She achieved an HND in Hotel, Catering and Institutional Management at Duncan of Jordanstone College, Dundee, but gravitated towards kitchen work which took her to kitchens of the Marine Hotel in North Berwick, the Crown Hotel in Scarborough and The Old England Hotel in Windermere. She then progressed to Head Chef at 2 AA Rosette Nanny Brow Country House Hotel near Ambleside, and Le Lac Restaurant in Grasmere, both in the Lake District.
Following that, she spent 5 years in the Almería region of Spain, supplying desserts to two restaurants and pursuing an already established interest in cake decoration.
Once back in Scotland, she started develop her business from home (while working in contract catering serving 100 meals a day), and set up ‘Taystful’ in 2011 making beautiful special occasion cakes and handmade chocolates.
Wanting to improve on her knowledge of chocolate, she received tuition at the Callebaut Chocolate Academy in Banbury, and Cocoa Black in Peebles, gaining as much experience as she could under the expert guidance of Master Chocolatiers, Head Pastry Chefs, three World Chocolate Masters and the UK Pasty Team president.
Shona's cake and chocolate work are award winning: in September 2014 she won the Chocolate Category at the Scottish Baking Awards. In November 2014 she won the National Chocolate Award for her Christmas Chocolate Wreath at the Perth Chocolate Festival and in March 2015 she got a gold medal and Best in Class for her Chocolate Showpiece at the Scottish Culinary Championships at ScotHot at the SECC in Glasgow. She added Gold and Silver medals to her collection at the 2017 Scottish Culinary Championships for her filled chocolates, and a bronze in the photography class for her images of patisserie items she had made during the year.
Shona has membership of the Federation of Chefs Scotland and the Association of Pastry Chefs, and is now a member of the Scottish Culinary Team. She was awarded a bronze medal for her Chocolate Showpiece during the team trip to the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg 2018, and enjoyed being involved with various events and pastry preparation prior to the competition.
She continues to provide many wedding cakes and chocolates in and around Tayside, plus providing sweet treats for private clients and wholesale, all entwined with teaching courses in chocolate making and patisserie in her own kitchen and (increasingly) further afield. Things are looking very busy for the future with lots of exciting things in the pipeline!