10-Question-Interview with Zeph Storr
More love, less stress and read the rules a thousand times! - says Zeph Storr who won a silver medal and 2nd place in Class D: A Decorative Exhibit Using Non Edible Material at Cake International London 2016.
She talked to us about a lot of interesting things from road rage to epiglottis. 🙂
Thank you Zeph!
How long have you been decorating?
I have been cake decorating for about ten years, I am 100% self taught.
What is your specialty, what exactly are you best at or love doing when it comes to decorating, why?
My speciality is figure modelling, I love to get all the tiny details into the piece I am working on. I like to get the piece to resemble either what I am copying or exactly what was in my imagination when I started it. I love making tiny bits and pieces to accompany my work and strive to improve with every cake/ model I make.
What is your favourite technique, medium, why?
I don't really have a favourite technique, I tend to let the piece I am working on dictate how to handle it. Sometimes the cake requires a certain technique but most of the time I prefer to just use my hands and patience... Lots and lots of patience!!! My favourite medium is modelling paste , I use it for pretty much everything.
What is the activity that you hate doing as a decorator?
The only part I dislike in decorating is lining the tins- the shiniest things in my house are my pans but they are the dullest things to line!!
Why did you start competing?
I started competing after I had got to a stage where I felt comfortable with my modelling skills, I was pretty much pushed by friends and family who said I should have a go at competing. It took me an age to finally pluck up the courage, but after vetting a few shows I decided to take the plunge and my very first competition entry was for Squires Kitchen Exhibition where I was awarded a gold, I was overwhelmed and knew I wanted to achieve more!
Why did you pick this particular design for your competition entry?
I chose to make my opera singer as an entry as I wanted it to be fun, I love their clothes and wanted the challenge of making a rather large person standing on very small feet- I had the idea in my head for a while and fell in love with him while he was just an image in my mind. The idea of his trousers falling down and him being oblivious to it made me smile.
What was the hardest part in creating it?
The hardest part of creating my exhibit was getting him to balance, he was very front heavy so I needed to place the arms, the head and his bottom in a way that he wouldn't keep falling forwards while I was working on him. I couldn't commit to putting his supports in until the end as I didn't know how big he would turn out. Getting the epiglottis into his mouth was also pretty tricky!
What was the funniest story that has to do with this competition?
The funniest thing to happen to me at this competition was being road-raged by a man who was clearly in a hurry for work- we were driving in rush hour, in London at a snails pace all for the love of cake. The poor man who was stuck at a red light behind us chose the wrong day to be late for work. He wasn't amused by the cake on board sign, I think he thought it was a joke! (Sorry if you read this, you'll only understand how slow we were going if you're a cake decorator!)
What was your favourite entry other than yours?
My favourite entry was Dawn Butlers Einstein - which quite rightly won Best in Show. It was incredible.
What is your advice to aspiring cake contestants?
My advice to anyone who is competing is to have faith in yourself, keep as calm as possible and don't forget to have fun making your piece. I think that if you work with too much stress and not enough love for what your making it shows in the model. Also read the rules a thousand times if you have to!!!