Becky Jenkins from Becky Jenkins Sugar artist, is based in the UK and renown for her excellent modelling skills and attention to detail. An experienced competitor, she has won numerous awards over the years, including multiple golds at Cake International, and Best Sugarcraft Exhibit at Salon Culinaire. She is currently in training to become an accredited British Sugar Guild Demonstrator.
Here she shares with us the experience of her latest success at Salon Culinaire.
‘This was my second year entering Salon Culinaire which was still a very new experience. Although the competition is similar to Cake International with regard to rules and schedules its always daunting to step into a new arena. Both the organisers and judges where very helpful and welcoming, on hand from start to finish to answer any queries and give advice. As the number of entries are far fewer feedback was gained a lot easier and was more relaxed and all competitors were invited to the awards presentation. The awards themselves where presented individually in the form of framed certificates and medals as well as commemorative plates for the best in class and higher awards. There was also a special award for professional cake decorator of the year which was presented to the person with the overall highest amount of points.
No matter the competition I always get the same buzz, getting the opportunity to let my imagination run wild and create without limitations whilst pushing my abilities that little bit further. I started early on my entries originally having the crazy idea to enter 5 categories. I eventually managing to complete 3 satisfied that I had put my all into every one of them. For miniature I made an artist studio at the time getting back into my art work I found it quite fitting and was a subject that I could really sink my teeth into. Each piece was hand modelled from white Saracino modelling paste then left to harden before piecing together. The whole model had to fit within a 6” cube so details where tiny and fiddle. I then painted each piece using a mixture of alcohol and petal dust, the canvases where painted using Saracino cocoa butter and dust colour. My piece took a total of 50 hours to make. It won a gold medal and best in class but I think the best reward was being told ‘it was a pleasure to judge and executed to perfection’. What better feedback could I have asked for? I’ve never seen myself as achieving perfection and still now I could sit and find a fault somewhere. I am my own worst critic.
My second entry was entered into the wedding category taking a whooping 200 hours (maybe more I quickly lost count) to complete. It felt like the entry that would never be finished. It also won a gold and best in class which I was both thrilled and shocked to receive. The four tiers are covered in hand painted details again using Saracino Cocoa butter, the whole piece sat on a coral pedestal stand hand sculpted from Saracino modelling paste and fondant. The piece has a total of over 30 handmade sea creatures and fish, more than 200 sea shells and pebbles not to forget nearly 150 individually made pieces of coral all painted with cocoa butter.
My final piece entered into carved cake category was a sculpted Salmon. The rules stated that they wanted to see a good proportion of cake so I didn’t want to over complicate the design. As it was a chef’s competition I decided to go with the foodie option. I made a life size Salmon served on a bed of Isomalt with wedges of lemon again from Saracino products. The scales where individually embossed which took a total of 2.5 hours. Then the detail was hand painted on. Many people were fooled by the realism of this piece and came back for a second glance just to make sure it was really was a cake. I love being able to fool the eye and I feel getting people to interact with your work is sometimes more rewarding than any award.
One of the highlights of this year’s competition has to be the turnout of familiar faces and talent from the cake world. When it came to the awards they certainly knew we were there, which was not only wonderful to see and be a part of but showed that we may only be a small part of the food industry but together we can make a big impact. I will most defiantly have my name down to enter next year and really hope that many more will join me.’