Vanilla Chinchilla

There are a few things close to this Troll’s somewhat blackened heart: two of those are people with disabilities kicking life so hard in the fork I suddenly goes deaf and the other, sweets. I am honoured today to be able to interview someone who falls into both of those delightful categories.

Claudia Gouws may be classified as legally blind but by Hastur that hasn’t stopped her doing abso-bloody-lutely fantastic geek themed things with vast quantities of confectionery, and indeed starting a business with them, Vanilla Chinchilla. Read on, oh ye hungry (or soon to be) geeks and nerds and rejoice!

Lets start with a little introduction if you would be so kind?
I’m a 25 year old baker with a passion for tiny confections. They are just too cute!

I was diagnosed with Stargardt Macular Dystrophy in 2011 so I am still learning to deal with it. I have always loved baking but I have only just started doing it as a business. I was a photographer but can’t really do that anymore. This business consists of pretty much just me at the moment but I want to make it an empire…mwahaha.

ClaudiaWhy confectionery and baking?
Confectionery and baking has always been something that I am passionate about. I watch so much “Food Network” that I just want to make all of it and it keeps my mind active. I love the arty side of it all.

How long have you been doing this?
I actually only started going to classes this year January and then doing it as a business a couple months after that.

Was there training? Where and when?
I have done a couple of classes at the “Chocolate Den” since January. The rest I have learnt from videos, books and watching the “Food Network”. I also learn by taking techniques from other art forms and applying it to baking.

This may seem a tad odd, but how has your disability affected you in getting into the confectionery business?
(A question close to my own heart this one…)
I was a photographer and graphic designer, but because of the Stargardts, I can’t carry on with anything involving a computer. I tend to not be able to see the screen after a while and don’t see the tiny details anymore. I also can’t drive anymore, so I had to find something to do at home. My mom suggested that we do an activity together so we can keep our minds off of the Stargardts because we were getting depressed. So we signed up for baking classes at the “Chocolate Den”.

I ended up enjoying it so much and did so well that I signed up for more classes and people started ordering stuff just because they saw the photos I posted from class. Sort of chucked me in the deep end haha.

Let’s talk geek. It’s what we do here at 925|Rebellion…

Who shot first, Han Solo or Greedo?
Phew! I don’t know the answer to that one…haha. Can I get another question? Like about Batman or Thor?

Superhero CakeTell us more about the type of baked delights you do? I think I saw a Darth Vader cookie there somewhere?
I try to do ordinary baked goods like cakes and cupcakes, but with a geeky theme such as a “Darth Vader” cake or “Batman” cupcakes. I also make edible figurines of characters like “Vegeta” or “Princess Leia”. No one caters for the geeks, it’s all “Winnie the Pooh” or Hello Kitty”… It’s time for Lego-, DC- and Marvel themed edibles!

Tell our lovely readers what you have planned for us at Geekfest this year and where they can find you on the day.
We will be at Stall 90 and we will have Superman and Batman cupcakes as well as cakies, geeky gingerbread cookies, gingerbread houses, honeycomb and Rice Krispy treats – everything delicious and addictive! (No, there aren’t any drugs in them…haha)

What are your contact details and your price ranges for those wanting more?
Our number: 076 375 2830
Our email:
We are based in the Edenvale area.

Leia EdibleAny last words for us?
Being diagnosed with Stargardts was quite a blow but I suppose it did make me finally follow my passion for baking. My life is now sugar, spice and everything weird.

Claudia and Vanilla Chinchilla will be at Geekfest this Saturday alongside this Troll and his archery stall. Stop by and buy a large cake or seventeen…Or else I’ll follow you home and put an arrow in yer knee.


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