What’s the inspiration behind your recipe, and can you recall when the idea was born?
My inspiration to bake initially came from my early exposure with my Mom and Grandma. It didn’t matter what the reason; funerals, births, hurt knee or just coming home from school each day, a yummy concoction of some sort was always waiting for my sister and I to eat.
I have continued to use this “desire to please through food” throughout my life and gain sheer joy from baking for family, friends, and guests. This particular recipe was simply a fluke; really, as I was baking two things I have baked for years and years and on a particular day, decided to mix them together! Wow, Sweet Billie’s were born.
Who do you think your recipe is perfect for?
Chocolate lovers everywhere!
How has your recipe evolved since the first time you made it, and what were challenges of preparing a commercial quantity?
I love baking and love reading how ingredients affect the success or failure of a recipe. The chocolate cookies I grew up making would be nearly the same; however, I now source the best quality products rather than the cheapest ingredients available. To prepare such a large quantity of the cookie and pie, I really did not know whether or not simply increasing the quantities to ensure the number required would result in a successful product.
I could imagine that some recipes would require more than just factoring up amounts of ingredients to ensure success. Here is where I probably have an edge over some in the show….experience is a wonderful thing. I simply believe I had the confidence to throw myself into that commercial kitchen and work with those large quantities.
What was the best piece of advice you received from the judges?
It would be hard for me to define the BEST piece of advice because that would be saying one judge is more important than the other, when this is far from the truth. You need equally, a great product, entrepreneurial skills and the ability to market it.
One statement, however, that Nobby said to me comes to mind immediately……"For someone so smart, you are really naive.” There was a product with the same name as mine already in Woolworths and I wasn’t worried. I thought simply changing the font and the fact that it was a completely different product would be enough. Thinking about it later, he was absolutely right.
What was the most surprising thing you learned about the process of turning a recipe into a commercial product?
That not all recipes can be commercialised successfully.
From your experience, what advice would you give someone who has an idea but doesn’t know where to start trying to make a success out of it?
I am quite passionate about this subject and could talk at great length with conviction but in a nutshell, it is one thing to have an idea and quite another to become successful at it. You will have a much better chance if you know without a shadow of a doubt it is your passion because then it will withstand the many highs and lows.
Even though the roads to success may change along the way and at times you might not understand why, keep faith in your passion and you will succeed.
What does the future hold for you and your recipe? Any other great ideas in the pipeline you could give us a taster of?
I truly believe in my heart Sweet Billie’s will be on Woolworths shelves across the country giving joy and love to chocolate lovers everywhere. As for me, I can dream and say I will be working with Woolworths and future series of Recipe to Riches because I had such a fabulous time!
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