A Likkle Slice Of Heaven

A Likkle Slice Of Heaven

Written by Editor

Topics: Food & Drink

For most persons, dessert is the most memorable part of any meal – the sumptuous end to a delectable feast. We often enjoy it without sparing a thought for the person who prepared it and only on rare occasions do we ever look at these sweet treats as a form of artistic and creative expression. For Rochelle Laing, pastry chef and caterer, each creation is a vehicle of self-expression that exudes her signature flavours and flair.

Rochelle discovered her love for pastry making and food technology in high school while satisfying the Home Economics component of her syllabus. This passion propelled her to further her studies in the area and gain experience to widen her practical competencies.

She received training at the University of Technology in Institutional and Catering Management, where she was awarded a distinction in Baking Technology. She was also a recipient of the Le Toques Blanche scholarship in 1999 for Commis Chef Training at the Runaway Bay Heart Hotel and Training Institute. She has also gained practical experience by working at various hotels, restaurants and bakeries in Jamaica and the United States. Over the years, she has obtained training in food preparation with a focus in pastries, desserts, cakes and cake decorating.

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Her journey to establishing her own catering business ‘A Likkle Slice of Heaven’ came as a result of her experience while working in other organisations. Rochelle never seemed to fit well in the rigid, fast-paced and demanding environment of the hotel and restaurant industry, which required quick production in large volumes. The rigour, routine and production line approach effectively stifled her artistic expression and did not allow her to expand her skill sets. This ultimately prompted Rochelle to leave her job and embark on the path towards starting her own business as a caterer and pastry chef.

Further training with Denise Cargill, who would become her mentor and advisor, and Joyce McKenzie at McKenzie Culinary Institute allowed her to attain mastery of the traditional cake decorating techniques such as the use of royal icing, butter cream and pastiage porcelain. She also perfected more modern methods of cake decorating such as the use of fondant and gum paste.

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Armed with practical knowledge but little business experience, she started her home-based pastry business in 2001. Undoubtedly, there have been numerous challenges and at times she has felt like giving up, but the encouragement and support from her family has given her the will to continue along her chosen path. This has allowed her to weather the pitfalls of owning and managing  her own business while successfully meeting her clients’ needs.

Starting out, Rochelle learnt all the important lessons the hard way through trial and error. She has since come a long way from her early days, accumulating a wealth of experience that has allowed her to create masterpieces in cake design.

The quality of her work has earned Rochelle features on Jamaicaweddings.com and Panache Jamaica Magazine. She has also transformed the face of the annual Wedding Expo in Jamaica and has upped the ante on wedding cake designs displayed at the event. In her first year participating in the event, she wanted to create something unusual and decided to do a cake in the form of a wedding gown. This proved to be a big hit at the show and she was pleased with her display, but only for a brief moment. Before the spotlight on her dimmed, she immediately began to worry about how she would top that display at the next staging of the Expo. The following year, the ace pâtissier displayed a topsy turvy cake – a complicated design that once was a challenge for her early in her career.

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Rochelle continues to introduce new elements to her display at the leading industry event for her profession by showcasing her portfolio both in print and digital formats and by distributing samples of her signature cakes. She hopes that through the Expo, baking and cake decoration can be taken seriously as a career. Although her chosen vocation can be “traumatic” at times, she declares that it is fulfilling and enjoyable.

Like many other bakers, she takes traditional recipes and incorporates her own taste and experience. Her trademark desserts include:

  • Jam and bread pudding
  • Rum cake
  • Carrot cake
  • Fruit cake
  • Cheese cake and
  • Red Velvet cake

Beyond pastry, Rochelle is also versed in Jamaican and American style dishes, as well as international cuisines such as Chinese and Italian. She caters to all special events and those who have had the good fortune to sample her dishes and desserts can confirm that every bite is indeed a little piece of heaven. But don’t take Pree Jamaica’s word for it…try it for yourself.

Rochelle Laing can be contacted at 981-3649 or 877-9329.

You can also view her website at www.alikklesliceofheaven.com or check her out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/alikklesliceofheaven

Article by Princess Xtina
Photos contributed

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