4 November 2013

"Cake Decorating? How did that happen?"

Recently I've been running into a lot of people from my past. Isn't it strange when that happens? Of course, it's inevitable when you live in a tiny city like Adelaide where everyone knows everyone!

Sometimes you just get the casual wave as you pass each other in the street, and others you stop and share the expected small talk. How have you been? What have you been up to lately? Wow - it's been such a long time!

The most common question for me - "Cake decorating? How did that happen???"

It's not a surprising response. After high school I studied Hospitality and Event Management and post study I worked in business administration - so how did I end up baking cakes every weekend?

Could you believe that it began back in high school? In my final year of school (2007), one of my major projects in 'Food & Hospitality' was an event cake! This was my first introduction to cake decorating and I learnt the very basics of decorating with chocolate.

First ever decorated cake - fantastic photography by my teacher - It did say 'Birthday', I swear!
(Seventeen years young and full of concentration!)

I loved it! My results weren't great (embarrassing to look back at now!) but the sense of accomplishment I felt when my cake was finished was something I'd never experienced before.

Cutting a long story short, I didn't touch another cake for four years until curiosity got the better of me and I signed up for a short cake decorating course at a local TAFE. A couple of hours each week I went to classes and well... I gave up! Cake decorating was not for me. No way. I didn't like it. I wasn't learning anything exciting. That was the end of that.

Until a year later when my job in administration became all too much. The corporate world was a political, bitchy minefield. After getting fed up with all the drama I impulsively booked flights to Sydney and a two week course at Planet Cake.

First day of the Foundations week at Planet Cake! (May 2012)

A full on two weeks full of illness (vomiting in the Planet Cake bathrooms on my second day is a good claim to fame, right? Real smooth Taryn...), stress, crazy emotions, and having to leave the course a day early to fly home for an emergency - it was hectic!

However, within 2 weeks I went from barely knowing how to cover a cake in fondant to knowing how to ganache, get sharp edges, stack two tiers, three tiers, and even a triple barrel cake! While these skills needed a lot more practice to get right, having stepped way out of my comfort zone and being drowned in this new knowledge was the best thing I could have done to kick start my new career.

The alias 'Sugar Push' was created shortly after and the cakes haven't stopped since!

Have you ever had a dramatic career change? Or have you found a passion that gives you this same sense of achievement? Leave a comment to share!

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