Tusting Talks… to Mich Turner MBE
Recently, we enjoyed a visit from long-term Tusting customer and extraordinary cake chef, Mich Turner. We sat down for a cup of tea and chatted about Mich’s story that has taken her from domestic science at school to global fame for her incredible celebratory cakes.
Described as The Queen of Couture Cakes, Mich Turner MBE is a pioneer in the baking industry. As a qualified Food Scientist and former Bakery and Patisserie Buyer at Harvey Nichols, Mich is a consultant to the retail and hospitality industry combining her creativity, experience and organisation to bring a refreshing professionalism to business. In 2010 she was awarded an MBE for her services to the catering industry.
The award-winning entrepreneur, founder of Little Venice Cake Company, author of 7 international best-selling books, teacher, TV judge and an ambassador for Scottish Bakers’ Association, has brilliant style and plenty of Tusting bags for every occasion.
How did you get into the world of baking?
I entered and won my first cookery competition at the age of 15 while I was at school. I was very much a scientist and enjoyed the practical side of food as my creative expression. It fuelled my passion for all things food and after I was asked to make my A level teacher’s wedding cake I went on to qualify as a Food Scientist at University. I was sponsored by United Biscuits and spent a year in industry working for McVities before joining Harvey Nichols as a Bakery and Patisserie Buyer. I established Little Venice Cake Company in 1999 since which time I have have hand crafted over 30,000 celebration cakes and written 7 books.
What inspires you and helps the creativity when creating your cake designs?
I love starting with a blank canvas and 35 years of experience. I am inspired by the people for whom the cake is being created, the event, the location, the style, the colours, to ensure their personality or brand identity shines through and my hand craftsmanship, flair and attention to detail are channelled and challenged. You can’t fake passion.
Tell us about your favourite cakes?
I love cakes that have pushed my creativity, fulfilled the brief, been completely bespoke in their design and totally indulgent to eat.
I made my own wedding cake, a four-tier design with hand-piped brush embroidery taking inspiration from the lace on my wedding gown. Last summer, I was commissioned by the British Embassy to make the Queen’s Birthday Party and Platinum Jubilee Celebration cakes for events held in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. And I’ve just made the huge and incredibly ornate The Feast of Dreams cake which was recently showcased at the grand reveal of ‘Atlantis the Royal’ in Dubai – the world’s most ultra-luxury hotel and where we have just opened Little Venice Cake Company Dubai.
You have brilliant style, what’s in your Tusting bag?
I have the India Hicks Prince’s Trust ‘Change a Girl’s Life’ tote – No 11 – engraved with my name, which I use every day as my workhorse to carry folders, my diary and a laptop.
My Hettie, I use as a cross body and clutch in the Alabaster colour – it goes with everything, is versatile and always looks chic.
I also have a blue Mini Holly makes me feel very feminine and is deceptively large. I love this bag in the spring and summer sunshine.
My husband and I bought each other Weekender travel bags when we married 25 years ago, and they came with us on our honeymoon to Scotland. We use them a lot and they are still gorgeous.
In my bag, you’ll find lipstick and a mirror, my phone, AirPods and keys. I always carry a fresh Liberty cotton hankie, a Mont Blanc pen, a couple of business cards and a phone battery pack.
What does quality mean to you?
Authenticity, attention to detail, refined and understated style.
What does 2023 have in store for you?
A huge year with the opening of Little Venice Cake Company in Dubai. We have curated a world exclusive collection of fine bone china, silverware, fine chocolates and truffles, rare teas, craft baking kits and my recipe books. The Atelier has a delicious collection of cakes, an impressive show kitchen to watch the Cake Artists in action creating the theatre and magic, unique Masterclass experiences and a Royal Consultation Room for bespoke commissions.
Between this and my role as the ambassador for the Scottish Bakers Association and industry consultant, I shall be keeping my fingers in lots of pies!