Sweet In­spi­ra­tion

Bon­nae Gok­son puts her flair for cre­at­ing beau­ti­ful cakes on dis­play in her new book

Hong Kong Tatler Weddings - - Contents - Rachel Duf­fell

Atow­er­ing wed­ding cake more than two me­tres tall, mauve and pale pink, and stud­ded with moon­stones and Swarovski dia­mantes; a spec­tac­u­lar cre­ation, sus­pended from a ball­room ceil­ing, fea­tur­ing 200 ki­los of sugar flow­ers; sim­ple but stylish one-tiered beauties. All hail from the im­pres­sive reper­toire of cre­ative vi­sion­ary Bon­nae Gok­son, each in­di­vid­u­ally crafted to flaw­lessly fit a unique cel­e­bra­tory scene.

Bon­nae is well known for her in­com­pa­ra­ble style and for her cakes. She be­gan her ca­reer as a vis­ual mer­chan­diser and fash­ion buyer, then worked with her sis­ter Joyce Ma, founder of Joyce. Much of Bon­nae’s early ca­reer re­volved around fash­ion and de­sign, but she also launched Joyce Cafes. Later, the idea of hav­ing her own restau­rant arose and, in 2008, she opened din­ing hotspot Sevva atop Land­mark Prince’s, hav­ing also de­signed the ex­quis­ite in­te­ri­ors. Sevva proved to be a big suc­cess, as were the cakes Bon­nae cre­ated for its din­ers, and Ms B’s Cak­ery soon fol­lowed.

“I’m proud to be the first per­son in Hong Kong to have changed the dy­nam­ics of the cake in­dus­try. We added the aesthetics, tex­tures and di­men­sion to cakes and it’s been a great hit ever since,” says Bon­nae, who soon added Ms B’s Wed­dings and C’est La B cafes to her port­fo­lio. And she hasn’t stopped there. In 2013, Bon­nae pub­lished her first book, But­ter­flies and All Things Sweet, which won awards in France, the US and Aus­tralia. She is fol­low­ing up this year with Wed­dings, But­ter­flies and the Sweet­est Dreams. Her sec­ond book pro­vides a fas­ci­nat­ing in­sight into Bon­nae’s cre­ative process, par­tic­u­larly when it comes to wed­ding cakes—from in­spi­ra­tion to re­al­i­sa­tion, al­ways with a fo­cus on in­di­vid­u­al­ity.

The idea for Wed­dings, But­ter­flies and the Sweet­est Dreams came to Bon­nae after she saw pho­tos from the wed­ding of a celebrity cou­ple. “I just thought their cake was quite a let-down. It looked roughly fin­ished and didn’t match the ro­man­tic set­ting of the rest of their wed­ding.” In jar­ring Bon­nae’s in­nate aes­thetic eye, it in­spired her to present a more re­fined ap­proach to the sub­ject of wed­ding cakes and their seam­less yet strik­ing in­te­gra­tion into wed­dings, wher­ever and for whomever they might be. The book fea­tures stun­ning wed­ding-re­lated im­ages from cel­e­bra­tions around the world, rang­ing from In­done­sia and In­dia to Mex­ico, Nige­ria and China, with many more lo­ca­tions in be­tween. It ex­am­ines all as­pects of a big day, from dress and decor to artistry, ar­chi­tec­ture and age-old cus­toms. Th­ese cel­e­bra­tory sce­nar­ios are ac­com­pa­nied by exquisitely crafted cakes, en­vi­sioned and de­signed by Bon­nae to work co­her­ently within their set­ting.

The beau­ti­ful as­sem­blage has been more than two years in the mak­ing, each im­age painstak­ingly con­sid­ered, with many sourced from high-pro­file pho­tog­ra­phers, to ac­com­pany her care­fully imag­ined and crafted cakes. “The book is not just for bridesto-be but for any­one who ap­pre­ci­ates beauty, artistry and love in all its forms,” Bon­nae says.

The cake of which Bon­nae is per­haps most proud is a sweet cre­ation crafted to pair with a stun­ning cou­ture wed­ding gown by de­signer Vera Wang. “I de­signed a cake that has our sig­na­ture top­ping of

Wed­dings, But­ter­flies and the Sweet­est Dreams by Bon­nae Gok­son will be avail­able in Hong Kong and around the world in Oc­to­ber 2018 cot­ton candy and hand-painted mac­arons,” says Bon­nae. “It is unique, as it takes great skill just to style and twist the cot­ton candy.” Bon­nae was also very hon­oured that Vera Wang and Iris Apfel, both of whom are su­per­stars in the fash­ion world, wrote the fore­word to her book.

Sim­i­lar high-pre­ci­sion work is on dis­play through­out the book. There is a red cake made en­tirely of sugar-crafted ruby roses; a naked cake in­tri­cately cov­ered in lace-like ic­ing; an In­dian wed­ding-in­spired cake with gold and jewel-like dec­o­ra­tion atop richly hued pink, or­ange and red tiers. One cake is adorned with beau­ti­fully hand­writ­ten po­etry; an­other is in­spired by the de­tails a bride might find on her wed­ding cheongsam; and there are cakes imag­ined to fit per­fectly into the wed­dings of high-pro­file cou­ples such as Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly, and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

“You will see a lot of dif­fer­ent cakes,” says Bon­nae. “I don’t re­ally have one style be­cause I be­lieve that when do­ing wed­ding cakes, you have to lis­ten to what other peo­ple want— you are do­ing it for the wed­ding cou­ple, not your­self.” And that’s why so many cou­ples come to her for a wed­ding cake. Bon­nae en­sures she has a clear picture in her mind of what a cou­ple’s big day will look like, so that her cre­ation fits per­fectly. “You are try­ing to man­i­fest what­ever is the most beau­ti­ful for their spe­cial day.”

How­ever, most of Bon­nae’s clients like to leave their cake’s aesthetics up to her. And with her eye for style, love for all things beau­ti­ful and her en­vi­able cre­ative vi­sion, all of which are so promi­nently on dis­play in her restau­rant, cake bou­tiques, cafes and books, what bride’s big day wouldn’t be the sweeter—and more stylish—for leav­ing at least the cake in Bon­nae’s ca­pa­ble hands?

“I don’t re­ally have one style be­cause I be­lieve that when do­ing wed­ding cakes, you have to lis­ten to what other peo­ple want”

QUEEN BEE After a ca­reer in fash­ion, Bon­nae Gok­son moved into the culi­nary realm, with Ms B’s Cak­ery quickly gar­ner­ing a rep­u­ta­tion for ex­quis­ite cakes that taste as good as they look

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