An Interview with Flower Pro Collaborator Chef Nicholas Lodge
A Interview with Flower Pro Collaborator Chef Nicholas Lodge
Introducing Flower Pro, the brand new innovative range of moulds and veiners designed to create beautiful flowers, roses, ferns and leaves for cakes and keepsakes.
The Flower Pro range has been developed by Katy Sue Designs and Chef Nicholas Lodge. Combining 40 years of experience from Chef Nicholas, who teaches professional sugar flowers internationally with the multi award winning product development team of Katy Sue Designs has resulted in this unique collection of moulds and veiners.
Nicholas Lodge sat down with us to discuss the Flower Pro range and some helpful advice for those starting out in the amazing world of sugar flowers/ flower craft.
A little bit about Chef Nicholas Lodge
Chef Nicholas Lodge is one of the foremost Master Cake Artists in the world. He has been sharing his knowledge and skills through classes, books, and DVDs for over 35 years. When Nicholas began training as a pastry chef, he had no idea how far this path would eventually lead him. The field of sugar art has introduced him to royalty and celebrities, and has transported him around the globe.
Nicholas was born in Essex, England, and became interested in cookery and cake decorating at an early age. When he was 10 years old, he designed his first cake for his parent’s anniversary. Upon leaving school, Nicholas worked in a bakery as a cake decorator to gain practical experience and commercial speed in decorating. He was then offered a position at The National Bakery School of England, located in London, where he completed a two-year course in cake decorating and design. After gaining distinctions in all his assignments and examinations, Nicholas received the award for the Most Outstanding Cake Decorating Student at his graduation. Moving rapidly to even higher achievements, Nicholas became Principal Wedding Cake Designer at Woodnutts, one of England's top sugar art schools. There he created cakes for high-end London hotels, including Claridges, The Ritz, and The Savoy.
After two years at Woodnutts, at the young age of 21, Nicholas became the tutorial manager at Mary Ford's School in Bournemouth, another top sugar art school. During this time, Nicholas and a team of decorators were commissioned to do work for England's royal family and other celebrities. Most notably, this included one of the official wedding cakes for Lady Diana and Prince Charles in 1981. Nicholas later reproduced this royal wedding cake while the Prince and Princess of Wales toured Tokyo, Japan. Nicholas was also commissioned to create cakes for the Queen Mother’s 80th birthday and the christening of Prince Harry.
Can you explain to those cake decorators who don’t know already, what are sugar flowers?
Sugar flowers are created from an Edible paste called gum paste, petal paste or flower paste. It can be rolled very thinly and dries hard creating petals and leaves that can be assembled and dusted to create realistic flowers and foliage.
How did you first get started with sugar flowers?
I made my first sugar flower, a Carnation, at 10 years old following directions from a Australian cake decorating book. This was decades before online classes and YouTube videos, after that I was hooked and 46 years later I’m still making and teaching sugar flower classes!
Can you give a brief introduction to each of the moulds in the Flower Pro collection and how each mould will help them achieve professional looking sugar flowers?
The new Flower Pro range consists of 5 moulds and veiners
Ultimate Filler Flowers Mould
One of the most complex moulds ever created, it is used to create 24 different flowers and buds without the use of any cutters, enabling you with just the purchase of the mould (with the included companion tool) and paste to create beautiful filler flowers like a true professional.
Ultimate Petal Veiner
This versatile 5 petal shape double sided veiner can be used for veining blossom and individual petal Roses, as well as Peonies, Sweet Peas, Lizianthus and dozens of other petals. Its unique design enables you to be able to soften and build flowers like Roses with ease.
Cones and Thorns Mould
This innovative mould allows you to create half relief and 3D paste cones to use for Roses, Dahlia, Water Lilly and Magnolia buds and centres giving perfect shape and proportions each time it’s used. The thorn cavities allow you to create realistic Roses with natural thorns.
Multi Leaf Veiner
As the name implies this double-sided leaf veiner creates dozens of realistic leaves as shown on my videos and in my Flower Pro book including Rose, Lilac, Hydrangea, Bouvardia and Jasmine but it has endless possibilities for dozens of leaves and has been designed to use for unwired or wired leaves.
This very popular mould enables you to create wired or unwired varieties of ferns and brackens in various configurations and sizes, creating a realistic fern in minutes and ease using no cutters. These Ferns are so realistic when used in amongst other sugar flowers like Roses and Baby’s Breath.
What are the best ingredients to use when creating sugar flowers?
You can create a scratch paste I call tylose paste with the recipe included in my Flower Pro book or commercially available pastes as flower and modelling paste, petal paste and gum paste. As we need a paste that is strong and has a fine texture with structural strength.
What are the current trends in sugar flowers?
Current trends include David Austin Roses, Succulents and large focal flowers like a Peony Rustic style is still very popular so check out my Rustic wedding cake tutorial on YouTube
Could you give some tips on people who have just started in sugar flower decorating or would love to start?
Take one step at a time starting with the basics and watching my videos linked to all my Flower Pro moulds will be like having a private lesson with me especially, the suga paste and size guides how to videos.
What is your favourite sugar flower to construct and why?
I have created over 400 different sugar flowers over the past 40 years, I love making all Sugar flowers but like especially unusual flowers and foliage like Lavender, Succulents and Bamboo.
What is the most rewarding part of cake decorating?
The most rewarding part of cake decorating and flower making is the joy it brings to the customer and in teaching the amazing results my students achieve during a class or after watching my videos.
What has been your greatest cake decorating challenge?
Creating a replica of the Royal wedding cake when Charles and Diana visited japan on a royal tour it was created for Mitsokoshi department store in the Ginza district of Tokyo. The challenge was creating all the hundreds of panels and coating the cake in royal icing in a traditional Japanese home with only low tables and tatami mat so kneeling for hours and hours had its challenges especially coating a 24” cube Cake with royal icing kneeling down.
What was it like making cakes for the Royal Family?
I have created cakes for royalty and celebrities but they are just at the end of the day like every customer. Where we strive to create a cake they will enjoy looking at and eating.
What is the most rewarding part of cake decorating?
For me the most rewarding part of cake decorating is seeing a student who creates their first cake or sugar flower and is so excited to share their accomplishment with family and friends and the sheer amazement that they were able to create such beautiful sugar art.You can view the entire Flower Pro Range to buy here