Cakes rise, and so does Victoria Gibbons.
The North Battleford native recently took home the gold medal in the Skills Ontario pastry and baking competition.
"I was really excited to be in that competition," she said.
Gibbons is currently enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa Culinary Arts Institute, where she is just completing the Superior Pastry course. She will be studying Superior Cuisine next, a nine-month course. Superior is the highest level of instruction at the institute, and after she completes the cuisine course, Gibbons plans to apprentice with a chef, possibly in Europe or Asia.
"In Asia they have a lot of pastry; it's very in style," said Gibbons.
The North Battleford Comprehensive High School graduate said she was never really the academic type, and although she enjoyed painting in art class, it wasn't something she excelled at. But an interest in art made her join the pottery club.
"When I started to do pottery, it's where I really found my niche as a sculptor," she said.
After graduating in 2008, Gibbons participated in an exchange program in Australia, where she worked mainly on ceramics. Gibbons' grandmother, Yvonne Nyholt, said the pieces Gibbons made were amazing. In fact, Nyholt recounted how she was nervous about breaking the pieces, but her granddaughter would tell her they were really nothing important, which would have Nyholt shaking her head.
"She is such an exceptional artist," said Nyholt.
Although Gibbons greatly enjoyed pottery, she knew it wasn't the medium for her.
"It's hard to make a living in pottery, and I don't like doing mass production," said Gibbons.
The young woman recalled a presentation given in her Grade 11 French class about Le Cordon Bleu, and decided she would become a food sculptor. Gibbons said she hasn't looked back since, and found her time at Le Cordon Bleu "worth every penny."
To win gold, Gibbons had only six hours to make three different petits fours; six choux paste, six pate sucree and six puff pastry; a white chocolate mousse and raspberry cake, a chocolate box that consisted of 15 lemon caramel molded chocolates and 15 unmolded cinnamon truffles, and a plated dessert.
Winning gold allowed Gibbons the opportunity to move on to the Canadian Skills Competition, where she placed fourth.
Although Gibbons was a little disappointed at not winning at nationals as well, her grandmother couldn't be more proud.
"To have accomplished all this at such a young age is just amazing."