Charlotte Harding finds herself in Haywards Heath talking about all things cake.
A story that starts with a bet very rarely ends up with a successful food blog and a blooming cake business.
“My nephew Ollie loves Instagram and I said as a joke I bet I could get more followers than you,” explains Chantelle Simms also known as Cooking MamaC.
“I started to post about my food and then I started to get followers and likes.
“He still can’t believe that I got 600 followers in four months when it has taken him years to build up his followers.”
It was also her nephew who gave Chantelle the push to take her catering and cake business further.
Chantelle studied catering at college but as she felt it didn’t pay enough she needed to do something that was more of a career and would support her to buy a home and start a family.
This saw her embark in a career in the insurance industry as a recruiter.
“Then in December 2017 I had my daughter and I went from this fast-paced world of recruitment to doing nothing but just waiting for my daughter to go to sleep or to have a feed,” reveals Chantelle.
“I needed to do something for me. It was about pulling myself out of the baby blues, and then my nephew suggested baking.
“I had done catering and cakes for family, friends and friends of friends but nothing else really but he gave me the push.”
With it all decided Chantelle went to the council to make it all official and got her first orders in January.
“It gave me something to get out of bed for in the morning that was just for me,” she says.
“I love doing it as it combines my love of baking and art, I can be really creative which is fantastic.”
This creativity sees Chantelle creating bright and colourful cakes, in all shapes and sizes.
“I do love a challenge,” she smiles. “I recently created a narrow boat which was really out of my comfort zone but a great one to do.
“I will try and make what they want and if they don’t like it I’ll give them a refund and get a cake from the shop.”
She has also been doing more and more vegan cakes in recent months and has created her own secret recipe to get the right rise and taste.
“But I’m not going to share it,” she laughs, “it does work though.”
Ideally Chantelle prefers at least a month for wedding cakes so that it can all be finalised and perfected and if they require a cake topper she can get a personalised one in three weeks.
“I can be quite flexible though,” she adds. “For the narrow boat they go in touch on the Sunday and wanted it the Wednesday.”
While people still love to have a cake at their wedding Chantelle has seen an increasing amount of people booking her to create grazing tables.
The idea is that instead of a traditional cake people have a table filled with tray bakes like brownies, cupcakes and sweets and guests can just come up and take what they want.
Chantelle makes all the cakes herself and arranges them all decoratively on the table.
“People also love my Champagne jam,” she reveals.
“I made a cake for a 50th party and a 70th birthday party and someone tried the cakes and ordered one just because they liked the jam so much. I use a bottle of Champagne and add fresh rhubarb it really is delicious.”
As a mum Chantelle also wants to set a good example for her daughter.
“I’m trying to show mums they can change their hobby into a career after baby,” she smiles. “You are not just a mum but a business mum.
I want to show my daughter Maisie a good work ethic that you can do anything if you put your mind to it.”
For Chantelle’s blog Cooking MamaC visit cookingmamac.com
On Facebook ‘like’ www.facebook.com/CookMamaC
And Instagram ‘follow’ www.instagram.com/cooking_mamac