Monday, October 15, 2012

Jakarta, Indonesia Oct 2012 Class Roundup

After 9 intensive days of travelling and teaching in Jakarta, I'm back!

I'm been thinking about this post for the last day or so and trying to work out how to put down my thoughts and gratitude as well as telling you all about my adventures without being too long winded... because a lot has happened in 9 days... So where do I start?

Firstly, I have to say how impressed I was by all the students I met in the classes. They were all incredibly talented and creative. I hope they have learned as much from me as I have been inspired by their work. These bunch of overachieving students sometimes made my own work so boring and plain :P

 This is Chloe, my youngest student of all time. Do you know she is only 11 and amazingly talented and was the fastest in class. She bakes and learns off You Tube and can tell me all about butter cream, ganaches and royal icing (as well as nail art!). Here she is air brushing her owl cake. Yes, air brushing her owl cake - where was I at 11? :P

What I will remember the most is that the hosts and students made me feel so welcome from the very first day. I think next time I travel there I will have to make sure to bring some extra stretchy pants. The whole experience felt more like a wonderful warm family gathering. Every morning I would hear the students' chatter getting louder and louder as they ascend up the lifts and down the hall way. Laughing and chatting while rustling bags of goodies as they exchange food and that they had all brought from their homes or bakeries. You won't believe the number of boxes and packages that they handed to me saying 'you must try this!', 'No halves, you must take the whole thing!' Before I have finished one item, I would already have another item lined up for testing. Needless to say, I was never hungry.

The students also warned me that they would be my loudest class ever. I thought that might have been a big claim to make on the first day and in the first 10 minutes of class, but I don't think I will ever doubt that claim again. Loud might have been an understatement! (just kidding guys!) I believe the host had some music playing in the background during the classes but I don't think I heard any of it :) Overall, it was just great to see all the students being so friendly with each other and getting along like one big happy family. Some of them had travelled from different parts of the country so for them it was like a great big reunion.

Thank you to all my students who took time off, travelled and worked hard to come to my classes. I am really grateful for the opportunity to teach you all and to be able to get to know each one of you. I'll admit that I was a little nervous before going because I usually don't teach such big classes but the host, Ignes and her team made everything go so smoothly that there was really nothing for me to worry about. I've only been home for 2 days but I am already missing the noise and working and planning on some cool new designs for you guys.

It it so amazing seeing my original design created by so many students and given their own twist. It was really a surreal moment.

Finally, all this would never have happened without Heavenly Sweet, who offered to host me and put in so much work to getting everything organised and ready before I arrived. Most people would be unaware, but there was so much work, emails and conference calls happening months before my tickets were even booked. Ignes was so organised and her team and family were equally amazing and welcoming. All this could not have happened without her and Heavenly Sweet. Until next time... :)

If you missed my classes in Jakarta this time around, like Heavenly Sweet on Facebook to stay updated with details on when I will be back. I will also be teaching in Singapore and Malaysia next month. For details please see the below links:

Singapore - November 21st - 4th of December 2012
Artistiq Sugarcraft

KL, Malaysia - December 11th - 16th 2012
Buns In The Oven Cupcakery

Monday, October 8, 2012

This is me...

So today is kind of a special milestone for me - it's my blog's fifth birthday!

It's hard to believe that five years ago I had just ventured into my love for sugar art and thought that it might be a good idea to document it all in a blog. I didn't ever think that people would care enough to read what I had to write or see what I had to post. And even until today, I am always grateful for every comment that is left on my blog, Facebook page and every student I meet in class who tells me they read my blog (I am so very touched!) and that they really related to it.

Five years ago I was shyly making cakes, cupcakes and cookies for anyone who would try some. I was still working out what I wanted for my future and what real life was all about. Today, as I write this, I am sitting in my hotel room in Jakarta where I am teaching sugar art for a week and having the best time with a bunch of the friendliest students I've ever met. I am truly lucky to have these opportunities come my way.

My first class in Jakarta! Sorry for the bad photo, only had time to take one with my phone.

What are the very first few photos I posted and blogged about? I better not link them, they are now slightly embarrassing :) If you are dying to see them, then you can look through my history :P

I know I have come a long way and still have a much further road ahead of me. In the last half decade I've made so many wonderful cakey friends in real life and online. I have enjoyed sharing knowledge with them and watching them all grow too. I have also encountered some of the best customers and students, plus I'm also lucky to have some talented people working for me and supporting me.

Mostly, I am truly grateful for The Boyfriend (his name is Nick by the way - for those of you who have asked). He is more than my right hand, he's almost both my left and right hands. Some of you have asked how I cope with everything and he is the answer. On nights were it is almost midnight and I'm about ready to collapse with exhaustion, he helps me make ganache and clean up. On weekends when I am teaching, he delivers all of my orders and gets the class lunch. On weeks when I am just too busy, he helps me bake some of my cakes. He is my overall quality control, my encouragement when I am feeling down, my biggest believer and on top of all that, he also maintains my website for me.

In the last five years I have also come to learn what I do definitely not all sugar, rainbows and green grass.

I left my corporate job more than two years ago because I wanted to avoid the politics and red tape that came as part of the job. Who knew that the world of cake decorating is equally political and just like every other industry some people can be just plain mean and hurtful? I thought being your own boss would help me avoid all that but as I grow and become more immersed in the cake world, I realised that  while there are a tonne of family, real and virtual friends that are out there supporting me in what I love to do the most, there are also those who are out to push me back down to where they think I belong.

I don't claim to be the best at what I do, but I do love it with a passion and I believe it's that passion that drives me to better myself. I am not a pastry chef, an art major, some culinary genius, trained as an apprentice or a certified trainer but I do my best to learn, be creative and try new techniques. I don't think that one of those above titles should define me or give me credibility but I would like to think that my work and recommendations speak for itself.

I stumbled into this career in a non traditional way but it does not mean that I can't work just as hard to achieve great results. Although I don't have any 'real' qualifications, I am lucky to have had the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the industry and have also learned some major life and business lessons along the way. This is me. This is how I do it. I have fun doing what I do for a living and I hope everyone else can enjoy it as much as I do :)

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