How Fiona Burton, a onetime pastry chef to the Queen, found her paradise

Fiona Burton compares the highs of working for the UK's royal family to living in ... Mandurah, Western Australia.

The Dawesville resident has worked all over Europe including a contract with the UK royal family as a Royal patisserie chef.

"The people of Mandurah say, 'why did you come to Mandurah?'.

"This is paradise to us, we've achieved a goal and a dream. Over there we were an hour away from the sea. I'm on the high I was on when I was working for the royals - just by living in Mandurah and running my own businesses," says Fiona, who is the owner of Fiona's Fancies and Fiona's Sugar Academy.

The Queen Mother's breakfast preference

She can't reveal too much about her 12 months at Windsor Castle and the palace - like other staff, she had to sign a confidentiality agreement. But she shares tidbits.

"The Queen Mum liked her scones with no fruit - she used to have them mainly for breakfast," Fiona recalls.

Her role was making morning tea and breakfast items. A highlight was working on the team that made dessert and cake for the Queen Mother's 100th birthday.

"A lot of products I was making, they had been doing for years so they had a set standard of what they wanted. I was in a team of just three pastry chefs.

"You had to use certain plates for certain times - bronze for breakfast, silver for lunch and gold for dinner. It was all stored in a vault."

She said the main Windsor Castle kitchen still cooked with copper pans and while parts of the castle were burnt down in 1992, much of it including the kitchenettes were rebuilt to match the original design.

Her day-to-day looks somewhat different these days.

Bespoke birthday cakes

She now runs two businesses from her own castle - her home in Dawesville, where she lives with five-year-old daughter Elouise who attends Ocean Road Primary School, and husband, Chris who works as general manager at Byford Flour Mill making the Millers flour she uses in her baking.

Fiona launched Fiona's Fancies when she migrated to Australia in 2013 and for the first two years she concentrated on bespoke celebration cakes and building the brand.

Fiona Burton in action.

Fiona Burton in action.

Through consistency of the product, customer service and her unique skills as a patisserie chef her reputation grew.

When she became a mother, Fiona decided to realign the business so she could be a devoted mother as well as a successful businesswoman.

The vision of the business changed but the motto of 'Making Memories That Little Bit Sweeter' has always remained paramount in the success and drive of the business, she says.

The business specialises in unique types of desserts, birthday treats and gifts using styles and new industry skills that are being developed all the time.

This has seen Fiona's Fancies grow during COVID-19, with a wide client base throughout the Perth city and Peel regions in multiple areas including corporate.

Fiona's Fancies operates in her council-approved home kitchen.

She is also building anther business, Fiona's Sugar Art Academy, launched in August this year.

Sharing her passions

"The academy is another one of my passions, to teach others the correct way to create something spectacular using skills and techniques that I was taught from the age of 14 when I embarked on my career path of becoming a cake decorator and a pastry chef," she said.

Her classes are designed to incorporate as much learning and techniques as possible with small groups, so each person gets time to ask for help or be shown more than once.

She has Christmas cupcake classes running on the November 14 and 28 and December 19 from the Lakelands Library and her 10-week cake decorating and baking courses starting in February 2021.

Fiona is also an official judge at the Perth Royal Show in the bakery and pastry competitions and this year even with the show not going ahead the competitions were held last month.

"Over the last four years I have seen a definite change in the baking and patisserie industry and there are a lot of highly skilled bakers and pastry chefs in WA. To see the standard grow in the competitions is very exciting and I am honoured to be asked every year to participate."

On top of all this, Fiona was announced as a finalist for the Alcoa Peel Business Excellence Awards and also the Ausmumpreneur awards 2020 which saw her win the bronze award in the "Big Idea" category.

"It can be challenging to be a successful businesswoman while raising a family," she said.

Fiona gives this advice for others thinking about starting their own enterprise. "Never stop learning and developing, when things seem like its out of reach find another way to achieve it," she says.

This story How a onetime pastry chef to the Queen found her paradise first appeared on Mandurah Mail.