WANT WEDDING CAKE THAT LOOKS AS GOOD AS IT TASTES? SCHILLICIOUS IS YOUR GUY.
What do you get when you mix contemporary, abstract art and incredible ingredients, flavours and expert baking knowhow? You get Tim, the baking extraordinaire behind the Edinburgh based cake studio Schillicious. We’re chatting to him on the blog today about his gorgeous wedding cakes, and how he’s shaking up the wedding cake scene…
WHO ARE YOU + WHERE ARE YOU BASED?
Schillicious is a contemporary cake studio based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Fusing artistic flair and pâtisserie know-how, we specialise in creating contemporary abstract wedding cakes (and celebration cakes) that not only look like works of art but taste like them too.
DESCRIBE YOUR WORKPLACE.
I (Tim) currently work from my home kitchen in Edinburgh’s beautiful New Town. It’s perfect for now but the goal is to rent/buy a self-contained studio space that I can kit out like a professional kitchen. It’d also include a space to host prospective clients for tastings, perhaps even enough space for workshops to teach some patisserie classes.
WHERE/HOW DID IT ALL BEGIN?
I’ve been interested in food for as long as I can remember, and learning to cook and bake was a skill that was greatly encouraged by my parents and grandparents, both of whom have always grown their own produce. I think cooking is one of the most fundamental and valuable life skills because by it not only are we able to nourish ourselves but also those around us. This is ultimately what I love about food: it’s a conduit for human connection.
Though I went on to study musicology at King’s College London, I eventually found myself competing to win a patisserie scholarship at Le Cordon Bleu London. I narrowly missed out, but it gave me the drive to pursue pastry professionally and in early 2017 I started training as a pastry chef at The Savoy Hotel in London.
It was a real baptism of fire but it was the most incredible few years spent learning, developing, and honing my craft alongside an amazing team. I got to see and do so much during my time there and this solid grounding in patisserie is what gave me the confidence to step out on my own to found Schillicious in June 2020 after relocating from London to Edinburgh.
FAVOURITE WORK TO DATE?
The Modern Art wedding shoot that featured in the inaugural TWC Wedding Annual earlier this year. It was beautiful, and what an incredible team of creatives to work with.
WHO/WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Where to begin! Abstract art is the obvious one to mention, particularly the abstract expressionist movement with artists such as Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, and Helen Frankenthaler being key influences. Present-day contemporary artists that I also take inspiration from include Frank Auerbach, Mary Weatherford, and Elizabeth Neel. From the world of fashion design, I’m totally enamoured by Alexander McQueen (one of his pieces was the inspiration behind my wedding cake design ‘Thirteen’) as well as Iris Van Herpen. Then there’s Japanese ceramicist Fujikasa Satoko, MOF Pâtissier Confiseur Stephane Leroux, the incredible Scottish scenery and landscapes… the list is endless. Anything is inspiration if you look closely enough.
DESCRIBE YOUR TYPICAL DAY.
The wonderful thing about being a cake designer is that one day is always different from the next – I couldn’t have it any other way! I do always start with a cup of coffee, though (black filter, Ethiopian coffee is my favourite) and walking the dog (my partner and I have a Samoyed called Kumo). From there, it could be spending all day in the kitchen baking cakes and making ganaches, answering cake enquiries and sketching out initial design ideas for prospective clients, experimenting with chocolate decorations, heading out to the florist to pick up fresh blooms… and cleaning the dishes. It’s not all glamour, you know!
WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO GO?
Paris. I adore Paris and my partner Co and I almost moved out there for her work a couple of years ago (she’s a fashion designer) but it didn’t work out in the end. I was pretty gutted – I love the people, the language (being able to speak it definitely helps), the incredible patisseries, the coffee culture, the restaurants, the art… I love it all. I can’t wait to return soon.
FAVOURITE WEDDING VENUE?
Guardswell Farm. I stayed there not too long ago in one of the wee cabins and it was absolutely sublime. Such an idyllic spot, surrounded by nature and bleating sheep with little else but a log fire and a good book for company. I have my eye on it for my own wedding!
TRENDS YOU HOPE TO SEE THIS SEASON
If I’m totally honest, I really dislike current cake trends and stay away from them. I think this is partly what makes the Schillicious style stand out from the crowd. That said, I would love to see a greater move towards cakes that challenge the traditional tiered look and play around with form and shape – I think in light of the global pandemic we’ve all had enough of tiers anyway!
BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN?
I quote the wonderful Jeong Kwan, Zen Buddhist nun and chef of Baekyangsa Temple in South Korea:
Creativity and ego cannot go together. If you free yourself from the comparing and jealous mind, your creativity opens up endlessly. Just as water springs from a fountain, creativity springs from every moment.
You must not be your own obstacle. You must not be owned by the environment you are in. You must own the environment, the phenomenal world around you. You must be able to freely move in and out of your mind. This is being free. There is no way you can’t open up your creativity. There is no ego to speak of.