Interview: Lorraine Elliott
Not Quite Nigella is Lorraine Elliott, a cake and food enthusiast who believes that cakes belong in an art gallery. I was lucky enough to interview Lorraine about her website and recipes.
Hello! Thank you so much for letting me interview you. How are you?
I'm really well, thank you for asking!
I adore your blog. What made you decide to set up your own business?
Well I'm a food blogger and I started over 10 years ago just playing around with recipes. I also love, love, love eating out so I'd write down recommendations and impression of a place for a regular person's point of view. And my second biggest love apart from food is travel.
How has your creative process changed since the start?
I didn't start creating my own recipes until a year into the blog and now I get so much joy and excitement from creating my own food! It definitely makes things more challenging but I start with an ingredient I find interesting that I may find at the market or shops and basically make something that I really want to eat.
How did you manage to learn and hone your craft?
I still have so much to learn! But I'm a very curious person and always love learning new skills. That's not to say that at times, I don't feel overwhelmed and like I can't tackle something and sometimes I've had some massive failures, but I regroup and try again and again and again sometimes. I've very tenacious.
Have you always been into baking and cooking?
Absolutely, I love making cakes because a cake can really brighten someone's day and I love to see people happy.
What equipment do you use for your work?
I have four stand mixers and a lot of equipment in a very tiny kitchen! That being said, I do love multi use pieces because if you live in a small apartment you often don't have a lot of room.
What tools or materials could you not live without?
A stand mixer, a food processor and a tonne of spatulas, all with different thicknesses, curves, materials and uses.
Why has social media been an important platform for you to use?
Definitely although it is very time consuming. I don't really understand businesses that aren't on social media, it seems like a bit of a wasted opportunity.
Who inspires your work?
There are some amazing cake artists and there are also artists whose work inspires whether it be patterns, shapes or colour combinations. But nature, plants and flowers are a big influence for me too.
Do you have any favourite recipes that you adore at the moment?
I just made a vegan Snickers cake that is one of my favourite cakes ever. I'm not even vegan and have no plans to be but I made this for a family birthday and it was so delicious I almost cried. It had three layers of vegan chocolate cake, sandwiched with peanut butter buttercream, vegan peanut butter caramel, roasted peanuts and then a layer of dark chocolate and coconut cream ganache and gold stars on the outside.
What do we hope to see in this up and coming year for your Instagram page and your work?
More cakes, more tarts, more baking and more food!
What are you currently working on?
Today I'm filming some videos with my mother. She's from Singapore and her recipes (savoury, not baking) are a huge hit with readers. She used to be really reluctant to share her recipes with me but once readers started responding positively she slowly opened up her recipe folder. Today we are filming her signature dessert and her spicy paper bag fish.
What has been your favourite recipe to make?
Cakes! I love them. I love colour and cakes have such a broad colour palette.
Do you follow recipes for your cakes or adapt them?
No I don't follow recipes, I create my own!
What’s your typical working day?
Every day is different which is why I like what I do. Tomorrow will be entirely different from today. Tomorrow is about editing the videos and making a pork and cactus stew and then I'm going out to dinner to try the new Autumn menu at a restaurant.
Do you have any exciting plans for this year?
I'm doing a lot of travel this year (well I do every year) but this is always very exciting for me. My next big trip is to Chicago in May.
What’s been the biggest struggle in getting your business off the ground?
10 years ago nobody knew what a blog was, it was an entirely new concept so it was gaining acceptance.
What are your career plans?
To evolve and keep loving what I do!
Do you have any advice for anyone starting their own business?
Have a good support team around you in your partner and family. When you're stepping out on a ledge, you do need help and reassurance. Also be prepared to work harder than you ever have in your life.
What's the best piece of creative advice you've ever been given?
Be yourself. Everyone else is taken by Oscar Wilde.
If you would like to take a look at Not Quite Nigella, please take a look at her website ‘http://www.notquitenigella.com’. You can also find Lorraine on Instagram ‘https://www.instagram.com/notquitenigella/’.