At the end of a long working day, Rockhampton Region Councillor Drew Wickerson loves to swap his councillor badge for a rolling pin and mixing bowl.
Over the past five years the mixmaster has created an impressive array of cakes for various council and community events, from live action cakes blowing smoke for the Singapore Army, to immaculately detailed replica cakes for iconic buildings like the former Morning Bulletin site and Rockhampton Girls Grammar, to a massive display piece of Harry Potter and a sugar inspired cake for Willy Wonka.
This month Cr Wickerson’s creative skills and talents were recognised as he took home the Statement Cake Artist of the Year Award at the Australian Cake Artists and Decorators Association’s Australasian Cake Oscar Awards.
Cr Wickerson was nominated by an anonymous person and he was judged on a portfolio of his statement cakes over one metre in any direction.
He was then shortlisted as a finalist and was awarded the win at the Gala Ball at Brisbane RNA.
“I had very low expectations of bringing a trophy home – I was up against four professional bakers and decorators, I was just happy to be there and be shortlisted for it,” Cr Wickerson said.
“For once in my life I was speechless.”
Cake decorating is a hobby that Cr Wickerson fell into by accident.
He first got into making birthday cakes for his now adult children and then started to make cakes for friends and family.
“You make a lot of mistakes along the way but eventually they get bigger and better,” he said.
“My background is design and architectural modelling so I bring some of those skills in, it’s just using different materials.
“Attention to detail, getting the scale right, just being a bit creative, it’s a good outlet.”
It is now something Cr Wickerson takes great pleasure in and he is renowned as the councillor cake decorator.
“You’ve got to have an angle, some of us are keen gardeners, some of us are into trampolining and other things, if cooking is my thing I am happy to take that,” he said.
“Being a councillor is 24/7 and you get very busy doing that, so just to have some way to shut off from that for just a moment and lose yourself in making a cake and creating something is good.”
It isn’t entirely easily however, but it is rewarding, according to Cr Wickerson.
“It’s stressful in its own way that you want to do a good job and you want to get it out in time and delivered and not drop the thing,” he said.
“I have never had an unhappy client ever or friend.
“It’s good that you can do something that really brightens peoples lives up.”
Coming away from the awards, Cr Wickerson felt inspired and reinvigorated.
There were displays and demonstrations of new things he was keen to have a go at.
“To go away to these competitions and awards and win a nice trophy is just the icing on the cake, it’s the friends you meet and the networking,” he said.
“Coming away from that with a bit of extra knowledge about what I am doing and learn a few things.”
While he doesn’t call himself an expert, he offered his top tip which was to start early.
“Have a plan, always have a bit of a sketch or design or the dimensions, if you don’t have a plan you don’t know what you are aiming for,” he said.
“Know the ingredients you are working with, you have to know your material.”
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