Retro pâtisserie queen published in Vogue
Alumna Jillian Butler (Diplôme de Pâtisserie, 2015) gave up a corporate insurance job to pursue her culinary dream. Today, she owns a successful pastry shop, is published in Vogue, and hosts Foxtel TV series ‘Passion... Food’.
Having worked in the corporate world for many years, Jillian’s defining moment came when she was 25. Visiting a Belgium-style pâtisserie in Kent filled with handmade delicacies, she had a “light bulb moment” which inspired her to seek a culinary path.
The decision to study at Le Cordon Bleu was without hesitation. “Le Cordon Bleu is one of the best culinary schools in the world, just look at its legacy and history. You can’t do better.” She graduated from Le Cordon Bleu Sydney in 2002 with Basic and Intermediate Pâtisserie, returning in 2014 for a Diplôme de Pâtisserie. Her advice to potential students is - if you have a dream, just do it.
“Education is such a special privilege. If you have the chance to pursue what you want, then Le Cordon Bleu is the only one to consider. My belief is Le Cordon Bleu is the best.”
Keen to develop her own signature style, Jillian saw a gap in the Sydney market for retro American-style desserts. She started inventing her own Southern American recipes using authentic ingredients, real sugar, full-fat cream and butter, and is now published in Vogue and Delicious. Since opening Jillian’s Cakery in 2014, the innovative pâtisserie has been so successful that future franchising may be on the cards.
Jillian’s TV series on Foxtel sees her travelling Australia talking to chefs, vineyard owners, cheese makers, olive growers and dairy farmers – the passionate people behind the food we eat.
Having learned from experience not to let fear get in the way of opportunity, she offers the following advice to self-starters: “If you want to go into business then you must overcome your fears - it’s going to be scary no matter when you do it, whether it’s this year or in 10 years. So just do it.”
Proud of her time-honoured profession, Jillian believes a chef is an artist creating treasured life moments.
“If your goal is to be a cook or pastry chef, you are special. You are creating moments and lifelong memories. Be proud of what you do!”