Story by Shareen Grace (WSQ-DIPB-063)
Growing up, my sister and I always craved cakes. They were pretty and made us feel special. To me, they were something beautiful that marked a special occasion. Nothing was more exciting than a birthday accompanied by cake!
Years later, I worked in guest services at the Shangri-La Hotel. I guess I still longed for amazing cakes because I found myself staring at the cake cabinet, almost wanting to climb in. I realised that perhaps this wasn’t just about eating, but about wanting everyone to enjoy cake. And I wanted to make that happen.
So I started a small cake business on the side. I was completely self-taught and baking mostly for family and friends. Then I switched jobs, and ended up working as a chef at a restaurant/ bar. I was lucky enough to have a boss who allowed me to use the kitchen for the 4 hours between when the restaurant service stopped for the evening, and when the bar closed at 2am.
It became abundantly clear to me: I WAS going to bake cakes for a living. I wanted nothing more than my own little bakery. However I had no formal training. There was still so much to learn, and only my financial difficulties were in the way. I enquired about At-Sunrice GlobalChef Academy to nurture my dream.
I knew I could get 70% off the course via the SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) funding, but was surprised to learn about the ‘Food Services SkillsFuture Study Award’, an award that is supported by SSG and SPRING Singapore. S$5,000 was awarded to Singaporeans who had at least 3 years of work experience in the food service industry and were committed to deepen their skills through additional education. Boy, was I committed! I applied, and was accepted!
I’m now in term 2 of my Pastry & Bakery Diploma in At-Sunrice. I’m learning that there’s much more to pastry than just cakes. After being mentored by global chef instructors and taking part in an enriching apprenticeship programme, I know I can be more than just a small-time baker. This education has allowed me to pursue more, confidently.
I have a dream that brings my past to meet my future. That little girl yearning for a special cake represents many children who don’t have the means to celebrate in such a way. My passion-project would be to start a foundation to sponsor cakes for the less fortunate, because all kids should get to celebrate with something as magical as a piece of cake.
Never be afraid to follow your passion, no matter what obstacles you face or what age you are. Passion equals satisfaction, and satisfaction, like cake, is not only sweet, it’s delicious!
If you’re like Shareen and would like to chase your sweet passion, find out more about our diploma programme here.