Cooking Superstar

Ann Pickard Sugarcraft

Cook along with #CookingSuperstar Ann from Ann Pickard Sugarcraft

Ann Pickard
Cake Decorator, Sugarcraft Artist and Demonstrator

When did you first get in to cooking and do you remember the first recipe you tried?

I've looked baking for as long as I can remember. I recall making cookies with my mum and sister when I was about 4 years old. It was probably the simplest recipe we could find as I don't think we were very patient with lots of ingredients at that age.
Much later, when I trained as a baker I realised I liked the creativity and freedom or cake decorating best - and wasn’t too keen on the early mornings either!

What's your kitchen like and how do you keep organized when cooking?

I have a dedicated workroom for creating my cakes. It's got lots of surface space so I can have a clear view of what I'm creating in sugarpaste. I'm generally quite organised so I have all my materials, tools and moulds to hand but not cluttering the working space.

Some of the large wedding cakes I decorate need lots of working room, especially if I'm piping on a turntable.
It also has plenty of shelving as some of the cakes I make for demonstrations and shows are dummy cakes so I store them.

What tips would you give to someone wanting to become a better cook?

It's a bit boring but the main thing is practice, practice and more practice. And keep trying lots of different techniques, methods and recipes as it keeps your interested when you keep doing something new.
Never be afraid to experiment a bit.

As for cake decorating, the key thing is to be inspired by the things you love - colours, style, shape - because you will enjoy making something that inspires you.
Things change all the time - years ago, most celebration cakes were flat iced with traditional royal icing - now no-one does that anymore!

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party and what would you cook for them?

Oh - it would be Pierce Brosnan and me! I'd probably make something simple that could be prepared in advance so I didn't have to spend all my time in the kitchen. He was is Mama Mia which was filmed in Greece, so a Greek salad then traditional Greek dish of chicken with potatoes slow roasted. And for dessert - a piece of one of my cakes of course!

Do you do any other crafts and what are your hobbies?

When I have spare time I enjoy drawing and painting. I also love films, opera, reading and walking the family dog on the beach.

Which cooking blogs do you love to read?

I love
Deliciously Ella
Madaboutmacarons - because it's also a travel blog

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What's your favorite...

TV Show
Grays Anatomy
Take That
The Notebook
Cook Book
Anything with
Quality sugarpaste
Kitchen Gadget
PME No.9 tool