Last week I attended training in Sydney to teach Wilton method classes here at Kiwicake's in Whangarei. It was an exhausting week - but we all had a blast. The classes are designed to teach to anyone at all, even someone who has never picked up a piping bag.
I arrived in Sydney on a sunny Sunday morning, as I strolled to the baggage carousel I heard "are you Sandra from Kiwicake's? " And it was Sharryn and Rachael from the Home Store in Milford. I had 2 new friends instantly! I had booked a car from the airport to our hotel and they jumped in with me and off we went. We arrived at the hotel too early for check in, so I suggested a trip to David Jones food hall in the CBD. Of course the girls said yes, so we jumped on a train and were there after a short ride. (check out the view above from my hotel room taking in Luna Park at middle left and the Sydney harbour bridge).
David Jones department store has a fond place in my memory, we always went there when our family travelled to Sydney. For Grandma Kiwicake's one of the first stops was always the food hall......... and now look at me!. It was just as I remembered it, bustling with people and bursting with exotic foods. I couldn't resist a photo of the candied fruits above.
Of course I spent a fair amount of time in the confectionery section. Every time I went to David Jones with my Granny, she used to buy me one of these chocolate parasols, I was surprised to see they still have them after all these years. (Of course I bought some to take home)
Sharryn, Rachael and I had lunch sitting at the cheese counter - it was amazing, we chose some cheeses, breads and antipasto and washed it down with a nice glass of wine. I couldn't not contemplate dessert, I was in David Jones food hall after all - these berry concoctions had taken my eye prior to lunch and as full as I was, they seemed just the thing to finish a nice lunch perfectly, along the back of the berries, was melted chocolate, which was essentially what held them in place once it set - it was delightfully refreshing.
On the way to the train station we passed this cupcake franchise in the mall, I couldn't resist a photo
Sunday afternoon we had orientation, that lasted until dinner time. And we were treated to a lovely dinner by our hosts. I often heard it said by many, that this week will be remembered as the week of food. Our hosts treated us to an amazing fully catered lunch every day, that far exceeded our expectations. With such a wide variety of choices, all served as a buffet in the hotel restaurant.
These 4 lovely ladies were our tutors for the week. There never ending patience and enthusiasm made a crazy week very pleasant.
That afternoon the lovely Cora (second from left in tutor photo said) "what do we all love to do?" "shopping!" was one answer. She continued with "shopping! - well you're going to need to do lots of shopping for the courses this week, only we don't take credit card, we don't take cash............... it's all free!" And it was, we had to traipse past many tables set up like these and take one (or sometimes two) of everything on the tables. It's just as well I took the second empty suitcase they recommended to take it all home with me. It was a fun process we were to repeat again during the course of the week.
Course 1 started with some buttercream piping on day one. A frantic and very MESSY day, that ran from 9.00am to 6.30pm
I was humbled when I was told I had the loveliest ribbon rose in the room.
We had stuff EVERYWHERE! - it was hard to keep your table space tidy
On Monday evening, the Milford girls and I strolled down Blues Point Rd in North Sydney, I was stunned by just how attractively (but not always expensively) the many eateries were decorated, this Thai restaurant we chose for dinner had these amazing lanterns (photo does not do them justice) outside. I could not help but think at home they may have been vandalised or stolen by now. We declared our meal some of the best Thai we'd ever eaten.
Day two was royal icing, a day many would like to forget, I quite enjoyed it, but it sure was messy! In the evening we were treated to an amazing dinner at the Kirribillie Club in North Sydney by our amazing hosts. This also happened to be Rachael's 21st birthday, so we were sure to show her a good time. We must have had too good a time, as I forgot to take any pictures.
Day three was gumpaste & fondant,
We still have stuff EVERYWHERE
Thursday night, we were treated to a night on Sydney Harbour with Sydney Showboat Cruises. We had a lovely dinner and drinks with a show on board. It lasted several hours - the view from the boat was amazing, as we travelled all over Sydney Harbour.
Me, Sharryn and Rachael just before we boarded the boat.
The lovely Rose & Rhonda
We managed to ensure Rachael was called up on stage by the MC to celebrate her 21st birthday
One the final day, as part of the course work we had to cover a cake (normally a student would have 2 weeks to plan their final cake, we had less than 1 hour)
Many of my fellow students, used the large fondant bow from course three - or placed all of their icing flowers on their cakes, that they had made during the week, essentially meaning they only needed to place the items and they were done. I didn't make life easy for myself and decided I'd do some ruffling. But I managed to knock it all out in 30 minutes, so I was pretty pleased with the end result. More than likely because this cake below is nothing like anything I would ever make, as I don't usually go for girly styles.
My partner in crime for the week Sarah Eduati from "The Cake Stop"
You can see me in this photo, but you'll have to look very hard.
Our course ended on Friday evening with a small graduation ceremony. YAY! we all passed. All 42 of us are now trained Wilton method instructors. We finished with drinks and canapes in the bar. I made so many wonderful new friends during this time away. Fiona who had sat behind me for the week invited those of us left in Sydney on Friday evening for dinner at down at The Rocks at a wonderful German restaurant. She had a wonderful evening planned for us, we caught the ferry to Circular Quay and walked a short distance to our dinner. I couldn't resist taking a photo of Luna Park lit up at night, as our ferry left from right outside.
Friday evening I crawled in to bed just before midnight, and flew home to NZ on Saturday morning. I am thankful for my new found appreciation for teaching, my wonderful new friends and for my amazing week away. You'll see details of the Wilton classes I'll be teaching appear in the CLASSES tab (above under the Kiwicake's blog banner) over the next week or so.