Real Life

How Katherine Sabbath went from an amateur baker to MasterChef judge

The baking queen reveals how she made her dream a reality.

By Alex Lilly
When you were back in school and were asked what you wanted to be when you grew up, it's probably a far cry from what you do now.
But for Katherine Sabbath, a passion for cakes and baking - even when she went on to be a high school teacher - her dream never dimmed.
Now, Katherine is a best-selling author, a small business owner and has even been a guest judge on MasterChef!
Here, she exclusively tells us how she transformed that dream into a reality in the space of five years.
Like most kids, Katherine admits that she loved the allure of cakes and sweets but it wasn't until she was in high school when she began baking treats for her friends that her passion really ignited.
"It's a really fun, thoughtful and delicious way to show someone that you care about them, without having to say too much," she reveals to Now to Love.
Katherine went on to become a high school geography and history teacher but after a few years of teaching, she signed up to Instagram to share her baked creations with the world.
"After one-two years of sharing my cakes and bakes online, I was lucky enough to have publications and brands directly reaching out to me about writing recipes, and creative collaborations," Katherine tells us.
"It took a while for me to believe this was a viable career opportunity, but as soon as I committed to working on this new venture full time, it was all systems go. It's been a hugely rewarding five years!"
Katherine's baking career kicked off when she began posting snaps of her sweet treats to Instagram. (Image: Supplied)
Since then, Katherine's business has boomed and she's done things she couldn't imagine in her wildest dreams.
"I was once asked to bake a cake for my idol, Ken Done's 75th birthday," Katherine tells us.
"We shared cake together in his Sydney studio with his team and family, and it was such a warm and motivating experience. Mr. Done raved about his cake too, which was the biggest cherry on top for me!"
WATCH: The most satisfying cake smashes. Post continues after video...
In 2018, Katherine was the envy of foodies around the country when she starred as a guest judge on MasterChef, with the contestants having to replicate her pink birthday cake as part of a 'Pressure Test'.
"It was an absolute dream come true!" Katherine described of the experience.
"I was thrilled to be sharing a room with so many accomplished chefs and talented people. I learned a great deal from watching the contestants work their magic under my Birthday Cake Pressure Test, and am so grateful to be served not only one, but three freshly baked cakes!"
"I learned a great deal from watching the contestants work their magic under my Birthday Cake Pressure Test." (Image: Network Ten)
But setting up your own business isn't always smooth-sailing and Katherine admits that she learned some things - like navigating tax, her superannuation, and managing money the hard way.
"I had never had to think about these things when I was on someone else's payroll. I've made some terrible financial mistakes over the years because I wasn't asking for the right kind of help. I'm much more open and proactive now when it comes to talking about money."
Katherine has partnered up with H&R Block Tax Accountants to launch their Grants for Growth initiative that aims to offer support to budding entrepreneurs wanting to transform their dream from ideation or start-up phase to mainstream.
"I wish there were grants available to me at the time I started, but I had to save up my money for almost a year before I could even reach my 'start-up' phase," Katherine admits.
Katherine admits she saved up for a year before even reaching the 'start-up' phase. (Image: Instagram @katherine_sabbath)

Katherine's top three tips for any budding entrepreneurs

1. Hone those skills and seek feedback
I made sure I had years of cake-making practice and tonnes of feedback before I started offering my services to a bigger market.
I'm also constantly on the lookout for new techniques I can learn or new ingredients to work with. A passion for learning needs to be a part of your personality in order to move a business forward.
2. Ask for help
You're never in this journey on your own! There are so many complementary businesses and people who can help you achieve your dreams. Not only can they motivate you, they can save you time and money in the long run.
I find these important connections at networking events, cake classes, expos, through mutual friends, social media, and through internet searches.
3. Ask yourself, are you really enjoying what you do?
Overall, if you're not enjoying the ins and outs of your daily life as a business owner, it may be time to reassess its direction and focus on strengthening the aspects of the business that really enrich your own happiness.
I reassess the direction of my business all of the time, and I think that's a natural part of building a strong and authentic brand.
We could be seeing YOU on MasterChef next year! (Image: Network Ten)