Would you believe if I told you that it was only two years ago around the same time of the year that I ran my very first class outside of Sydney. I was so nervous about the classes I was going to run in Singapore and so worried wondering if I have chosen to do the right thing.
Teaching to decorate in a different country/ climate with different materials and tools is not easy. Unlike in Sydney where everything is within reach and in my control, being overseas means trusting my host completely to be my eyes and ears in that country. I have to trust that I have related all the necessary tools and equipment correctly, that the venue will be set up comfortably, the cakes are baked correctly, enough ganache is made, that they manage student enquiries and that the class is also marketed well.
A good host pretty much ends up becoming my right hand. They question why I have listed certain items, offer to replace other items with local alternatives (so that students will easily be able to replicate the cakes at home), and are also intuitive enough to ask about the details because they know it matters (24g wire… do you want green or white?).
When it comes to these overseas classes I think sometimes I’m also surprised by how many different materials are needed and how much set up is required. Thankfully, I’ve had the best hosts who are all like my other half. Sometimes, when I look around during a demo, before I even say what I am looking for, they are already handing it to me 🙂 They know I take my coffee without sugar, I can’t take very spicy things, I love fried chicken wings from the little store on the corner and also have a soft spot for pastries from the local bakery (especially the banana and mushroom ones – those are separate pastries by the way!). All this without me saying much, I am so touched 🙂
Over the last two years, I have learned so much from my students and the experience with being able to do cakey things in different countries with local ingredients is invaluable. I’ve seen all sorts of things happen to cakes (I’ll be honest, sometimes when a student has a problem I am really scratching my head wondering HOW in the world they managed to get that particular result. I don’t mean that the work is bad, but more different and something I have not seen before) and as a result I have learned to troubleshoot well. Sometimes a student will ask me ‘why is this happening to my cake?’ and I have no answer but ‘good question, I have no idea but let’s work it out’. I don’t have the answer to all things cake related but together we learn…
So I don’t think it’s wrong for me to say that my students have also been teaching me a thing or two over the years 🙂
I know it’s hard to organise time off, especially at this time of the year when days off are very precious. So thank you from the bottom of my toes to all the students who took time out from their business, families and jobs to travel (by car and plane) and come to class. I will always be grateful because without all your kind words and support I would not be able to continue doing what I do. I promise to always make sure you continue learning something new each time in class. I might just have to pull some new tricks out of my cake basket next year 😉 Until then, I continue looking forward to seeing all of you in class!
And finally, thank you to my lovely hosts Artistiq Sugarcraft (Singapore), Heavenly Sweet (Jakarta) and Buns in the Oven Cupcakery (KL, Malaysia) for all your hard work, organisation and believing in my work plus giving me the opportunity to teach with you. I look forward to a bigger and more awesome 2013 with all of you!
If you are interested in any of my future classes in the above cities, please contact the relevant hosts and they can place you on a mailing list.