Before becoming a pastry chef, I worked as an occupational therapist in a long term care facility. I spent my days teaching people with disabilities ways to increase their independence, and felt good at the end of each day knowing that my work made a difference in someone’s life. I left that career after a few years to pursue a passion in baking – I was so excited to be spending my days in the kitchen, but there was a part of me that felt like it was a selfish choice. I left a helping profession to follow some crazy dream that would make me happy, but didn’t for a second think it could ever make a difference in anyone else’s life.
A few years into my baking career, those selfish feelings disappeared when I got a call from a grateful mom. Her son, Steven, who had been anaphylactic to eggs and dairy since birth, had never had a birthday cake before. She thanked me profusely (that day and for years to come) for creating something that he could enjoy as part of his birthday celebration (his 8th birthday… can you imagine, seven birthdays without cake?!). It was at that moment I realized that I actually was still helping people!
Of all the things we make, kids’ birthday cakes are my favourite. They just get SO excited about them! I love that we can make a cake the birthday boy or girl will love, and parents will feel good about giving them. No dairy, no eggs, no nuts, no preservatives, artificial colours or flavours, and they can still have a delicious, decadent, brightly coloured cake like the ones they see at their friends’ parties. They may still come home covered in frosting, but with unrefined sugar and no fakie fake colours, they’re not likely to be bouncing off the walls!