor says it was time to come home. Having been home on holiday previously and inevitably finding herself making cakes for people here, she says it gave her a good feeling.

“It felt good. All of my family is here, and I have really missed them.”

When Taylor’s mother injured her back recently, she says it was a sign that it was time to come home.

Working for owner Patikura Wetini at Little Goose Eatery is proving to be a good fit, she says, with the cafe on the verge of implementing several new initiatives.

She says things are on track for December 17 which will see the cafe opening for dinners for the first time.

A full liquor licence is due shortly. In other initiatives, the eatery will soon set up in the long-since vacated cafe at Whakatane Airport, and Fridays at Little Goose Eatery have been deemed Doughnut Fridays, with specialty donuts available.

And, importantly for Taylor, new initiatives in catering and event services have occurred in response to a growing number of clients looking for a specially designed celebratory cake for their event. That, she says, “is where I came in”.

“It’s a great fit for me, I’m in my element.” As well as baking and creating sweet treats and desserts for the café and its events, Taylor says she has the freedom to use her creativity in designing celebration cakes.

“I’ve always been creative. I’ve always loved arts and crafts,” she says, “I could never sit at a desk all day”. But it took a while after leaving school before recognising her long-time love of baking could result in career.

“The inspiration for it all definitely came from my mother,” she says. “She was always an avid home-baker and I always loved baking with her.

“Doing what I do now just feels right. It’s like finally knowing exactly who I am.”

Little Goose Eatery currently opens from 7.30am-4pm, seven days a week.

Taylor can be contacted at Little Goose Eatery or directly on 027 9099896.