August 7, 2023
SHE’S A RED SEAL INSULATOR and a culinary artist.
And Lindsay Sangster isn’t afraid to admit the obvious, either. “I am a perfectionist.”
That perfectionism is apparent every day on the job where she’s a metalist for West Coast Insulation. Currently, she works on Navy boats where she insulates specialized systems including heating, ventilation and air conditioning, plumbing, exhausts and more.
But Sangster’s perfectionism also shows up in her secondary profession as a baker. She specializes in making macarons, the delicious French cookies with the smooth, but chewy exterior and the creamy filling. And while macarons are already notoriously complicated to make, Sangster has taken her game to a whole other level of artistry.
She makes macarons that look like other food. Sangster’s macarons look like cheeseburgers, sushi, pancakes, pizza, you name it. You may have seen her and her creations out at Metro Vancouver’s many farmer’s markets. Her company is called Miss Macarona.
And while making the macarons requires a lot of skill and attention to detail, making them look like other food means even more painstaking commitment and focus.
For her cheeseburger look-alikes, Sangster uses chocolate ganache for the hamburger patty, yellow fondant for the cheese, dyed-green coconut shavings for the lettuce, icing for the ketchup and mustard and real sesame seeds on top.
In the commercial kitchen she rents, Sangster can pump out about 80 cheeseburger cookies in five hours. And when she sees her customers’ responses, she says it’s worth all the work.
“They’re blown away. They’re like ‘How long did you spend on doing these?’ They have the best reactions,” she said.
Though they may seem completely distinct, Sangster sees a clear connection between her work as an insulator and as a baker. And that connection is fastidiousness and a pursuit of perfection.
“At work I’m a metalist, so I clad pipes together and then when there’s a small little cut-out you can’t be any more than 1/16 of an inch off from the cut-out, you have to be bang on,” she said. “It’s all about the presentation and display. We’re a finishing trade, so it has to look perfect. Just like if I were to put out a macaron, it can’t look sloppy at all or else you’re not going to make that sale. So, when you stand back and look at your insulation work and then the cookies … with both you want to be proud of your work.”
After two years of working full-time, attending farmer’s markets and servicing weddings every weekend, Sangster is slowing down the baking business and moving to private orders only. You can find her at missmacarona.com.
By Jeremy Allingham