At just 27 years old, the up-and-coming pastry chef at the Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront, Cape Town has big dreams and ambitions for her future. She may be young, but Bianca Loose is already making sure the hospitality world won’t forget her name. While the hotel may not be hosting its usual Easter display this year, she certainly hasn’t let that stop her from recreating the magic of her childhood Easter hunts at home.
Born and raised in Cape Town, Bianca didn’t always have her heart set on becoming a chef. She spent a lot of her young life with her grandmother, who she is frank was no chef extraordinaire, and as a young girl she’d do little more than help around the kitchen.
“Her culinary knowledge was old plaas (farm) Afrikaans, with rys, vleis and aartappels (rice, meat and potatoes)”, Bianca jokes. Her grandmother did however, enjoy baking, and was always hosting a bake sale from her garage.
“I remember that every day, without fail, she would host this bake sale,” Bianca says. “There was a school opposite her house and all the kids would arrive after school or after sports. She always had a wide variety of sweet treats on offer, ranging from vanilla fudge squares and her famous oats cookies, to coconut ice and baked milk tart.”
It was during the time spent helping her grandmother create these treats that the first stirrings of an interest in baking arose. But even so, Bianca’s passion for helping people meant that her career dream was to become a trauma nurse.
“I only imagined myself in hospitality when I started working in a restaurant as a teenager, and I met the chef. After my first week in the kitchen, I couldn’t stop thinking about food and what I had learnt, and about that passion that just flowed through those chefs who gave it everything they have during service.”
After matriculating, Bianca applied to study a culinary course and has never looked back. She has since worked in all kinds of kitchens, also taking on roles including food production assistant manager as well as a private chef in a luxury penthouse.
As the pastry chef at Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront, Bianca is in charge of many of the sweet treats guests enjoy at the hotel
“Easter makes me think of family. I remember waking up to a floor covered in powder with bunny footprints everywhere, leading us on a chocolate hunt through the house. I also remember my mom leaving clues around the house for my sister and I,” she recalls of the excitement of the time.
“If I could make an extravagant Easter menu this year, I would call on many of these memories and use them to mould, shape and fill my own, for everyone else to enjoy.”
But being at home isn’t getting in the way of her planning a wide range of homemade chocolate Easter eggs and other exciting treats for her own family.
Being lactose intolerant and a vegetarian means that Bianca can’t join in on a lot of the usual Easter treats, but she’s happy to create them for others. Also, she’s looking forward to creating more desserts and treats that take dietary requirements like these into account as soon as it’s back to business as usual, to ensure no one’s left out of the fun.
“I created a caramel and honeycomb vegan pot. It’s one of my favourites and I cannot wait to share it with guests. It’s made with coconut milk infused with coconut sugar, a hint of vanilla and a dash of caramel essence,” she reveals, adding that dishes like these, along with working as the pastry chef at Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront, means she is creatively pursuing a career of which her grandmother would be extremely proud.