Interviews #20: Jo Orr of Ciccio Cakes
My Name is Jo Orr, and I live in Rotorua, New Zealand. I’m Married with a Stepdaughter Julz & 2 Border Collies Scottie & Teddy. I’m the Head Chef at Ciccio Italian Café but Cake Decorating is a real passion, I love being able to be creative, although I cannot draw to save myself…..yes not even a stick figure(I was told in school by my art teacher never to be an artist) I think my mind works in 3D, but only in the last couple of years have I started selling my cakes, although not a sweet tooth myself I love creating cakes that people cannot resist eating…I’ve been told on more than one occasion I’m a bad influenceInterview
How did you first get started with cake decorating?
My Grandmother was a cake decorator & when we visited her as children we didn’t have Playdough we were given Sugarpaste, she had us making roses for her (I don’t think she actually used any LOL), & when I trained as a Chef I also did a short pulled sugar course & was totally hooked, started making cakes for my Niece & Nephews, I haven’t done much in the way of training in the Cake Decorating field a lot of it is self taught watching & learning from generous people who post videos & tutorials like Mayen from “Way beyond Cakes by Mayen” & Lesley of “Royal Bakery”, they encouraged me to also produce some of my own tutorials that I’ve shared on Cakes Décor, it’s a fantastic feeling when someone shares their work that they have made using one of your tutorials
What has been your greatest challenge?
I think every new cake I do especially the sculpted cakes….I love trying something new & scaring myself a little, you know that moment when you’re half way through the cake wondering how on earth you’ll be able to finish it or if it’ll ever work….Panic Attack!!!…LOL…… but if I had to pick one it would be the 1.8m x2.2m North Island I made for the Rotorua International Airport’s 1st birthday it was huge& took 4 of us to lift it & a real mission to cover with fondant & the delivery was hilarious as it wouldn’t fit through the arrivals door so we had to get permission to drive on the runway & deliver through the arrivals gate
What is the most rewarding part of cake decorating?
I love seeing their faces, the joy a cake can bring as they marvel how you have done it, or when they don’t believe it’s cake until they poke it, I love textures & being able to recreate the texture on fondant to create realism is so much fun
Could you give some tips to people who have just started decorating cakes or would love to start?
Watch & read as many tutorials as you can, and then give it a go, don’t give up just because it may not work the first time try again “Practice makes Perfect” Also my biggest tip I could ever tell someone would be forget Buttercream & go for ganache gives you a much better finish under fondant
How did you find CakesDecor.com and what is it that keeps you coming back?
Found it through a share on Facebook “Cakes by Raewyn” by Memory, so came over & found everyone so lovely & welcoming, there is no nastiness only positivity….& I love a bit of healthy competition trying to make Daily Top 3 or the elusive Editors Choice……Love it
Do you have any rituals or habits while you’re working on cakes?
I usually start trying to picture the finished cake as a whole in my mind for a couple of days beforehand then map out what goes where & logistics etc…can’t draw as mentioned before so don’t really sketch only if client wants to see an idea, usually involves a lot of apologies about my inability to draw, then a lot give me free reign with a couple of guidelines which is fantastic, I also have to decorate at work so it’s early mornings & late nights down at the café so usually my biggest ritual is Coffee & lots of it…. lucky the Cappuccino machine is always on…mmmm…Caffeine!!!
Do you Bake…Do you like to bake?
Yes, I love baking, I trained as a Pastry Chef, so I love inventing my own new recipes, I can’t follow recipes from a book, I get bored & start altering so I have learnt to write everything down that I add, I also get to make all of the Cakes at the Café in our Large Display Cabinet that people order by the slice so it’s a great creative opportunity, I soon find out the most popular flavours
Which one of your cakes is your favorite?
Wow that’s a hard one, I think it would have to be Donkey from Shrek, I made him for an Operation Sugar assignment for a 13 Year old boy recovery from Brain Cancer, they watched the Shrek movie every time he went in for treatments, he was huge & really came to life & best of all Josh loved him….but also loved my Jim Beam Whiskey Barrel another huge one, and my one & only Editors Choice award on Cakes Décor really made my day getting that title for it
What’s been the biggest surprise in all of this for you?
How amazingly lovely everyone one is, being told your cake is awesome by someone who you admire, there’s nothing quite like that & I’m also lucky to have found a cake decorating friend, Sarah of “The Cake Tin” who lives in the same town as me, which is great as we can share some equipment & bounce ideas off each other about cakes, which definitely saves our poor husbands ears…LOL
Thank you Jo!