Now, that distraction I mentioned while writing up the posts about my Show cake...
On the 1st of August last year, I wrote a post basically "signing off" from my blog. I had decided once and for all to stop taking private cake orders, as my full-time bakery job was very tiring and I didn't have the time or energy to come home and do even more baking and decorating. I stated that it would be my last blog post, unless circumstances were to change again in the future.
And so, if the fact that I'm posting again would suggest things have changed... that would be a yes. The bakery I was working at has experienced a down-turn in business, and when it came to job cuts, I drew the short straw. I am now an out-of-work 3rd year Apprentice Pastry Cook. I was happily working away on the flowers for my Show cake while on annual leave in late January and early February, and then went back to work only to have the rug pulled out from under my feet... finding out my last shift would be, most inconveniently, the day before my entry had to be delivered to the showground.
Part of me felt that for my family's sake I should have dropped everything and started intensive job-hunting the day I found out. But in terms of time and money, I had already invested so much in my Show entry, I didn't want to abandon it either. Display cakes aren't cheap to make... polystyrene dummies, kilos of icing, colour/lustre powders, wires, ribbons, boards, pillars, supports, and the Show entry fee itself, it all adds up. And despite the impressive haul of trophies and ribbons I received there are no monetary prizes, so no way to recoup any of the cost... right at a time when my family could least afford unnecessary expenses.
Obviously, I decided to go ahead with the entry... but that doesn't mean I didn't feel guilty as hell for doing it. I might have bailed on last year's Show entry when I realised I'd left it too late to get started, but this year I'd already progressed much further by the time the job blow came... past the "point of no return," so to speak! It's been a tough few weeks, but what's done is done... and I think that the Best In Show result certainly proves I made the right decision.
Anyway, Show's over. Now to deal with the employment situation... I'm back on the job-hunting warpath! As for whether or not I start taking cake orders again, that will depend on whether or not I find a new job fairly quickly. If a couple of months go by and it's not looking promising, I will definitely consider it. Until then, I'll keep you posted!
- Kylie Skellams
- Newcastle, NSW, Australia
- I’m a former industrial chemist, and after deciding on a career change while at home with my two young children, I’m now a qualified pastry chef. In 2009 I started taking some classes in cake decorating and other pastry-related cookery, and taught myself many more decorating techniques from books and internet resources. In 2010 I started a pastry apprenticeship, studying Retail Baking (Cake & Pastry) Certificate III at TAFE, which I completed with Distinction in 2012. I completed my apprenticeship in December 2013, and am now working as a full time Pastry chef and Cake Decorator at 'Exquisite Cakes by Lennert' in Cessnock, NSW.