Interview: Jordan Rondel, The Caker
My latest interview is with the super sweet Jordan Rondel, also known as The Caker. This talented 26 year old has just released her second cookbook and her love of wholesome baking and high quality ingredients is at it’s core. Jordan shared with me where her love of baking began, The Caker’s exciting plans for the future, and the pros and cons of being self-employed in your twenties.
SPOILER: She gets to dance around the kitchen while she bakes…
Hi Jordan! Firstly, please explain to readers of The Twenties Club where your love for wholesome baking began, and the significant role your grandparents played.
Baking is in my blood. My great-grandfather was a pastry chef who ran a beautiful little patisserie in Paris. He was an artisan who, even during wartime, insisted on finding a way to serve his customers something exceptional. He passed his secrets onto my grandparents, and them to me.
As a young girl I would visit my grandparents in Paris and, on special mornings, we would walk together to the local markets. I saw the watchful care with which ingredients were selected. My grandparents took no shortcuts and were uncomprimising when it came to what they ate. I would like to believe that their blessedly good health is in part due to their belief in good food. No meal during the more than 50 years of their marriage was complete without a sweet treat- they taught me well!
Much of their baking involves fresh fruits and healthy options that counterpart touches of luxury. I retain this French ideal when it comes to eating: indulge in taste, not in bulk. It is in Paris in these early years that I first experienced the elation that comes from creative cooking and baking. As my grandmother’s helper, I became part of transforming a selection of various ingredients into a satisfying and (to my young mind) quite miraculous whole. I still find this process to be magical.
Congratulations on the release of your second cookbook ‘The Caker: Wholesome Cakes, Cookies and Desserts”. From your first cookbook to your second, how have you changed as a person? And how is this reflected in the work you produce?
Thanks! My first cookbook was released in 2013, so two years before the current one. Back then I think I was still finding my style with baking, and the book is a bit of an amalgamation of recipes…some which are definitely down the more wholesome path, and others are more classic recipes. My new book has a much clearer focus on baking which is better for the tastebuds as well as the body. In saying that, I haven’t cut out all sugar, butter and flour as I do still believe that cakes, cookies and desserts should be treats and not completely devoid of things which are not necessarily good for you. I stick firmly to the belief of everything in moderation! Over the two years between the two books, I think I’ve become a more confident and relaxed person, and I hope this is reflected in my work!
You were only 21 years old when you launched The Caker in 2010, what fears did you have about launching your own business and how did you manage those fears?
Oh so many. Most of them being financial concerns, which were overcome by realising you have to spend money to make money. I also had fears about having no clue what I was doing, especially when it came to things like accounting, or getting my kitchen registered and graded, but these were overcome by simply working hard, and asking as many people as I could for advice!
Entering the workforce in your twenties is a scary endeavour, and being self-employed can be equally intimidating. What are the pros and cons of being your own boss in your twenties?
Pros include having my own schedule, being able to go out for lunch when I please, not being told what to do by someone else, and having complete creative control over everything I do. I think most of all I love not having to sit at a desk in an office, and instead I can wear whatever I want to work and dance around the kitchen as I bake!
Cons include not having a regular pay cheque, often investing a lot more into the business than what you get back out, having to wake up at ungodly hours to achieve things before the mad rush of the day starts, and not getting enough sleep due to worrying about everything the minute my head hits the pillow!
You have already achieved so much success at such a young age, what are your goals for the rest of this decade?
I have always thought BIG when it comes to this business. I want to expand The Caker overseas, and set up bakeries in Paris, Tokyo, London and New York. I would love to write more books and have my cake mixes stocked all over the world.
And lastly… If you could give one piece of advice to your nineteen-year-old self for surviving this decade, what would it be?
Chill out a little and enjoy the ride!