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Live Chat with Karine Lemonnier, CookieCon 2020 Instructor


    LeMonnierduBiscuit-Live Chat Banner-11-17-2019

    This month, we're chatting with none other than Cookie Connection member @Le Monnier du Biscuit (aka Karine Lemonnier) as part of our ongoing CookieCon Speakers Series! Take note: This chat is right around the corner on Sunday, November 17, at 7 pm central, not at our usual Saturday morning time. We're trying out a new time slot (at least for this chat) to accommodate busy Saturday schedules.

    At CookieCon in February 2020, Karine will be talking about how to take your cookies "out of the box" with novel presentations, such as platters, cake decorations, and 3-D centerpieces. We'll certainly want to chat with Karine about all of the aforementioned, but those topics are just the tip of the iceberg. Read on to learn more about Karine, and to start formulating your questions for the chat.

    But, first, a few important housekeeping notes . . .

    Chat Guidelines

    (1) Feel free to enter advance questions now by following the instructions at the top of this chat page. (As always, it's super helpful for questions to be logged early, so our guests are able to prepare answers beforehand and to field more questions during live chat time.)

    (2) Please note that any advance questions will reveal one at a time, in the order received, only after the chat goes live. Do not expect questions or answers to appear immediately.

    (3) Last but not least, as with all of these chats, you have a special opportunity to see inside the minds of some extremely talented decorators, so I encourage you to do your homework before jumping on the chat. Again, please review Karine's bio and other information below.

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    Living near Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Karine Lemonnier is a passionate person. After a career in nursing, she decided to become a stay-at-home mom, but soon realized that something was missing: the urge of creativity.

    Her cookie journey started with a melting snowman decorated cookie seen on Facebook. When she saw it, Karine knew she could do the same. It didn’t take more to awaken a real passion! Back then, she didn’t realize that her self-taught hobby would eventually transform into a flourishing business: Le Monnier du Biscuit. Her business was growing so well that she moved her cookie room outside her home to a cookie workshop in 2019. She then proved to some people that, yes, cookie decorating is a real job! She loves to teach different levels and often collaborates with her talented caker friend, ImaginaCake. She also participates every year in the Sugar Art for Autism collaboration, a dear cause to her.

    She attended her first CookieCon in 2015 and has been hooked on the cookie community ever since. Finally there was a place where cookie decorating is a real thing! She particularly loves to take part in the Sugar Show (she placed two times), and, yes, she goes through a CookieCon withdrawal every time!

    Above all, the most important thing for Karine is making sure that she can express her creativity every day.

    To learn more about Karine, check out her Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as her site.

Hi, Karine! It's so wonderful to have you here today to talk about your upcoming CookieCon adventure, your business, and so much more (I hope!)!
JULIA - Thank you for inviting me for a live chat! I'm very happy to be here!
Welcome to everyone joining us as well - at this new time slot, no less! Please let me know what you think of holding chats at this time (more/less convenient?), and if other times would be even better for you. You can post a comment here at any time, or PM or email me. Your call! Now, let's get on with the chat!
BUT . . . before we do, I have a few housekeeping notes.

First, questions are answered in the order received, but they will not post to the public/viewable area of the chat until Karine reads and answers them. We'll work through questions that were logged in advance first; then start working on questions asked live during the chat.

That said, please be patient and do not re-post the same question. It may take some time to answer your question, depending on where it sits in the queue. But I will personally make sure every question gets answered before we're through.
Second, please ask just one question at a time (per post); it's easier for our guests to keep up and others to read the chat transcript if they're not hit with too many questions at once. Thanks!
Okay, we're now ready to really get started! As a reminder, Karine's bio can be found under the "i" icon at the top of the chat room, so please review it to get a quick overview of her cookie background. We'll, of course, dive deeper from there.
As you all are dreaming up questions for Karine, I am going to post a few of her cookie images to give you a better sense of her signature style. You can, of course, see more of her work on her website (https://lemonnierbiscuit.myshopify.com) and Instagram page (https://www.instagram.com/lemonnierdubiscuit/).
First, some sweet farmyard animals . . .
animaux ferme
Next, a lovely baby shower set . . .
baptême papillon lavande euchalyptus
And, last (for now anyway), the darling bee-girl on her chat banner . . .
bee mine
Hello, Sweet Sue, Chris and Tamela!
If you have questions, please start entering them now!
To break the ice, I've got a couple questions of my own. Karine, your CookieCon class description says you'll be challenging CookieCon-goers to think "out of the box" by sharing ideas for novel cookie presentations. Can you give us all some examples of what you mean by such presentations?
JULIA - Ever since I started cookie decorating, I've been passionate about it. Cookies can be used in so many creative ways and, unfortunately, too many orders end up in simple kraft boxes. My idea of thinking out of the box is not only about the cookie itself, but how you or the recipient will use it. Decorated cookies are not a simple snack! Although they are delicious, they carry a message, a nice thought, something unique. I want to present as many ways as possible to use decorated cookies!
Sounds wonderful!
Here's a live question related to your answer above . . .
You talk about using cookies in "so many creative ways". Karine, what are your two most creative ways to use/display them?
Hi, Michel and Silvia! Glad to have you here. If you have questions for Karine as she's answering the last one, please start typing them in (one per post) in the comment box under this thread.
Please note that you must be logged into Cookie Connection (join and do so on the home page) to enter questions. Otherwise, you can only watch the chat. But these chats are all about YOU! We really want to hear your most burning questions!
In the past few months, I collaborate a lot with a caker friend and we put our ideas together to create very fun cakes decorated with cookies. Here is our last collaboration
I don't see the photo, Karine. Can you try re-posting it?
it was for a food lover!
fast food gâteau
Ahh! What fun!
I've got a couple of your other cookie cakes to post. So let me do that and ask another question while others prepare theirs . . .
When making cookies for use as cake decorations - like in your photo below - do you have to do anything special in the making or treatment of the cookies to attach and display them on cakes? Or do you usually make them as you always would and just plunk them on top?
Screen Shot 2019-11-08 at 12.08.36 AM
Here's another simpler, but striking cookie cake from Karine . . .
Here's another of Karine's lovely cookie-cakes.
Screen Shot 2019-11-08 at 12.09.05 AM
JULIA - I found the best partner to work with. My friend Myriam from Imaginacake is a cake designer, and we create impressive cakes decorated with cookies together. I usually make them as I always do, but we put a stick on cookies that go on the top of the cake. On the side of the cake, we typically use melted chocolate to stick the cookies to the cake. The advantage of melted chocolate is that it gets hard very fast so you don't need to hold it very long and it's very sturdy.
Great idea to use melted chocolate. Royal icing could take a while to set . . .
Another fun way to use cookies is with photographers. I often get request to use my cookies as a part of the decor for a photo shoots
Can you show us a recent example of that?
What about other ways to present cookies to clients that are out of the box, so to speak?
Here is a photo of my last collaboration with a photographer (RN Photographe)
photo shoot
Welcome, Sil, Sophie, The Sugar Garden, and Marie H! Please send us questions. This is your chat, and I've already been talking too much!
So where is the photo going to go? What was the reason for taking it, and how often do photographers approach you to do this type of work/collaboration?
Thanks for your question, Sil! It's up next!
Karine is answering live now, so it always takes a little bit of time to type in the responses . . .
I love the idea to use "real life" to present cookies. For example, wrap flower cookies like if it was a bouquet, use a pizza box to present pizza cookies...
Creative and such a lovely smile the boy has!
I agree!
Karine, just making sure you saw my last set of questions: So where is the photo going to go? What was the reason for taking it, and how often do photographers approach you to do this type of work/collaboration?
Then, we'll move onto the one from Sil.
yes, forgive me for the delay, I need to translate my thoughts! It takes a few time to switch from French to English in my mind!
Got it! Karine is from Montreal, everyone, and French is her first language! Oh, how I would love to be bilingual!
While she's answering, some questions for those on the chat! Ha!
JULIA - The cookies are used as a part of the decor for mini shooting session for Christmas. In this case, I didn't know before she picked up her order what it was for... Sometimes they tell me, sometimes it's a surprise!
How many of you are going to CookieCon? Say "yay" or "nay", and tell me what you're most looking forward to if you're going!
When you do cookies for a photo shoot, is it any different than for a regular order?
Making cake designs with Karine's cookies is alway fun and creative. We work together every day and we also teach cake design and cookie decorating together.
Welcome, Myriam. Everyone, Myriam is the cake designer that Karine mentioned at the start of the chat. They often collaborate together.
Yay
Nay
Seeing all the other cookiers again and increasing my skill set
SIL - It's a great event for doing both of those things.
SIL - Unless they ask for something particular, It's usually like a regular order. But sometimes they ask for specific thing. I had a few photographer asking for a huge cookie instead of using a smash cake for a first birthday. (My cookie was actually way too big! :-D)
So, a question for Myriam while Karine answers the last question . . . how do you handle orders when both of you are working on the same one? I mean, who does the customer pay? How do you figure out what share of the price each of you gets paid for your part of the work?
nay
In the last two days, Karine and I have taught cupcakes and mini cookies to 45 students. We did 5 mini 2-hour classes! It was amazing!
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Thanks Julia
Cute cupcakes!
Karine, please feel free to answer my previous question for Myriam too - the one about how you share your workload and split payments?
JULIA - we share the same work place, so it's easy to mix our work together. The customer usually contact Myriam and I charge her for the cookies.
SIL - Here are my thoughts on how cookies for a photo shoot differ from real orders. I've had a lot of cookies photographed for my books, various magazine articles, and to support my videos and . . .
Basically, when I am just prepping for a photo shoot, I don't have to worry about freshness and taste, so I can make them VERY far ahead. They will look as good several weeks later as they did on Day 1!
So, Karine, you were teaching all weekend with Myriam, right? Do you always teach as a duo, or do you also do solo classes? How long have you been teaching?
Usually my customers give me the theme of the cake and a budget. I choose the design, so I talk with Karine and we create the design together.
So Myriam, do your cakes always have cookies on them?
JULIA- I agree about freshness! Although in my case, the cookies used by photographer are usually eaten!
Sweet Sue - regarding the question you just logged (which I'll post once the current questions are answered). Did you mean a sketch for the cookies alone, or the entire cookie-cake?
JULIA- I started teaching 5 years ago (I think...) and it's new that we teach together, but we also teach solo.
Karine, in your opinion, what is the next big cookie trend?
I don’t always have cookies on my cakes, because I’m specialized in sculpting and 3-D, but I try to use them every time that the design fits with them.
JULIA - It's very fun to teach with someone. We have a great complicity!
I’m in my 10th year as a business owner, and I have taught 9 years.
Karine, did you see Sil's earlier question: Karine, in your opinion, what is the next big cookie trend?
Those cookies save me so many times, and they're better then fondant décoration.
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SIL - I think using cookies to decorate cakes becomes more and more popular. I collaborate every week with Myriam, but I also get a lot of request from customers who want to make the cake themselves.
So, Myriam, you said the "cookies saved you so many times" - what did you mean by that?
Do you create a sketch for the customer first - either for cookies or cakes with cookies? Do customers wish to see what the end product will look like beforehand?
JULIA - She is so busy, when I can make the decoration in cookies instead of her doing it in fondant, it saves a lot of decorating time!
Making fondant décoration takes long, so I order cookies and only have to put them on the cake - it is faster!
Ahh, but those cookies take you a long time to make, no doubt!
Reposting Sweet Sue's last question: Do you create a sketch for the customer first - either for cookies or cakes with cookies? Do customers wish to see what the end product will look like beforehand?
SWEET SUE - I don't always sketch... actually, not very often at all! And If the customer wants a sketch, I charge them 25$ . They ALL trust me so far and don't ask for a sketch! On another hand, when Myriam and I are working on a cake and cookie class, we always sketch first
I love the mix of cakes and cookies! Cakes aside, I was wondering if there was any cookie-specific trends on the horizon, in your opinion?
thank you
For me integrating cookies in my design is so fun. and I always try to push the design to another level!!!
It's so fun that we have Myriam as a second guest!
So, Myriam, while Karine is answering the question about cookie-only trends, a question for you: How did you and Karine meet and come to share workspace together? Is the space a brick-and-mortar establishment?
JULIA- two frenchies to answer for one!
SIL - honestly, all I can think about right now is Christmas! I need to go to Cookiecon to catch up on new cookie trend! lol!
SIL - The biggest trend I'm seeing is more and more people competing and moving into bigger 3-D constructions . . .
JULIA- we share a workshop place, not a storefront. She convince me to rent the space next to hers and it's the best move I made so far in my cookie career!
Okay, so you both teach AND serve customer orders. Which do you prefer (and, yes, I'm making you choose!), and why?
95% of the time my customers give me “ carte blanche” so I can create the design without having to sketch it. Since they have to make reservations 4 to 6 months in advance, my customers are mostly regular customers that know me and my creativity.
SIL- I agree with Julia! I don't know why I didn't think about it, but competition is definitely more popular! I love so much to compete!
Competition and 3D . . .eek. LOL. The trend I see is more and more diversity in cutters - new takes on old favourites. I also think that the silkscreen style stenciling is on the rise!
SIL - I don't watch cutter trends that much, as I tend to stick with basic shapes for my work (I often feel too confined by very particular shapes). I would agree that more people are trying silkscreen stencils, though I would also say that there is a large barrier to wide commercialization of them right now, as the prices on them can be VERY high.
JULIA - If I had to chose, I think I would only teach. I love to create what I want, and I always have a great day when I teach! I love to share my passion and people who take my classes are always happy with the results the get
I also have many people coming back in my classes, just because they enjoy it!
Karine, Do you think it's possible for cookiers to make money ONLY selling decorated cookies, especially if they have added overhead - like paying rent on a space outside of the home? Or . . .
. . . must they supplement with additional revenue streams, like teaching, to make ends meet?
JULIA - I think it's always good to have as many doors open as possible...
I really love to teach because I love to see people use their creativity to upgrade their skills. But to choose is really hard! I love making 3-D cake; it’s my 2020 goal!!! Fewer rounds and squares!!! More 3-D and sculpted cakes and for sure integrating COOKIES in the designs.
Ok, Karine, I'll take that as a "no". Meaning it's best to diversify to make ends meet!
Onto teaching in more detail, since it's clearly something you're passionate about . . .
I see MORE and MORE people declaring themselves as cookie teachers (THAT would be another cookie trend) . . .
But, do you think everyone can be a good cookie teacher? Are there baseline skills and experience one must have before venturing into teaching cookie decorating, in your opinion?
JULIA- for 6 months, I was a supplier for 7 stores... it was A LOT of orders. All the doors were open... But I closed this one (supplier) because at one point, I didn't have any fun, it was only "production". I need to be challenged!
You need to look at the cookier's work before signing up for the class. Some of them are not as good as they say!!
In my next class Karine and I are the naughty ones on the list!!!
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JULIA- I think that to be a good teacher, you need to be confident about your work. You need to be well organized, but you also need to be passionate and if you can make them laugh, they will enjoy their class and come back!
I extended the chat a bit so we can take a couple more questions. Anyone? Hit us with your best shot!
Karine, how is prep for being a CookieCon Core Instructor (congrats, BTW) any different than prepping for your usual workshops?
JULIA- Like Myriam said, before you take a class, you need to know what kind of work the teacher is capable!
JULIA - OMG sooooo different! ...
First: It's a lot more stressful...
Adding Karine's cookies in my designs always puts the final touch!!! This is our next class ! We sold out 36 spot in 24 hrs !!!!
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I need to prepare in English (I teach sometimes in English, but mostly in French)
That’s why she's bringing me to CookieCon. I will be her stress punching bag. lol!
I will say, the pace of having so many classes in a row is rough. You have to be super organized and well practiced to get through it all on time.
I kinda feel that I must surpass myself as a lot a people don't know me at cookiecon... when people sing up for ma class, they ALL know me and WANT to be in my class.
JULIA - Thanks for the advice! That's what I'm planning to do!
I wouldn't worry about that too much - I think most people going approach "new" people with an open mind - with a desire to learn as much from that person, and an appreciation for what might be different about that person's approach.
You gonna rock it !
Just like Myriam said, I chose her to accompany me because I know she will help my dealing with the stress!
as much from that person = as much from that person as possible!
You are all going to "rock" their world at cookiecon
Okay, so I think we will close with one last question from Sil, as it's getting late in Montreal, and here too - and I'm on a work deadline tonight . . .
SWEET SUE - I can't wait to go! CookieCon is my happy place! I didn't miss one since 2015
It's a good question . . . and here it is!
Karine, in your cookie career, what would you say was your biggest breakthrough moment where you saw your skill level go up?
Can wait to see it ! My first CookieCon!
I love CookieCon too!
So, while Karine answers that last question, I just wanted to thank everyone attending tonight for all of your great questions! I hope you have a great week next week!
SIL - Right after my first CookieCon! I won 3rd place in the back to school category at the sugar show: first competition and I made so many new friends. I came bake home more passionate then ever! I think I have the best job in the world!
Maybe CookieCon will made me change my career !!! Lol 😂 NOT!!!!
JULIA- Thank you so much for inviting my to this live chat! It was great and I'm looking forward to Louisville!
Oh, Myriam, you seem to have a great talent for cakes, and what would Karine do if she no longer had your cakes as a backdrop for her cookies?! What an awesome collaboration you've got going!
thank you all - I always learn here - good night all
Thank you Karine, Myriam and Julia .
Last but not least, thank you to Karine for taking time out of her busy weekend to chat with us - and for bringing along the lovely Myriam!
Thank you all it was really great !
JULIA - I love that: a backdrop for my cookies!!!
Julia are you gonna be part of the cookiecon
Yes, Myriam, I am teaching two pre-classes and selling my stencils in the vendor area all weekend. I'll see you there!
Thanks again, Karine and Myriam. I'll see you both sooner than we can imagine. Good luck with your CookieCon prep too! You will be great!
Thanks !!!
Yess
Bye now!
This chat has ended.
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