When I asked Chantal if she would come on the blog and bake something she suggested that we have a tea party with everything in miniature. You can imagine my heart jumping right out of my chest and hugging her. Then when it actually happened, well let's just say I had a mini fit. But back to the lady who made it happen.
Chantal is a dedicated crafternooner (check out #wecrafternoon on Instagram), a kitchen whizz and totally stylin sweetheart. She has a wicked sense of humour and is forever dreaming up wonderful new ways to get creative. I'm going to let her tell you more about herself but please promise me that you'll set aside a sunday afternoon for a mini tea party stat. And I'm going to have to insist that you serve these madeleines.
// You look really familiar. Do you live in Paris and bake fancy tarts out of your tiny kitchen?
Oui, madam! I wish…
// So who are you then and what do you do?
I’m Chantal, and living out my dream as the Social Media Manager at Williams-Sonoma Inc. (Australia), working across our four phenomenal brands: Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids and West Elm. In my free time, you’ll find me baking, crafting, exploring – almost always with my scruffy pooch by my side.
// What’s the best part about your job? Apart from meeting me of course.
Well, there’s some truth to that! Without hesitation, the absolute best part of my job is getting to meet and collaborate with a bunch of uniquely talented people in the creative community. I’m constantly in awe of all you extraordinary people! There is an incredible wealth of talent in Australia and it is so wonderful to see how new highly visual mediums like Instagram have exposed and elevated the profiles of the Erika Rax’s of this world.
To think... if we hadn’t met + worked together on the Kinfolk Herbal Infusions Workshop at West Elm, our miniature tea party may never have happened!
// What were you doing before you started doing what you do now?
I was with a social media agency working across a number of big brands including eBay, Expedia, Roadshow, HP, PayPal. I’m sorry this isn’t more exciting – well… my first-ever job was head scooper at Baskin-Robbins. That was the perfect job for me as I was born with what is best described as “ice-cream stomach” – a compartment in the stomach that transcends dessert. One can eat dinner, then dessert, followed by a course of ice-cream. Ice-cream consumption can also happen unexpectedly, at any time of day.
// You got pretty close to making it onto MKR last year. Can you tell us about this and/or give us any gossip?
Erm really? No goss unfortunately – I did apply for MKR with my sister a few years ago but got kicked off before I could even activate my almonds.
// Was food/baking a big part of your childhood?
Cooking was a massive part of my childhood, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with a special little lady, my mum – learning, observing, bonding. My mum is Malaysian (and an incredible cook!) which means being completely obsessed with food is in the genes. From the moment I was allowed to turn on the oven, I have been building up a repertoire of biscuits, pastries and cakes, with a little help from AWW and mummy along the way.
// How are you finding Australia? Do you miss your tiny Parisian kitchen?
Oh stop it you! Talk to my publicist.
Orange Blossom-Lillet Madeleines
2 large eggs
100g caster sugar
100g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
grated zest of ½ lemon
1 tbs Lillet Blanc
2 tsp orange blossom water
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Melt the butter over high heat until “nut brown”, then cool.
Whisk eggs and sugar together until thick and creamy.
Gently fold in flour, baking powder and lemon zest.
Gradually and gently fold in the melted butter until smooth and just combined. Once incorporated, add the Lillet and orange blossom water.
Rest the mixture in the fridge for at least an hour. Note: can be made a day in advance.
Brush the madeleine mould liberally with butter, then drop spoonfuls of the mixture into the prepared moulds. Bake 8-10 minutes until risen and golden (about 5-7 min for mini madeleines).
Eat them while they’re warm (when no one’s watching, brush with more butter). For something a little special, dip into pastel coloured icing and embellish your heart out.
Also a huge thank you to Bianca who I am yet to convince to be photographed and featured for her excellent company on the day and her ridiculous collection of tiny props.