As a boy in Victorian London, the young Tom Smith served an apprenticeship making something that most children dream about, especially at Christmas! He worked in a sweet shop, training to be a confectioner. But not only did Tom learn how to make sweets, he also perfected the art of the baker and pastry chef and as a consequence, wedding cakes and ornamental icing became his speciality.
Tom Smith was talented and ambitious but (and perhaps more importantly) he was also inventive. After working hard and learning his trade he opened his own business in Clerkenwell, in the East End of London. The shop, selling cakes and iced decorations was successful but Tom was a perfectionist and never stood still and in a bold move for new ideas and inspiration, he went to Paris in 1840. There, he was dazzled not only by the skill of the Parisian confectioners but also by his counterparts beguiling way with presentation and gift wrap. One such discovery was the French ‘bon bon’ a simple but stylish way of offering sugared almonds in tissue paper with a twist at either end.