Student Story: Baking and Building a Business in the Blue Mountains

This article is sponsored by Le Cordon Bleu

Jeongmin’s story began back in 2010 during her travels across Scandinavia. It was during these travels that she would meet her future husband. He was from Australia, and Jeongmin lived in South Korea at the time. Not only did she fall in love with an Aussie, but she also fell for Australia during her first visit to Sydney (we can’t blame her!). When Jeongmin first started her journey in Australia, she studied at a language school in Sydney. Once the course finished, and her visa expired, she had to relocate back home to South Korea.

Diving into a culinary career

Jeongmin took time back in her home country to reflect on where she could take her career. Her primary consideration was choosing a course that would allow her to return to Australia, and also gain independence from her parents. Upon discovering Le Cordon Bleu in Sydney, she kickstarted what she calls “a new chapter.”

Back in South Korea, Jeongmin studied ceramics and glass as part of a Fine Arts university course. She decided that patisserie would be an exciting career to pursue, and one that aligned with her passion for cooking. She enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu in 2012 and hasn’t looked back since.

Similar to her background in crafting ceramic and glass, patisserie is an art form and one that Jeongmin has certainly mastered over the years. Her learnings from Le Cordon Bleu brought immense joy: I just love seeing [the] cake[s] that I make bring a big smile on people’s faces,” she says. People continually praise her beautiful creations, and she is incredibly grateful to do something she loves and brings happiness to people’s lives.

All the treats Jeongmin develops today have come from the knowledge she gained at Le Cordon Bleu. Her five-year-old daughter often watches her baking and has ambitions to make cakes when she’s older. “I will not hesitate to recommend her to go to Le Cordon Bleu,” says Jeongmin. Additionally, Jeonming admires the culinary school for teaching her skills and techniques, as well as “good times and relationships in the industry.”

Baking beginnings

Jeongmin’s first baking job was a volunteer position at the InterContinental in Sydney – an opportunity co-organised between Le Cordon Bleu and the hotel. The 10-week role was a valuable hands-on learning opportunity for Jeongmin. From there, she went on to work at a German bakery in Bondi Junction, where her primary responsibilities were making delicious scones and muffins to supply to hotels in Sydney. After that, she took some time away from baking to raise her daughter and enjoy motherhood.

During her downtime, she was contacted by a friend who needed a cake for an office meeting. Shortly after, the cake requests started to flood in from her friends’ colleagues. This made Jeongmin realise that it was possible to start her own business. She now sells her home-baked goods at Springwood Growers Market in the Blue Mountains. 

Since the global pandemic hit, things have changed slightly for Jeongmin. “Due to COVID-19, the market has been cancelled since March,” she says. “However, still, lots of customers have been ordering cakes privately.”

Jeongmin plays a vital part to ensure birthdays during isolation still happen; there may be no parties, but with Jeongmin’s commitment, there are still cakes! She offers a contactless pick-up service for her customers so she can operate safely during these times.

Life in Australia

When asked what she most enjoys about living in Australia, Jeongmin says, “Living in Australia is the perfect harmony of city life and great nature.” Despite being used to big city life in South Korea, she has always enjoyed the laidback lifestyle surrounded by nature. “Sydney’s first impression to me was just perfect to have both aspects at once,” she says.

For the last five years, home has been in the Blue Mountains. Jeongmin defines the area as a beautiful place to be with a supportive community. The local wildlife is also a bonus, where she regularly spots king parrots, gang-gang cockatoos, black cockatoos, rainbow lorikeets, and more.

The future is sweet

The future certainly looks sweet for Jeongmin! After watching her business grow at the local market, she is now transitioning to building her very own store. You’ll find Jeongmin’s shop, Sincerely, Cake in an area of the Blue Mountains called Hazelbrook, with her doors set to open to the public in July 2020.