Jing Shi Pastry Chef of the Year Nominee: Alecia Woodbine

Counting down to the 19th staging of the Jamaica Observer Table Talk Food Awards, Thursday, May 25 2017

Thursday, May 04, 2017

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Alecia Woodbine, a native of Westmoreland, always wanted to bake. She landed her dream job soon after graduating in culinary management at the University of Technology (UTech) Jamaica at the Ritz-Carlton, Rosehall in 2000. Her dogged determination to succeed was rewarded when she was promoted to assistant pastry chef which afforded her the opportunity to travel to other Ritz-Carlton properties as a part of her training. Woodbine also had the unique opportunity of travelling to Qatar, where she presented Jamaican desserts to members of the royal family and government ministers. After eight years, Woodbine resigned her position to pursue her passion and create her own unique brand, Signature Cakes and Desserts.

As the mother of a son, she is passionate not only about her desserts but also of giving back. This she does, by employing young men — albeit without the requisite skills — and training them to become providers for their families. Thursday Food shares more...

I have been in the dessert industry for... 16 years. The first eight at the Ritz-Carlton, Rosehall and the last eight as an entrepreneur.

My work has evolved to include... becoming a small manufacturing company. I produce for restaurants, small hotels that do not have a pastry shop and corporate events — a wide selection of desserts that range from cookies, tarts and cheesecakes to wedding cakes and candy bars.

The in-demand desserts are... swirled French macaroons, gelato ice cream, petit fours to include desserts in shot glasses, tiered desserts and injected cupcakes. Citrus is the most requested flavour.

I remain competitive because... I am constantly expanding my horizons and am always experimenting.

Customers are always in search of... freshness, taste, visual appeal and the best quality ingredients.

The key to my success is... having the passion for the craft and perseverance.

My advice to the next generation of dessert/pastry chef is... be patient and don't lose sight of the fact that you are working to learn a craft that takes a lifetime to master. Live in the present and work hard. It is also important to expose yourself to as much as possible.

My presentation this evening involves... balance, visual style and texture. I have paired gluten-free with a non-gluten dessert to demonstrate that we can enjoy any dessert no matter the components of each. Plus it afforded me the ability to be creative.

Signature Cakes & Desserts

Alecia Woodbine

Rosehall, Montego Bay.

Tel: 878-3032




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