In March, Baking Buyer sits down with decorator and sugar artist Ashley Vicos. For more on Ashley and her designs, visit www.sweet-ashleys.com.
1. What was your first cake design?
A little carved rabbit. I baked rounds in my Easy Bake Oven, cut, shaped and iced them, and used coconut for fur and gumdrops for eyes. I was only 5, and even then I was quite the go-getter!
2. What decorating tool does "double-duty"?
Decorators look at objects differently from the rest of the world. I use tips to quickly punch circles in fondant or gumpaste, and I have a fascinating collection of straws for fondant detail work.
3. What's the quickest fix for a decorating mistake?
That depends on the mistake. If color is a little off, an airbrush is a lifesaver. Other mistakes are easily hidden with accents and decorations (always have extras around).
4. What personality trait shows most in your designs?
Sparkly and fun!
5. Who is your mentor?
Paul Edwards (a.k.a. Chef Rubber) has given me valuable career advice, and decorators like Ron Ben Israel, Nick Lodge and Earlene Moore have always been kind and offered tips, tricks and a wealth of knowledge.
6. What's your favorite comfort food?
My mom’s roast with rice and gravy brings me comfort and carefree memories. But my big weakness is French fries. I love all varieties and wish I could eat them every day.
7. What's your worst decorating nightmare?
I’m a girly-girl, so I take “boy cakes” as a challenge. I did a 5-foot long anaconda that I worked on in short stints because it was creeping me out. I finished it but still hate snakes!
8. If you could decorate anyone's cake, whose would it be and for what occasion?
I look forward to making special wedding cakes for my three daughters. For my girls, I’d be honored to do it.
9. How does being a Southerner bring an edge to your cakes?
The South is in my heart, and I put my heart into everything that I do. My cakes may be sweet and girly, but there will always be an underlying strength that comes through.
10. What's one piece of advice for women in any male-dominated industry?
Be yourself and don’t make apologies for it!
11. What was your New Years Resolution?
I don’t make New Years Resolutions. Time is precious, and there’s never a need to wait until New Years…Carpe Diem!
12. What are you most looking forward to in 2010?
I am so excited about 2010! I have an entire product line coming out, and you’ll see more of me on TV. Love it or hate it, there is much more Ashley to come!
13. Who makes your birthday cake?
I haven’t actually had a cake since my 16th birthday—and I made that one. But, my dessert of choice is crème brulee or tiramisu.