A Manorhamilton cake designer and chef has capped off a phenomenal 12 months by winning the Senior Chef of the Year at Chef Ireland in the RDS, Dublin last week as well as securing an amazing double gold medal for her incredible Steam Punk Wedding Cake creation.
Speaking with the Leitrim Observer this week, Karen Keaney, owner of the Roses and Bows Cakery in north Leitrim, said it had been a whirlwind 11 months since she entered her first competition in March 2014.
“Since then I have won six golds and two best in show awards and now this. It has been an amazing 11 months for me,” she admitted.
Her success is even more phenomenal when you consider the fact that less than three years ago, Karen saw her unique talent for cake design as more of a hobby. However, when her unique christening cake design for her own daughter led to cake requests from family and friends, Roses and Bows Cakery was born.
Since then Karen has seen not only her business grow, but also her portfolio of well earned awards as well.
Her double gold winning Steam Punk Wedding Cake features an amazing multi-layer tribute to all things steampunk and even complete with actual steam - courtesy of strategically placed dry ice.
The cake itself is mix of sugar craft and modelling chocolate,boasting hand painted detailing which took over 40 hours for Karen to complete.
“It was an idea I had in my head for ages and I think that is what I love about competitions like this, it is a chance for me to go crazy with a design, to make something so unusual and fabulous without having to worry about cost or client briefs,” explains Karen.
While judges usually award a gold medal to category winners, Karen’s creation was of such quality that it secured an almost unheard of two gold medals.
“I couldn’t believe it, it was such a shock,” she admits, however one further surprise was in store for Karen. After she left the three day event last week, Karen discovered that she had also secured the coveted Senior Chef of the Year title.
“I hadn’t a clue that I had won it. I had already left the RDS after three days of competing and my colleague Gabriel McSharry rang me to tell me I had won.”
On top of her competitions and running her own business, Karen has also found time to complete online tutorials in cake decorating and to teach other classes passing on her skills to a new generation of cake designers.
“It is pretty hectic, especially as I have young children as well, but I do love what I do and I know how lucky I am to have found something that I can do for a living that I just enjoy,” she says.
“I think this is something of an addiction at this stage!”
If you would like to see some of Karen’s amazing creations see https://www.facebook.com/pages/Roses-and-bows-cakery or check out her website www.rosesandbowscakery.com