Interview with Cake Sugar Craft Artist Lesi Lambert
Lesi Lambert tells us about her Lambert Academy of Sugar Craft teaching cake sculpturing.
Lesi Lambert Bio
Lesi Lambert is the owner of Lambert Academy of Sugarcraft. She has taught 1000’s of students over the years in her hobby classes. She has been featured in the Calgary Herald, Calgary Mirror, CTV news, and Fox for her impressive work and philanthropic activities. Her largest cake fed over 1000 people. She focuses a lot of her time on helping cakepreneurs get the skills needed to run their own home-based cake business through her Professional Cake Designer Certification Program at the Academy.
Please tell us what you do.
My name is Lesi Lambert and I am a sugar artist. I personally have created numerous sugar pieces and edible artworks for the private sector as well as corporate functions. My artworks have varied in size and have fed anywhere from 15 – 1000 people per artistic piece.
My company, Lambert Academy of Sugar Craft, regularly holds group workshops teaching all aspects of cake design and pastry art. Two years ago, I launched a five-week intensive certification program helping aspiring cake artists build specific skills to this craft, giving them the knowledge and tools to set up their own businesses in the industry of cake design.
How did you get started with cake design?
I got started in cake design about 12 years ago when I decided to make a birthday cake for my son. He was very into guitar and I thought it might be a great idea to make a guitar cake for him. After that project I was hooked.
I had not previously done cake but had always had a keen interest in food, particularly desserts. Dessert makes people happy.
I was working full time in the medical industry but had a small side business making pies. I spent numerous hours playing in the kitchen. This is where I was and still am happiest. I really like pretty food so even daily dinners had to be presented with special attention to being eye pleasing as well as tasty. I have always been creative and artistic so cake design and pastry art made for the perfect marriage of art and food. I spent a lot of time reading and picking up as much as I could from the internet. You-tube was not as prolific back then so I did a lot of trial and error. It got a lot easier as time went on.
I really wanted to teach so I applied to Wilton to teach that program. While I did enjoy the educating aspect of it, I felt very limited in what I could pass along to my students. After 2 years I decided it was time to move on.
I put together a few classes that appealed more to my artistic strong points, rented a community hall kitchen to hold classes and taught hobbyist cake designers on my weekends. I had a full-time job as an ophthalmic tech so I wasn’t able dive into cake completely. And so it went for a couple more years. Then, after 28 years of working in the medical industry and building someone else’s retirement, I decided it was time to concentrate on my own.
Was it hard to give up a 24-year career to pursue
It was a huge step and I was terrified but I was driven by my passion for cake design and nurturing my artistic side. I was determined to make it work. My husband and I bought a house with the perfect layout to renovate the lower level into a licensed commercial kitchen. I have enough room to accommodate a few students at a time, I have all the necessary equipment and tools and It is from here that I run my school. I have never been happier. I am doing what I love…. daily!
Do you do sculptures in other materials other than
I like to play with food so I don’t stray from that artistic medium too often. I explore such a vast array of techniques that I haven’t yet felt the need to delve other things like clay or stone. I am not writing off the idea of other media but currently I model with chocolate, I paint on cake, I work with fondant to do Bas Relief designs, I use wafer paper and sugar lace in my designs, I make decorative cake boards using molds that I have created as well as premade purchased ones and I am always exploring ways to manipulate food products to push them to do things out of their regular use….ie: hot sugar, gelatin, rice wafers, etc.
Please tell us about your classes?
My classes are primarily geared toward beginners. I love the idea of inspiring people to enter the cake world. It has so many possibilities. Currently my most popular class is the Fundamentals of Cake Design which starts with baking, torting , making fillings and frostings, fondant work and finishes off with decorating the cake to take home. It’s a 7-hour class and everyone seems to love it. We have fun with it. Fun is probably the most important aspect of the entire thing. We just relax into it and have fun!
What is your Professional Cake Designer
The Professional Cake Designer Certification Program is a bit more serious. (but still fun) Quite intense in the 5 weeks of training. We cover regular baking, allergy and special dietary needs baking, various frosting, fillings, icings and ganaches, fondant, gumpaste, modelling chocolate, edible clothes and laces, isomalt work, sculpting, structures, figures and flowers, special occasion cake design, wedding cake design, costing, business…..that’s just a small bit of what goes on here. Students are held to a very high standard and are graded on their knowledge and work. I only take on a few students at a time for this training, as it is quite intense and there is a lot of one on one training involved.
Are there good career opportunities for cake
In my opinion, the cake industry is just getting started here in North America. If you look back, even just a few years, you can see how far we have come. I think it is important for each cake designer/artist to find their own niche and the possibilities become endless. It’s a pretty diverse industry and only limited by one’s imagination.
Can you please give some advice for someone
interested in cake design as career?
The best advice I can offer to someone looking to enter the industry is to find the aspect of it that speaks to your strengths and build on that. You can’t be everything to everyone but we all have strong points. When you’re doing what you love and you go deep into it, it will start to show in your work and that is what potential customers will buy into.