Out of the Cake-Box
Kavi Quinn is Taking Food to the Next Level of Awesome
On a good day at work, Kavi Quinn prepares dozens of deserts and on a great day he creates pastries of his own invention. Ask him about his best day ever on the job and without hesitation he will tell you that it was “creating a royal icing flood work piece inspired by Halloween.” Given Kavi’s passion for creating sweet pastries and his love of cosplay, it’s no surprise that a holiday that combines costumes and candy would be a personal favorite.
Home is Johannesburg, South Africa, but Kavi is now living in Wisconsin and training at the Kalahari Resort, an African themed amusement park. Here he spends his days actively sharpening his culinary skills with pastries, learning new recipes and innovative cake decorating techniques. He is also closely observing business practices like item sale factors and supply and demand. These are useful things to learn as Kavi wants to open his own pastry shop when he returns to Johannesburg.
Imagination and creativity come easily to Kavi. As a child he occupied his time with art. He grew up creating costumes for cosplay, and through his work in costuming and fashion he taught himself artwork and design, developing a fine eye for detail. He also enjoyed gaming, and it’s gaming that he now credits as the source of inspiration for some of his “outside the box” ideas. The digital worlds and characters allow his mind to roam free and think of new designs and new ways to approach old problems. Growing up his family noticed his flair for art and design and watched as that flair became a talent. They were supportive of his interests, recognizing the potential in his creativity.
Kavi also has a talent for business, and his eye for detail turned to cake decorating as a part-time business. Just as with art and design, he taught himself baking and the fine art of decorating pastries. Working with pastries allowed his artistic talent and design sensibility to grow and flourish. This creative outlet, coupled with the joy that his pastries brought to his customers, lead him to a full-time career in the culinary world.
He decided to go to culinary college, choosing to attend Capsicum Culinary Institute and major in pastry, with a focus on cake decorating and confectionary. He believes it is his attention to detail that now allows him to create “edible arts with a wow factor, that not only look as real as possible, but are delicious.” Kavi is known for his unique way of viewing objects and his extravagant use of color and contrast. Training at the Kalahari Resort allows Kavi to use what he learned in culinary school and pick up new techniques. He is forever learning and perfecting his craft.
Food is a passion for Kavi. Ask him what he misses most from home and he will tell you “chip and dip and Gino’s pizzeria.” If he could share anything from South Africa with his friends in the States, it would be “milktart, poitjie, vetkoek, and mince” three of his favorite South African dishes. Of course, the food is very different in the States and the portion sizes were a pleasant surprise, “it’s definitely value for money!” Kavi says.
Living in the States was not too different from what Kavi expected. Although the food portions were a bit of a surprise, the culture felt familiar. “I watch a lot of YouTubers,” Kavi explains, “they talk about their American lifestyle and places they go to, it kind of prepared me in a way on what to expect, and how to live in the States.” Some of his favorite YouTubers are Liza Koshy, Lilly Singh, Gabby Hanna, Threadbanger, and Colleen Balinger.
For those who are coming to the States for the first time, Kavi advises “be yourself, do a bit of research on the State you are visiting, keep your expectations realistic, always keep your passport on you, and do not laminate any documents.” He also encourages visitors to “meet people outside of the group you arrived with, ask them for sightseeing tips, you can discover so much more from unplanned adventures, those are always the exciting ones.” He has conversation starter advice as well “the best topic of discussion is food related topics, things like ‘hey are there any great spicy foods you could recommend?’”
While art and design (and food) are important, there are many other things about Kavi. He likes nature and back home in Johannesburg he spends his free time visiting zoos or botanical gardens. He designs tattoos and is trying to learn Japanese, German, French and several other romance languages. He paints, sews, and sketches. He enjoys art festivals and fairs, and all sorts of music as long as it “makes me dance or keeps me sane.”
Creativity is everything for Kavi, and it is easy to see in not only his work but his life. He has his own YouTube channel, where he is filming his adventures in the States to share with friends and family across the globe. His time in the States will open a few doors for him when he returns home, and his time at Kalahari Resorts training in the culinary arts will help him start up his own business in Johannesburg. As you might expect with Kavi, it’s not going to be just a typical pastry shop. He has put his creative mind to work to come up with a surprise idea that he promises will be totally outside the box. As his time in the States draws to a close, Kavi designs his own path for the future. Asked if his friends and family think his time in the States has changed him, aside from the practical job opportunities and cultural learning experiences, Kavi laughs and says “well if my accent changes there will be questions.”
To learn more about Kavi and view his adventures and creations:
Facebook (or search Bake It Crazy)
Author: Theo Kitchen