My Queen of Cake – Rewa Mlinaric

How can I do my best to story-tell about me and Rewa? She was the first true friend I met through work and through the world of scary fashion; fashion for me now is my fuel and air, but for a 22 year old Taiwanese girl back in 2003, when the topic of diversity was not talked about, I was rather intimidated by it, I struggled a lot at the beginning of my career both personally and professionally. Working for Anya Hindmarch was such a big deal for me, I thought I had to be PERFECT!

Rewa was the assistant manager in production department, her room was like my kind of candy shop filled with beautiful clasps, hardwares, crystals, metallic materials, beautiful leathers, for a graduated fashion student, you can imagine the excitement I used to get, and it was beyond organised like western Marie Kondo, I visited her production room whenever I needed a pick-me-up. So she was my saviour, she helped my young self, a new graduate, the only Asian, settling in the office, stepping her foot into her adult life, I was in London alone, knowing hardly anyone, with no real connection, I had to find my own way to face life; she listened to every failed of my fashion assistant problems, boy problems, cheered me every step away when I got a pay-rise and promotion, offered a real warmth in life and later a new group of friends I met through her. Furthermore, the best part was, her and her boyfriend (now husband) Max really know how to throw the best party; through their beautiful parties, I levelled up my passion for good food and fine wine.

*cakes designed by Rewa for my kids’ birthday

Fast forward 18 years later, she is still my saviour, we talk about mom life, businesses, inspirations, and most importantly, she is my cake queen, my go-to person for sweet receipts. If you don’t know this lovely warm super Kiwi, now it’s time to get to know my bestie Rewa and her Short & Sweet – how a full time mother started her cake business with such detailed design and that is 100% self-taught. This smart cookie makes delicious cookies and cakes – prepare to be inspired.

Here is Rewa answering my lucky 8 questions:

KF: What inspired you to be a cake designer when you were in a fashion production for years?

RM: I loved my job in fashion production but it was never the right industry for me, I have always been passionate and loved everything about food, especially sweet things!

The real starting point for me and my love of cakes and design was from our wedding day (2007) when I asked our caterer to make us a giant pavlova as our wedding cake, it had 6 double layers and was about 1.5mt high and covered in fruit and flowers, we loved it!

Then the actual cake design has really evolved over the last 8 years, I  have done pop up restaurants, charity picnics, market stalls and many celebration cakes but ‘short and sweet’ began properly about two and a half years ago when I realised I loved creating bespoke products for customers and I knew I could make it into a business.

KF: How do you describe your signature styles and if there’s any more new things you want to try and push yourself?

RM: I would like to think of my style as modern but fun, I love to use colour and texture and also try and bring my cakes to life.  Each cake I make is bespoke and never the same as another which is what I am very proud of.

I am constantly inspired on a daily basis by my fellow bakers on instagram and also from other amazing talented cake makers, I have a crazy amount of photos and ideas I want to try in my ‘inspiration folder’ one thing I do like to try and do with each cake is try something new, so it might be using a new colour, or trying a new piping technique etc but I feel that if I try something each time then I am learning and improving.

I am constantly inspired on a daily basis by my fellow bakers on instagram and also from other amazing talented cake makers, I have a crazy amount of photos and ideas I want to try in my ‘inspiration folder’

I would love to try and master the art of chocolate, it’s super tricky but so effective and so delicious and one day I will!

KF: Do you think your previous professional skills were useful to run your business or be a mother and wife? If so, what are they?

RM: Definitely, when I used to work for Anya Hindmarch I was in production so always doing costing sheets which has helped me hugely with my own costings and pricing. 

I would also say that the inspiration for design and bespoke products also came from Anya as well.

KF: As a mom of 2 girls, you were a stay-home mom for a long time, what finally made you want to have your own business?

RM: I love being a mother more than anything and my children and family will always come first but I suppose the truth is I really needed some space and to do something for myself and something creative. 

The great thing about what I do is I can work and run my own business from home whilst being a Mum and still do the school runs, so for me I think I have the best of both worlds.

I love being a mother more than anything and my children and family will always come first but I suppose the truth is I really needed some space and to do something for myself and something creative. 

As mothers though we always feel guilty about something, I do when I am working and not playing with them but I  think it’s important for children to see that it’s okay to work hard at something you love.

KF:  How have you (and your kids) coped through this pandemic?

RM: Our eldest daughter (aged 9) struggled as she missed her friends terribly and our youngest daughter (aged 5) loved every minute of it as she is a real homebody but overall I think they loved the time at home not and not feeling the pressure from school.

For me the struggle was quite hard as all of a sudden I had to work, cook, clean and be a teacher!! And it was quite a shock to the system, I originally thought I would be quite a good teacher and then very quickly realised I wasn’t! But I figured we were all in the same boat and all that mattered was that we did our best. 

It was however lovely for us as a family to spend more time together.

KF: When you are so busy everyday, do you cook? If so can you share your recipe that can make a dish in under 30 minutes?

RM: I always cook for my children, always have done and always will as I think it’s important they have real food, they both also love to cook which is great.  My I suppose my kids favourite 30 minute meal would be a classic ‘Pasta Carbonara’

KF: A piece of advice for your young self.

RM: Are we not still young?!?! Ha ha

Always be true to yourself, believe in yourself and follow your dreams as you can achieve great things

KF: A piece of advice for stay-home mothers who may be scared of going back to work or launching their business.

the best thing is to just take the jump and do it and the rest will follow, don’t start tomorrow start today.

RM: If you have a great idea don’t be afraid to just give it a go, I always thought you had to have everything ready and in place but it’s not true, the best thing is to just take the jump and do it and the rest will follow, don’t start tomorrow start today.

I am so happy finally I got all my bestie’s story for you, hope you enjoy it.

Short & Sweet London can be followed via instagram or contact directly via website.

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蛋糕女王 – Rewa Mlinaric 

要怎麼樣來敘述我和REWA的長久的友情關係呢?

他是第一位我在時尚工作認識的真心的朋友, 有在時尚產業工作的朋友就知道我們時尚人是有點奇特,所以很多人可能會覺得可怕。 當時在2003年對一個才剛從大學畢業的22歲台灣女生,又當時我是唯一在公司裡面的亞洲人,對我來說這份工作是有壓力的。 在安亞裡面工作對我來說是人生一件很重大的事,所以我對當時的自己要求非常非常的高,我覺得只能夠有完美,其他都不可以。

REWA 當時是生產部的副經理, 他的一個工作室對我來說等於是糖果屋,做包包的材料,各式各樣的皮料,還有很美的布料。這個工作室對於時尚大學畢業的女生你可以想像到了這個空間我有多興奮。而且 所有的東西器材都排得整整齊齊,很有組織的,他像是西方的近藤麻理惠。每當我覺得有挫折或者是無聊的時候 我最喜歡去找REWA。因此我們從同事變成朋友,他像是我的救星幫助了我從大學生轉成成人因為我當時自己一個人在倫敦沒有任何的家人而且大學畢業之後也不認識任何的人完全在這個社會上面是沒有什麼特別的關係,,我必須要自己面對自己的人生,REWA Creva每次只要我在工作上有問題 跟男朋友吵架 都找他解憂

如果我有任何的升遷他也都非常的為我開心。他真的是讓我感受到友情的溫暖

更好的是他和他當時的男朋友現在結婚的老公 真的知道怎麼樣享受生活,常常會開派對請大家來吃飯,讓我加深了對於食物上還有美酒的熱情。

18年後還是是我的知己, 我們常常談媽媽經自己的工作自己的理想還有更重要的是他是我的蛋糕女王,如果我想要吃任何的甜點我一定是去找他要食譜。 所以現在就是你可以認識我的好朋友ViVa和他的甜甜短短蛋糕店。他所有的技巧都是自己學生學習來的非常的厲害。好,那現在準備被激發你做甜點的靈感。

問REWA的幸運八大題。

是什麼啟發了你從時尚生產到變成蛋糕設計師

我當時的確是喜歡我時尚生產的工作, 但是我一直都知道時尚業不是我終生的選擇因為我對於食物尤其是甜點是特別有熱情的。

納什麼真正啟發了我是上次我當時自己設計的我們的結婚蛋糕, 我請人家幫我們做了一個150公分高的野梅帕夫洛夫上面放了很多的鮮花還有水果,大家都很愛。

後來我自己就不斷的慢慢練習做蛋糕和甜點我的技術是在正慢8年中慢慢的演變

之前我有在快閃餐廳幫忙過,也幫忙慈善會的野餐, 還有在市場上試賣, 幫朋友做了很多生日或是結婚蛋糕

那在這最近兩年半來我慢慢地發現我真的對於創造訂製的甜點有很多的熱情我也了解到我可以怎麼樣把這一個這份熱情變成是一個自己的事業。

請解說一下你的訂製蛋糕的風格是什麼樣的呢 還有還有哪樣新的技巧你還想要繼續加強的

我覺得我的風格是摩登又有趣的,我喜歡用顏色和質感把我的蛋糕呈現得更好。我非常自豪每一個蛋糕都是我親手訂製的所以沒有任何一個是會一樣的。

我每天都會被其他 做蛋糕的同伴啟發靈想,我有一個靈感手冊裡面有很多很多不同的概念方式和技巧我想要試試看的我很喜歡嘗試新的東西新的顏色心得技巧我覺得如果我嘗試新的技巧我也慢慢不斷的自己學習還有進步

之後我也希望能夠試試看做巧克力的藝術這是一件非常高難度的專業每一樣東西都要非常的正確但是真的很好吃所以我總有一天會試試看

那你覺得你之前當生產部的經理 工作上面 到現在變成媽媽和太太還有自己的事業有什麼樣的貢獻

一定是有貢獻的我當初在安亞工作的時候常常必須要做生產預算表, 那這個現在對我自己的工作上一定是有幫助的

還有我覺得我現在喜歡高級訂製蛋糕對影響也很可能是因為我以前常常幫安雅做高級訂製包

你有兩個女兒還有你之前事實上當的全職媽媽很久那是怎麼樣讓你有勇氣終於把自己的蛋糕是夜衝出來

當媽媽是我最喜歡的一份工作但是而且我的家庭和小孩永遠都是被我放在第一的但是事實上我真的也是需要一些自己的空間能夠做一些自己的東西然後是可以創造一些東西是我喜歡的

我的訂製蛋糕這份工作最好的是它是我自己的事業所以我可以是一個媽媽帶他們去上學接他們下雪但是我還是可以兼顧我自己的訂單所以我覺得我室友最棒的工作了

當媽媽的人我們永遠都會覺得虧欠了什麼我也會如果我必須要做蛋糕沒有辦法陪他們玩的時候但是我也覺得對小孩來說看到自己媽媽有工作而且對他的工作有熱情是一個件很重要的事

這次世界疫情嚴重你和你的家人還有小孩子是怎麼樣度過的

我大女兒已經9歲了他的確覺得不能夠去看他的同學是一件很辛苦的事情那小女兒5歲他就很喜歡在家裡因為他們還小所以沒去學校對他們來說除了想念同學其他的都還蠻開心的

我掙扎的部分是突然間我必須要工作煮飯清理家裡還要當一個家庭老師, 我本來以為我自己會是一個很好的老師但是我發現 真的是隔行如隔山,但是重要的是我們做到了最好就好,

另外的好處是我們全家都在一起這也是很難得的機會

你每天都非常的忙碌你每天都自己煮飯嗎?可以分享一下自己最喜歡做什麼菜

我每天都煮飯給我的小孩因為對我來說他們能夠吃到媽媽煮的健康的菜是很重要的我兩個小孩也很喜歡幫助我煮菜

如果是要很快速30分鐘內做到的我會選擇義大利麵Pasta carbonara

那你對於年輕的自己會有怎麼樣的建議

我們不是還很年輕嗎哈哈哈

永遠都是要對自己很誠實,要相信自己,這樣來追隨你的夢想,往往是可以實現的。

很多全職媽媽都很擔心怎麼回去工作或者是怎麼樣能夠找到自己喜歡的事業, 分享一下你的建議

如果你有一個好的主意不妨嘗試做做看, 不要擔心會失敗。 所有的東西都要準備好才可以開,但是現實面不是這樣子的,最好的就是你試試看,只要有開始的話,其他的就會慢慢的跟隨,不要明天再做今天就開始。

Short & Sweet 是位在倫敦 的高級訂製甜點店 IG 追中:@shortandsweetlondon 官方網站:www.shortandsweet.uk.com

喜歡這篇文章的朋友可以到我的網頁訂閱,有更多的訪談慢慢的會寫出來,還有不要忘記追蹤我的Instagram @kfyangoconnor 謝謝!

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