This has been a long time coming… but we have finally made it, and if you are willing I would love to take you BTS on the life of a cake decorator. So without further delay (ironically as I put this off for a whole year now) welcome to my world!
As valentine’s day is near approaching *cringe* I thought it was fitting to start my blogs off with my passions as a cake decorator and how they really came to be.
My name is Nessa and I am the proud owner of Sugar Momma’s. I have a certificate in patisserie and am a self-taught cake decorator. After completing my studies, with a certificate under my belt I soon dove into my new career as a pastry chef, and boy did I love it! I started working at a brand new local restaurant which was seriously decked out with the bestttt equipment I have ever seen. Everything was top of the range and a chef’s dream! Because of the nature of the venue, we were pumping out desserts in masses. The combination of long hours (seriously long, I would start at 5am to 12pm have a break for 2 hours and start back up again from 2pm-10pm) and the lack of room to express individuality pushed me to find another opportunity.
After that I found a job where I was first employed as a kitchen aid. I was peeling carrots and onions for the first two weeks!!!! Who else hates peeling onions? *raises both hands *But I stuck to it, I just loved the rush of being in the kitchen to be honest. After a few weeks the head chef took me under his wing allowing me to do some less tedious duties and then soon after…. He appointed me pastry chef. There weren’t any other pastry chefs there, my head chef used to be in charge of this section, so this was a huge honour. Although I was given this role, I used to wait for direction from my head chef and ask him what he wanted me to create… it was ultimately his kitchen I had to respect that, but he reassured me the pastry section is my domain, I am fully in charge of it and I don’t need to wait for his approval. At first, this news was a slight shock to me… I still felt like a rookie especially coming from a kitchen where we had no individual flare and we had to just ‘recreate’, but I slowly grew my confidence and just went with it. Every day felt like a new day with brand new possibilities …not a repeat of the last. My chef would let me know how many guests we would have for the night, any specific dietary requirements and off I went.
I remember the feeling so vividly of standing in the pantry or cool room, looking around and coming up with a range of desserts with what was on hand. I loved that feeling, it was a sense of empowerment and responsibility, it allowed my creativity to be enhanced and refined. If something didn’t work, that’s ok I would tweak it until I was satisfied. I was also pushed to step out of my comfort of using the same common patisserie ingredients as they were not always available. For example, if I didn’t have vanilla I would have to come up with something else that would complement the flavours of my desserts in a similar way.
There would be times when my chef would let me know, we had a family coming for a birthday that night so we need a birthday cake with such and such requested ingredient or we have a photo shoot today in a few hours whip up a few desserts to showcase our menu. I mean, these tasks used to shock me, but as time went on I believed this was what sparked something in me and catapulted me to start my journey as a cake decorator…. Which brings me to the present, a cake decorator and owner of my very own business, my baby… Sugar Momma’s.
I had every necessary tool under my belt as a pastry chef (note that I said necessary, I still have soooooo much more to learn but I had the basics) however I had no experience as a cake decorator. In some ways you would think a pastry chef is equipped to be a cake decorator but that is far from the truth. Through my certificate and work experience I acquired the skills to make a beautiful tasting cake or a decadent filling, but the decorating & business side to it came through practice, through resources, through experimentation and hard work. I always had a creative flare since I was a child, so I knew I could bring that element to the table, I just had to learn how to work with new mediums ie; fondant work, how to stack a cake, how to airbrush a cake, how to get smooth edges and so on. Because of this I am a firm believer of investing in yourself, I say it all the time because that is the way I learnt. I taught myself through resources whether it were videos, books eBooks seminars etc. If you want to achieve something in your life, you need to invest in yourself. Take time, research, grow your skills, invest in resources, give yourself the best chances of success through seriously taking time to nurture your passion and talent.
Anyways that is a snapshot of the journey I took on finding my groove as a cake decorator, there were obviously other factor prior to even deciding to dive into a certificate in patisserie but that is for another time. I hope this has inspired someone to work on your gifts and to strive for so much more. If you do want some resources to get started, I have a range in the shop section of my website… I hope to blog again super soon but for now I am going to go away and think of a cool name to call my blog and touch base when I have found it!!
In the meantime, keep creating…