An award-winning baker who grew up in the Highlands has won a top prize in Scotland’s very own top notch “bake-off.”
Sonnda Catto, originally from Beauly, set up her own bakery and patisserie business, Hautecake, earlier this year, and has now been recognised by the Scottish Baking Awards 2014 as Scotland’s Best Baker from Home.
The award is the only one of its kind in the country and the scheme aims to recognise the outstanding baking that exists in Scotland.
The 41-year-old successfully beat 94 other Scottish Baking Award holders in her category.
She said: “I am overwhelmed at receiving the award. It is such a tremendous honour to be recognised in this way. My aim is to to create cakes, pâtisserie and gateaux that are as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside. Everything is handmade, from scratch, using the highest quality, fresh ingredients. If it’s not natural, it won’t get through the Hautecake kitchen door.”
“I particularly love to work with seasonal and local produce – something we take for granted when it comes to savoury food, but is pretty unusual for cake. Whether eating sweet or savoury, I believe you should be able to tell what time of year it is and where about in the world you are. It’s also really important to me to support local producers.”
Miss Catto attended Beauly Primary School and Charleston Academy before moving to study nutrition at the University of Glasgow.
After graduating, she completed a Masters degree in public health and spent 15 years working for the NHS researching diet, physical activity and health.
But her passion for classical cake-making burst through and in 2012, she went to London, retrained in pâtisserie at Le Cordon Bleu and got a job at the double Michelin-starred Sketch restaurant.
She then returned to Glasgow and joined the pastry team at the Blythswood Square Hotel, becoming responsible for afternoon tea.
Earlier this year, she decided to go it alone and set-up her own business from home, quickly garnering awards and a reputation for top quality and distinctiveness.
Miss Catto will head to Washington in the new year to work with acclaimed US cake designer, Maggie Austin.
Melanie Andrews, award convenor for the Scottish Baking Awards, said: “What we saw in Sonnda was an incredibly passionate and precise baker. Sonnda’s ability to marry the techniques and traditions of classic French pâtisserie to the very best of Scottish produce clearly made her standout against the competition.”