* Passion * Skill * Heart * ...from the Cake Specialist

Monday, August 18, 2014

LIVE!!!! and the beginning of my cake career.

I should start calling this blog Lazarus...for the amount of times it's been resurrected from a dead blogging life. Maybe it's just that I haven't had much to say since...

Flashback to 2009...
Me in my chocolate and cream stained chef whites and my flour stained steel-toed safety shoes (these were more like construction worker boots than chef clogs).


Sitting outside on a bench smoking my umpteenth cigarette, into hour 15 of my day which started at 6am this morning. Wondering what the hell made me into a soulless pastry drone.

I love pastry! I have a burning passion for it! But this job was surely killing it... Locking it inside a walk-in freezer and letting it die a slow death. I had to get out. I simply had to, otherwise I would lose all this pastry love..

Most of what I know about pastry from the hotel was about baking cakes, doing plated desserts, making show pieces, doing chocolate work and doing dessert buffets, cake decorating were few and far between. 

We had a special cake Artist Chef for that, and even he had an assistant. So the rest of us pastry drones would only have a chance of working with fondant during festivals ( Hari Raya, Chinese New Year & Christmas) and when a royal family member need a huge cake (bearing in mind, a 10kg cake is considered a small size). During those times, it was all hands on deck, making fondant decorations 'til the wee hours o' the mornin' all to have it ready by the next day.

Through that, I learnt to cover a cake in fondant, learnt to mix gold dust with vodka/lemon extract to make edible gold paint, learnt to hand make 500 pink roses for a cake (because the Permaisuri loves pink). So I had the basics down pat. 

Every time I was needed at the cake decorating station, I jumped at the chance. Wether it be for a 20kg, gold covered cake for the King or to make an X-rated cake which no one else wanted to do because they'd essentially be making edible porn. I would dream of making fantastical cakes for anyone celebrating anything!

Suddenly,  in my mind, I see hope... in the shape of a beautifully decorated cake with gold painted fondant detailing and handmade roses. This will give me the fuel to stoke my fire again. I shall be a cake decorater....nay I shall be a cake specialist!!

So I quit my job at the 5-Star city hotel working endless hours in the building's basement!

I decided to strike it out on my own.
I decided what cake I wanted to do,
which customer I wanted to take on
how much to charge!

I mean, everybody KNEW I did pastry and cakes, right? And I had, had some personal cake customers already! It'd be a cinch! I'd be rolling in customers!

Unfortunately, it wasn't the case, in the beginning. There were months where I'd make only 2 cakes. Which sucked financially. I lucked out having saved money from working all those hellish hours so I could sustain it living frugally for awhile, although it didn't seem frugal at the time. 

I was also living with friends at the time, who are fabulous people and also living with my better half, all in the same condo unit. 

Baking cakes takes up kitchen space and kitchen time. I felt like I was taking advantage of the situation to say the least. But they were all really great, gracious and generous with my "weird baking times", my "making a mess in the kitchen", my "leaving the dishes to pile up in the sink" and all to help me advance my career of making edible artistic cakes and also for first hand dibs on any hot-from-the-oven cakes and cookies.

It was hard at times, it was challenging to say the least and it was a learning curve approaching, what it felt like, infinity, that I would have to ride through to become the caker that I am today. 

I still have a lot of ways to go but I surely am happier, more creative and best of all.. 


Friday, September 24, 2010

A Short Story: On the side...

When you have a meal, there's always either a salad or fries or mashed potatoes or bowl of soup on the side.

The thing is, you've ordered the main meal. The side dish inevitably comes with it whether you or your dinner companion like it or not.

Some people go all out, avoiding the side dish as if it was unbearable to eat it or for their dinner companion eats it as well.

Some people just push the side dish aside. Pretending not to eat it (probably because it's a side of Fries and they're on a low carb diet) but they look at it furtively, steal glances and gobble up a few when they think the Gods of Dieting aren't watching.
If no one sees it, then it's alright. Right?

But then one day, your dinner companion says, it's okay. "I know you want the main meal but it's ok to have the side dish, it really is. I don't mind." You look at them expectantly and wonder if they're just testing you.

"Ok, lets have the side-dish together, shall we?", you say.

Then the two of you start comparing side dishes. Which ones are tastier? which ones have more fat? more lean meat?more protein? looks more promising and so on an so forth. Sometimes not coming to an understanding but always reaching a compromise.

So you go about your brunches and dinners having side dishes along with the main meal.

"Why don't we have two or more side dishes together?, says your dinner companion happy to oblige you.

You two plan and set your meals such that, you'll both be having side dishes to eat and plenty of it too. 

And slowly yet  surely you start eating side dishes exclusively.

Because they're more to your taste maybe? They've got more umph? They're more attractive with their salad greens and baby tomatoes? Because they're less greasy than the main meal of roasted pork knuckles, hence less fat and more appetizing to you?

The main meal gets poked and prodded and moved around the plate. You chew on it half heartedly and finally you stop eating it altogether. So it sits there, getting cold, not getting eaten but you've already ordered it.

One day whilst on the way out to lunch at work, you see a new restaurant. You find this restaurant serves side dishes in a Main Course Size. *ka-ching!*

Your eyes dazzle, heart beats faster, you feel woozy and your throat feel dry and needs a long drink of water. You can't believe your eyes.

You're hungry! You're ravenous... You haven't had a bite to eat all day!

So you have your fill of it, trying side dishes from goodness knows where, traveling to any and every restaurant that advertises this wonder or wonders!

Come eat my Side Dish!

Main Course Salad! only $9.95

Get it while it's hot, boy!

I've got the best corn on the cob in town! Sweet, dripping from the melting buttery juices!

You know you want it, you forget work, you plough your way through lunch through to afternoon tea. All the way through to supper if you could... eating and having. Going from one restaurant to another. Side dishes galore.

Meanwhile, your dinner partner having already ordered is wondering why you're late. Cause you had appointment for, well, Dinner. You arrive completely satiated, full to the brim, trousers a-bursting at the seams. You sit at the table and say your hi's and hello's with a tummy full of side dishes.

"I'm hungry! I'm ravenous... I haven't had a bite to eat all day. I hope you're hungry cause you're in for a treat!", says your eating compadre excitedly upon seeing you.

You flinch, just a little and say,

"I'm sorry.....I've had a lot of side dishes...I skipped work in the afternoon and went off to a new restaurant to have their Main Course Side Dish set....then to a Hotel nearby where they had a salad side dish buffet..and then... two more pub lunches..and a cafe....and... I'm full"

Your Foodie partner assures you that it's okay,

"It's fine.. I'll see you later then alright? What? No it really is alright! Nah I wasn't so crazy about this restaurant anyways. You better get on back home and have a rest ok? Lets have dinner soon?"

As you leave, you glance through the windows of the restaurant. He sees you and smiles and waves goodbye animatedly to you. Then you only realise, standing in the street looking in, his table is full of small bite sized portions of Main Meal. But he's not eating his main meal. So it sits there, getting cold, not getting eaten but he's already ordered it.

And he feels pushed aside.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sweet talker..gimme another bite.

Met two lovely ladies today.

We talked about relationships over iced coffee in see-through plastic cups.

We talked about business.

We talked about the love of my life. My professional life, that is....

Pastries and Desserts.

Main courses are food for the body.

But Desserts are tricky sneakier creatures...

They're food for the Mind. (they don't make you smart, mind you....I wish they did!)

Even though your body is full, you'll always make room for dessert.

Desserts are made pretty and more often nowadays looking like architectural masterpieces.

And although you're already full, your mind tricks you into having "One more slice of that heavenly flour less chocolate cake with the high-gloss chocolate glaze accented with a sliver of gold leaf"

Ah me... my life banks on the gluttony of people. And as a race, we are un-apologetically so.

Who wouldn't say no to a towering chocolate fountain with big luscious ripe red strawberries?...

Even when people say they want low sugar, low carb, low this and that..it still is dessert baby..it's delicious.. it's inviting, in fact that ice cream bar with the home-style vanilla bean ice cream and the bits of crushed oreo, fresh berries and perfectly whipped cream and a shower of almond slices baked to golden perfection just calls you...

It's screaming... EAT ME!...

You know you want it.

Give in to the temptation and have your cake and eat it too..

In fact I've got a Banana Raisin Walnut loaf cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting just lying there luxuriously in my fridge, waiting to be ravaged...


Fills me with LOVE. :-)

Death by Chocolate Cakes : An Astonishing Array of Chocolate EnchantmentsIce Cream: The Delicious History

Friday, June 18, 2010

Oh my Blog..:-(

I have neglected my blogs for almost a year now... this I know..

Then I asked myself Why?...

here are some ideas I've come up with.

  1. I'm not angsty anymore. No anger = no fuel = no fire = no Blogging
  2. I'm not doing anything noteworthy.
  3. I have been doing things much too "noteworthy" to put it down in black and white on this, my web-log
  4. Most of the interesting stuff I want to tell people, I do it in the here and now on Facebook. (I don't even Twitter, not enough space for ranting)
  5. I've been genuinely happy. And we all know how preachy and boastful it sounds when people write about their own happiness.
Things Write about :
Own misery ( yes ), Others' misery ( No! )
Others' Happiness ( sure why not? ), Own Happiness ( Hell NO! )

So which is it?

Yes the past year has been happy and satisfying for me in the arenas of personal, sexual and relationship growth.

Things I thought I'd never do, I did. Things I wished would happen to me, did!.. Ask me for the sordid and salacious details in private!

I went to Bali again! :-)

I'm too old to be angsty...I wouldn't say jaded, but not as bright eyed and bushy tailed as before. I'm piqued by things that fascinate me more than excite me. Because fascination borrows from your mind, heart and imagination and turns something interesting into a magical show.

I am awed at watching Stars as night, their gases burning bright..the Universe is a wondrous thing. And the most fantastic thing about our universe and our existence is that, it is a series of random events that has brought us humans into being. And for us to have the appreciation of that, is truly amazing.

I am awed at watching the Sun rise through the trees and watching the lightening day. The colours shift from Dark night - deep blue - violet - pink to orange and yellow and finally the bright sky-blue blue skies of the morning.

I enjoy a good laugh.

I realised I quite like mid sized doggies with personalities and a penchant for clean laundered tidy whities. Buddy Brutus is # 1!!

I relish good chats with friends. I love my friends but better still, I'm still willing to make new friends. Some people have friend quotas which gets filled the older they get. Not me. Of course you fight, you laugh, you hate them sometimes and love them most of the times. They're your Mates... it is their duty (to be a Mate).

I love Robyn (all her recent music), Delorean, Microwave Popcorn, Simgsons, South Park, Big Bang Theory, Iced Caramel Frappuccino (double blended), Kent Reds, Ramli Burger (Burger Ayam double Special Satuuu) watching the Moon rise. Closed eye visuals, followed closely by Laser Lights, that "WHOAAAA-I-gotta-it-down-for-a-minute" feeling, airconditioning, My sisters and Dad, sleeping wow I realized just how much I love sleeping this year and Choco-Potato Chip (get it from Royce's chocolates yummy!)

I dislike (because hate is such a strong word) waiting for people to arrive, leaving late which means arriving late, cardio workouts, headaches, limited space on my external hard drive, brussel sprouts, serial misspelling, American Idol, Reality TV shows that feature law enforcement (C.O.P.S or Bounty Hunter), not getting what I ordered, being told "I told you so!", being lost with a blurry sense of time, queues, traffic jams, people complaining nonstop about traffic jams, jars I can't open, melted KitKats and overtly dramatic situations.

So, I've just been getting to know Me better, I guess..


You live and learn.

At any rate, you live. *

*Douglas Adams quotes (British comic Writer, 1952-2001)

Monday, August 03, 2009

Zee Avi

The first time I heard her I thought I was listening to an old song, very sinple melodies, a bit frenchy with just the guitar and a longing voice. Then I watched the music video and thought she could be an indonesian or Filipino singer who is featured on the Asian Music Platform on MTV.

Her first single Bitter Heart has been picked up by Walmart in the US and a soft drink company in the Netherdlands to be used in their advertising campaign.

The melodies may sound innocent but her music's pretty dark.. talks about non-conformist lovers, drug abuse and separation... boy don't we know about THOSE things!

Her music is honest and clear and simple. I love her lilting voice, reminds me of Joanna Wang, Regina Spektor and harks of Billie Holiday too.

I'm looking forward for her to have her gigs here in KL. Maybe at Damansara.. ~chuckles~

She is Zee Avi! Go listen to her music and be entertained and relaxed and have a laugh too.

Here's where you can listen to her self titled album.
My favourites? Poppy, Honey Bee and Kantoi.

Oh and p/s She's Malaysian. *Suddenly feeling nationalistic pride*. ~laughs~

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Lines that make the laughter..

Okay so this is a lame attempt at blogging, and to tell you the truth I haven't been thinking of much besides finding more laughter lately so here are some immortalised lines from three funny funny movies which I hope you will enjoy as much as I have enjoyed looking it up online..

Thanks to the Internet Movie Database for providing endless hours of fun for me!

Movie: Birdcage

Armand: All right, I'll bite, where are you going?
Albert: To Los Copa.
Armand: Los Copa? There's nothing in Los Copa but a cemetery.
Albert: I know, that's why I'm packing light.
Armand: Oh I see, so you're going to a cemetery with your toothbrush. How Egyptian.

Albert Goldman: Whatever I am, he made me! I was adorable once, young and full of hope. And now look at me! I'm this short, fat, insecure, middle-aged THING!
Armand: I made you short?

Armand: You do an eclectic celebration of the dance! You do Fosse, Fosse, Fosse! You do Martha Graham, Martha Graham, Martha Graham! Or Twyla, Twyla, Twyla! Or Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd! Or Madonna, Madonna, Madonna!... but you keep it all inside.

Albert: He blew a BUBBLE with his GUM while I was singing. He can't do that while I'm SINGING!
Celsius: Chewing gum helps me think.
Albert: Sweetie, you're wasting your gum!

Movie : To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar

Miss Chi-Chi Rodriguez: You know what Vida, you're not a queen because you rule people or you sat on a throne, baby. You're a queen because you couldn't cut it as a man so you had to put on a dress, that's why.

Noxeema Jackson: When a straight man puts on a dress and goes on a sexual kick he is a transvestite. When a man is a woman trapped in a man's body and has a little operation he is a Transsexual.
Miss Chi-Chi Rodriguez: I know that.
Noxeema Jackson: When a gay man has way too much fashion sense for one gender he is a drag queen.
Vida Boheme: Thank you.
Noxeema Jackson: And when a tired little Latin boy puts on a dress, he is simply a boy in a dress!

Vida Boheme: I think tomorrow is a "Say Something" hat day.

Miss Chi-Chi Rodriguez: I'm a princess. "P" to the "R" to the "N" to the "cess". I'm a princess.

Noxeema Jackson: If you want them to know there is steak for dinner, you got to let them *hear* it sizzle! Understand?

Movie: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

Felicia: [singing] A desert holiday, let's pack the drag away. You take the lunch and tea, I'll take the ecstasy. Fuck off you silly queer, I'm getting out of here. A desert holiday, hip hip hip hip hooray!

Bernadette: No, I'll join this conversation on the proviso that we stop bitching about people, talking about wigs, dresses, bust sizes, penises, drugs, night clubs, and bloody Abba!
Tick: Doesn't give us much to talk about then, does it?

Bernadette: [to Tick about Felicia] One more push, I'm gonna to smack his face so hard he'll have to stick his toothbrush up his arse to clean his teeth!

Bernadette: [to Shirley] Now listen here, you mullet. Why don't you just light your tampon, and blow your box apart? Because it's the only bang you're ever gonna get, sweetheart!

Mitzi: [to Felicia] You know, there are two things I don't like about you, Felicia... your face. So how 'bout shutting both of them?

Bernadette: What a nice dog. What's it's name?
Bob: Herpes. If she's good, she'll heal.

Felicia: [to Tick and Bernadette] I met these Swedish tourists called... Lars, Lars and Lars

Bernadette: [to Tick] Don't "Darling", me, Darling. Look at you. You've got a face like a cat's arse

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Don't kill me for being such a romantic...

You know you love someone when..

you look at them sleeping peacefully...and your heart melts.

you look forward to their kiss first thing in the morning and the first thing when they come home from work

you do things with them in mind so that they will smile when they notice it

you say yes to most everything they want to do, mainly because it's gonna be with you

you want to be near them just so you can catch their scent and it's so fammiliar drives you crazy

you think of what to get for them for christmas, brithdays etc etc but don't let on that you know what they want

you think of them a lot

you say you miss them through sms and really mean it

you care enough to let them grow into whatever it is they're destined to be

you can picture doing absolutely nothing with them and it's totally alright

~sighs~ Love you Bebe. Always have, always will.