Dinsel’s sweet success – Baked by Tiare

Dinsel with her creations. Picture: JOHN KAMEA

At 26 years old, Dinsel Marie McGowan, may look like the typical university scholar, vibrant, fun-loving and full of energy.

But behind her youthful features is an ambitious businesswoman in the making, ready to etch her own place in the local café circle and pastry scene.

Dinsel is the owner of Baked By Tiare, a cottage pastry business that is slowly enjoying the sweet taste of success.

Growing up in Veisari outside Suva, in a family where all women baked, Dinsel had a sweet tooth and an appetite for her mum’s delectable pastries and desserts.

That, more than anything else, developed in her a strong desire to one day bake her way to the top of the world.

“I started by just messing around with my mum’s dough as a little girl,” she said with a grin.

“By three or four I baked my first chocolate chip muffin.” But from that very first pastry, she skippered a journey that today enjoys its own brand of commercial triumph.

“I’m still young and I am still building my business but in 10 years I see myself owning and running my own café where I’ll sell everything I bake.”

After St Joseph Secondary School, Dinsel progressed to culinary school, spending four years at the Fiji National University’s Nadi campus under the auspices of some of Fiji’s greatest chefs.

She also did industrial attachments with a number of hotels and household names in the hospitality industry before traveling overseas to learn more techniques under the tutelage of Australian pastry chefs.

“I worked with them to learn the finer tips and tricks about baking. I used the experience, skills, and knowledge I gained to build my business back here in Fiji.”

Like many start-ups, her rise has not been a stroll in the park. There were many obstacles to overcome and errors to learn from.

“I had ups and downs. I burned what I was baking or found out something didn’t rise in the oven,” she said.

“Baking is about practice so the more I practised the more I perfected my craft.”

Along the way, many have inspired the young woman’s journey. For cooking, she admires British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and for pastry, she is a huge fan of Adriano Zumbo, Australia’s former MasterChef star.

“My mentors were mostly family members and I commend the support they’ve given me. I also give credit to my tutors from Nadi – Ms Amelia and Mr Sanjay, who taught me everything I needed to know about pastry and not forgetting my aunt, Janita Smith who now lives in Australia.”

In 2015, Dinsel enrolled at the University of the South Pacific where she is currently studying towards her first degree in hotel management. Being a full-time university student and businesswoman means she has to carefully juggle her roles, manage competing priorities and prudently use time on her hands. In between study and work, she sets aside quality “me time” for rest and relaxation.

“I have planned my study timetable in such a way that I have two full days for university classes and three days to concentrate on the business.”

“My relaxation is having my sleep, going fishing on a Sunday or having coffee with friends. You can’t work for the whole day and not have time to rest and recuperate. At the end of the day what you do to your body is what your body puts out.”

Dinsel, who has maternal links to Bau and Ono-i-Lau, also has 11 pet Pomeranians and two pigs, Jack and Jill, to keep her stress levels in check.

“I love dogs because they are playful and cuddly. They keep me on my toes and teach me how to love and care. I also adore cats but I can’t have them because of the dogs.”

Dinsel likes to believe she draws strength from her close-knitted family, including her boyfriend whom she says has always “been there for me”.

“My parents’ support has been tremendous. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have been able to do what I’m doing now. It was
my mum who had pushed me to culinary school and I learned all my basics from her. My brother has been a source of strength
as well.”

“Apart from my family, my boyfriend has also helped in maintaining the business, especially in doing heavy menial stuff, for being always being there for me and for pushing me to open up my own café one day.” What makes Baked by Tiare creations different?

“My pastries stand out from the rest because they are baked to order and I tend to use a lot of local products, like fruits and
vegetables at the market.”

“I also vary the design of my pastries, such as cakes. I love rustic creations so today I might have icing and tomorrow I might
add wafers or biscuits. My creations speak my language, they show my mood and they are an extension of my personality.”

To taste Baked by Tiare creations, you can visit Espresso Central at Suva Central, The ROC Café at the Dolphin’s Place, Victoria
Parade and Jim’s Café in Pacific Harbour.

Orders can be made by phone or on social network platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

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