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Over the moon .. Timaru baker Rochelle Kennedy and daughter MatildaKennedy-Hope (3) hold the award certificate for her Wind in the Willows series of cookies. PHOTO: CLAIRE ALLISON

by Claire Allison

Rochelle Kennedy doesn’t count sheep when she cannot sleep.

She designs cookies in her head.

And the Timaru baker’s pillow-ponderings have seen her take out an award at an international cake show in Australia.

The Llama Cookie Drama owner’s entry placed second in the decorated cookies section, in the royal iced cookies category at the Australian Cake Artists and Decorators Association (ACADA) International Cake Show held in Brisbane earlier this month.

The event is Australia’s only international standard cake, cookie and sweet show, and – before Covid-19 – attracted entrants from 26 different countries around the world. About 5000 people attended this year’s show.

The placing was more than the primary school teacher and baker ever dreamed of for her first time entering.

“When I found out I was literally jumping around the room. I would have been happy if I’d even got a highly commended.

“It was a pretty big shock for me, I don’t know if anything can top that.”

Miss Kennedy’s Wind in the Willows-themed cookies earned her a silver award and $A100 ($NZ110) prize money.

Classic cookies . . . The Wind in the Willows-themed cookies that netted Miss Kennedy a
placing in an international competition. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

She had seen the show being advertised and decided to enter, having to post her cookies to Australia and entrust someone to set them up at the show for her.

“She wasn’t allowed to open them until she got to the venue, so I only found out then if they had survived the trip.”

The competition gave Miss Kennedy the chance to get creative.

“You could come up with your own theme, so I based mine on Wind in the Willows, a book that I used to read at nana’s house after school.

“I was just planning them in my head. When I can’t sleep, I plan cookies and what I want to do.

“It’s something that I love doing; I’m usually doing custom orders, so there isn’t much chance to get creative.”

Miss Kennedy found herself in the cookie-making business by chance.

“It was a hobby while I was on maternity leave, and then my sister got married and I did some cookies for her as a present and that was how it kicked off. Everybody wanted to know where they were from.”

As a joke, her sister told guests they were made by Llama Cookie Drama, and the name has stuck.

“Everyone who went to the wedding wanted these cookies, so I started getting registered.

“I’ve been lucky, I’ve had local businesses that have supported me, and people in the community, my family and my partner, so it’s been quite good.

“I just keep trying to upskill. I’m a wee bit obsessed with it.”