For someone who had never baked a cake in her life until she moved to Australia to study at culinary school, Jeongmin Sylvester has certainly made up for lost time.
The Winmalee resident’s sweet treats have proved a popular drawcard at the Springwood Growers Market since 2016.
The Korean-born cook enrolled at Sydney’s Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute in 2012 after falling in love with a Sydney man while they were both travelling overseas the year before.
“I had to find an excuse to come back to Sydney again and to stay a bit longer... and taking a patisserie course was one of the options I could think of,” she said.
“I had studied fine art, majoring in ceramics and glass, for years at university in South Korea and I thought it would be fun to bake cakes in the oven, instead of pottery in a kiln… My first day at Le Cordon Bleu was my very first baking experience ever in my entire life. I didn’t even know what meringue was!”
Considering Ms Sylvester’s path to becoming a patissier was driven by love, it is fitting “love and passion” drive her baking as well.
“They are made with all of my heart,” she said of the gateaus, croissants, tarts and macarons she makes from scratch at her home kitchen in Winmalee each month.
“I love experimenting with the flavours and colours of macarons, and I’ve begun baking apple crumble croissants and lemon meringue croissants to go alongside the classic almond variety,” she said. “My South Korean tastebuds have led me to make ang-butter croissants (a slab of butter with red bean paste), matcha green tea macarons, and other unusual flavours.”
The boyfriend that drew Ms Sylvester to Australia is now her husband and the couple has two young daughters. While this has stopped her expanding her patisserie business for now, she hopes to open a shop locally in 2020.
When she started the business in 2013, Ms Jeongmin chose the name “Sincerely, Cake” – a title that undoubtedly sums up her passion and commitment.
“I aspire to live and work as an artist who creates artworks in the form of cakes, pastries, and ceramics,” she said. “That is why every single cake of mine is special, as I make them with passion and heart.”