In the latest instalment of our Cake Royalty series, we're joined by the wonderful Bryson Perkins. His relentless enthusiasm for cake and life has got us revved up for making 2017 the best year yet! Read our inspirational interview...
Hello Bryson, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I moved from Kona, Hawaii, to New Hampshire, New England, at the age of nineteen with only $500 in my pocket. I discovered cake decorating at the age of 24 and have been designing/decorating cakes professionally for eight years. We opened Triolo's Bakery in December 2012.
I began competing professionally in 2012 where I achieved Master Cake Decorating status. Over the past four years I have won over 50 top professional awards, which include six Best in Shows, multiple Peoples' Choice awards, Best of Division-Masters, Decorators' Choice awards, 2016 Top Ten Cake Artist of the Year (North America), 2016 Top Ten Cake International Cake Artist of the Year, and an appearance in the first ever Cake Designers World Championship (Team USA).
What an amazing list of achievements! So you've been a professional cake decorator for eight years, can you tell us how you got into cakes?
When I was preparing to move to New Hampshire, one of my parting gifts was a small cookbook along with a note which read "if you ever feel homesick just cook!". Early one morning I found myself at a local bookstore in search of a cookbook. Lying in the middle of the aisle was a wedding cake book by the world famous Colette Peters. I thought to myself - this looks super easy and fun! I headed to the grocery store and purchased a tub of frosting and cake mix. Halfway home I realized that I did not purchase a cookbook or dinner! LOL. My career started the day I picked that book up off the floor.
What design are you most proud of?
Wow. This is a tough question! I take pride in each and every one of my designs. The time, inspiration, dedication, heart, soul, and challenge of each design is what makes me feel proud. I fall in love with the process rather than the actual finished product.
What inspires you?
EVERYTHING. Wilderness, nature, food, fashion, weather, music, architecture, travel, art, color, culture, people, love... The idea of "You can never stop learning," keeps me going.
As a cake decorator - what tool can't you live without?
My creativity and charisma. Tools are wonderful, but without imagination... a cookie cutter is just a cookie cutter!
Speaking of creativity and charisma... who are your cake heroes?
Too many to list. Although she is not a cake hero, I'd have to say my Grandmother would be chief among them. I don't believe I would be the person I am today without her. She introduced me to art, challenged my creativity, and built an environment where it was OK for me to be different : )
Colette Peters, Nicholas Lodge, Ruth Rickey, Marina Sousa, Vanessa Greely... so many to name!
If you could eat only one cake for the rest of your life - what cake would it be?
Carrot Cake (without raisins)
Very specific. We like very specific answers! So - home studio or cake shop?
Full service bakery
Buttercream or ganache?
Novelty cakes or wedding cakes?
What advice would you give to a cake decorator just starting out?
Don't do it!!!!
Just kidding. Do NOT expect to become a professional over night. It took me well over a decade to get to where I am as a cake artist. Listen to the professionals. Take cake courses. Start with one medium and challenge yourself. Get some rest, eat well, and keep a well balanced personal/business life.
That's some sage advice. Tell us, what's your favourite cake style from 2016?
Mixed mediums. Mixing sculpture with string work.
What trends do you predict for 2017?
GOLD! One could only hope...
What has been your proudest achievement within the industry?
Representing the United States in the first ever Cake Designers World Championship in Milan, Italy.
What's the best song to decorate to?
Depends on the style of cake. I can go from classical to soft rock and everything in between (except country).
No country - gotcha! Bryson, you've been inspirational. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us 🙂