Catherine Beddall wears a special hat. It is tall and white, and conveys a sense of artistry and mastery. It is a chef’s hat, and she is a chef, but to call Beddall merely a chef is an understatement. She is a creator, a designer, an artist. Beddall creates works of edible art. The kitchen is her Wonderland, and she is the Mad Hatter.
Beddall has made three dimensional crocodile cakes, cakes that look like a burger and fry combo from a fast food restaurant, a plate of spaghetti and even an intricate Alice and the Cheshire Cat cake complete with figurines and a painted forest scene. Her cakes are not just desserts, they make you feel something, the way a piece of art should.
An Algonquin graphic design graduate, Beddall went on to work in that field for over a decade, and developed an interest in cakes, specifically wedding style cakes. She began making them for friends and one year made a cake for her daughters birthday. Some of the adults at the party asked her to make cakes for their children’s birthdays and from there it snowballed into a part time business. That was 10 years ago.
The business continued to grow until Beddall decided to make it a full time career. Enrolling in the baking and pastry arts program at Algonquin as a way to gain a better understanding of baking theory. That understanding was certainly gained, as she now teaches in the program.
“I completed the program and really loved it,” said Beddall. “The instructors were great. At the end of that year, one of my instructors actually approached me because he had seen some of my work and asked me to teach a continued education class. So that’s kind of how I got into teaching here.”
Beddall is now a chef instructor at the college, teaching courses including cake decorating, introduction to baking and pastry and specialty cakes.
Her passion though, is brought to light in her new photo book, The Magic of Gingerbread which is to be released this year.
“The book is very important to me because that’s my passion, gingerbread,” said Beddall. “I love cakes and everything, but I’m just minorly obsessed with gingerbread. I would love to somehow become known as the gingerbread person. That’s kind of my focus. I really want to see where this gingerbread thing goes. I would love it if the book was successful enough that they would want me to do another one.”