Cut of class


by Donna Sealy

If Laura Agard wasn’t a pastry chef she would have been an artist.

Her attention to detail, her precision, and her realistic depiction of pictures and fruits make her cakes look like works of art.

How many times have you had a cake and didn’t want to cut it because it looked like a work of art? If you scroll through the photos on her Facebook page, Cakey Cakies, it is temptation.

“When I’m finished covering the cake I leave it blank and it depends on what the customer wants. If they want a Dora cake that is something I have to premeditate what it is I’m going to do. For those who’re not sure what they want to do or those who want an exact shape of something I have think about what I’m going to do and how I’m going to shape it, whether it’s texture wise, what I want to put into it.

“Sometimes I would sit and draw what I want or what I think it should look like. A few people know this, if I didn’t do culinary arts I would’ve gone to BCC and do art, and I probably would’ve majored in graphic design… I sometimes cut out [the design] piece by piece or I hand paint it,” the 23-year-old said.

Agard, who operates from her home in St. Philip, said she hopes to open a shop as well as branch into wedding cakes in the near future. Making cakes is her passion and for the last 20 months she has been working hard to make sure it thrives.

She has her aunt Hazel Springer to thank for getting her interested in baking and her parents for allowing her to explore her options and fulfill a desire.

“When I finished my first degree, the Associate Degree in Culinary Arts, I was trying to figure out which part of the kitchen I would like to go in as I’m an all rounder. When I did my bachelor’s [degree [at] the Florida Culinary Institute (Lincoln Culinary Institute) my class was right in front of a cake icing class… I wanted to start off perfecting the art in pastry and cakes, I still have an interest in everything else but I wanted my first business to be in cakes. It is one of the hardest parts of the kitchen and it takes a lot of patience, regardless of what anybody says it takes a lot of patience and perfection to be able to do what I do.

“My aunt used to bake a lot of cakes and she would incorporate me and my sister when she did catering for people on a weekend… I followed on with the culinary arts. I found a great interest in cakes and how pretty they looked and I wanted to do something different,” Agard explained.

When she returned to Barbados she worked with John Hazzard, at a hotel and a villa before starting on her own.

“When I finished school I still had student loans to pay [off] and I had to buckle down to try to balance those and buy my equipment. I had a lot of help from my father, David Agard, when I started and he still helps me with my business,” the pastry chef said. Before she opened Cakey Cakies she was frustrated in her efforts to gain experience as she was told “people couldn’t afford me” because she had her degree looking back on it, she said that all she wanted was to have a chance to work on her craft. For her this was one of the lessons she learnt and lead her to the villa where she was given the freedom to do what she wanted.

However, the challenge came when she had to fill the orders from clients outside of work and she took a break to start the business.

How did she come up with the name?

“When you get to know me, you will see it is my personality, when I’m finished a cake I will say I’ve finished a cakie cakie. I said it’s kind of quirky, it suits my personality and I’ll go with it,” she explained and then chuckled.

One day she will be heading back to the villa as she misses it. She said she met “so many people of different nationalities, from different countries, different types of food, it was a good experience” but for now she will continue to bake those cakes and make people happy.

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