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Monday, May 25, 2009

Self Upgrading 2009 - Part 1

I had a really challenging 2 weeks. Challenging, tedious, tiring, frustrating, stressful, super long hours (abt 10 hrs a day) but I really enjoyed myself - really did. When this happens, you will realize that you are doing what you're really passionate about! 
**Which is a good thing I hope!** 

Upgraded experience and knowledge and the best part - made a lot of new friends who are passionate abt the same thing as myself! These are the best kinda friends because they so understand your dilemma *grin*

I attended a 3 day & a 5 day Squire's Kitchen Professional course which you will graduate with a diploma! So me being me, I don't usually find out much about a particular course before I sign up. What's most important to me is -  how valuable will the cert be; who the teacher is; brief on what we'd learn and if I'm intrigue by it; dates of the course; and reasonable pricing? Hehehe I always fail to find out in detail what we will really be learning. I'll just go and usually I will be surprised! This is not the first :p

As I've mentioned many times before, I really like to be challenged. But when I'm challenged out of my expectation, eheheh that's when the true fun begins! This is what squires kitchen's diploma professional course was for me! 
Squires Kitchen is the largest independent School of cake decorating & sugarcraft in UK. For it to be available in Malaysia is such a bonus! Thank you Rosalind for bringing it here for us :)

Let me tell u about the 1st course I attended 
3-day Diploma in Professional Wedding Cake

Yeap I've never done any wedding cakes - it's definitely very foreign to me. My coursemates are all experienced bakers - some extremely humble and stay low profile but of course there's also some who are ummm... overly 'not-humble'. I was especially happy to find my 'nenek' (aka Kak Yom) there. Haven't seen her since Debbie Brown's course.

As promised to all of you who couldn't attend, I will try to detail as much in words and pictures :) and hopefully in the near future, you too can experience it on ur own! 
Please forgive me for the lack of photos on the 1st 2 days....

We were given a box of 'toys' at the start - so many new cutters, molds and new stuffs to play with. We started with covering of the 3 tier styrofoam cakes. Need them to harden before we start to decorate them.

Then we played with squire's gumpaste (oh-so-smooth-n-elastic!) to make some really fine laceworks. Soo pretty :) We were also shown some really pretty ways to decorate wedding cakes - smocking, brush embroidery and a lot more!

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2nd day was really exciting. I've always been quite sceptical about making flowers. I found them too tedious, too dainty and just not my cuppa tea. One of the main reasons I attended this course is to convert my mindset on life size flowers! It was tough 4 me because mentally I was so resistant! Everything we had to do I found myself quite reluctant.

Our first flower is the lily - longiflorum lily I think.. From the stems to the petals and when we put it together... I was so impressed! Then we have to dust them and oh gosh.. You see it come to life! That was when I fell in love! But still sceptical about other flowers... 

Longiflorum Lily
the final product of the lily... 

Longiflorum Lily
so pretty right!? amazing....

Then we did roses! Oohhhh this one was sooo frustrating. We had to do them petal by petal & do u know how many petals are there in a single rose!??? Almost immediately, my love for flowers kinda flew away! We spent nearly one whole day on just 2 flowers! Of course in between we were thought various techniques that we can use for our wedding cake but really, it was on just the lily & rose! 

Rose
rose bud - how real right!!!
 (how i wish it is my work but this is done by rosalind the expert in life size flower)

Rose
& the full bloom rose
(rosalind makes it look so damn easy! arghh....)

3rd day, we did our third flower which is the one that i have been waiting for... Jasmines! I always prefer small & adorable stuffs compared to the bigger ones :P Then I realized how many jasmines there are in a spray of jasmines - 30-60 flowers!!!! And it's not like we had ample time! We still have to finish up our wedding cake - and we were just told we have to showcase our cakes as though it is a competition! We will also have a mystery celebrity judge! Talk about unnecessary pressure :P

Jasmines
Aren't these jasmines so pretty?

For this course, there's a lot of flexibility. Our final aim is to create a 3-tier wedding cake of our own design. It's up to us what we want to put on it. I had a really simple & elegant idea in my mind but hearing that it's supposed to be a 'competition' - i was quite worried mine might be a little too plain - minimal complexity but I don't like complexity! Luckily there's no time for me to even bother about it. I could feel the pressure build ard the class. Too much left to do. No one went for lunch. The class was silent most of the time. I really mean 'silent'!

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My 3 tier cake still an empty canvas :P

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Vivian busy dusting the jasmines :)

Rose
My rose - yet 2 b brought to life

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Rosalind helping to bring my rose to life!

Back to the jasmines... i rush to finish up 30. 20 buds and 10 flowers plus lots of leaves. We are doing 4 types of flowers together. Not compulsory to put all on our cake. We just need to showcase them - in other words need to finish them no matter what! Oh and our leaves, it needs to be steam-ed! Quite cool really... the color becomes more real & the leaf becomes glossy after steaming it! and no! it does not melt! Towards the end, it was really the adrenaline working. 

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Jasmine buds - i dusted these on my own... pretty eh?

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and these are the jasmine flowers - so nice right!! love love love them!

By 6.30pm we kinda finished it all and started to clear & set up our cakes. It was really nice to see everyone's final product. About 7pm, we had our dinners while the judges went around judging. Our celebrity judge turns out to be Amy Beh! I personally felt that I could have done better but oh well, it had to do :P

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my jasmine completed my cake just the way i hoped it will! :)

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My theme - pure simple & elegant! :)

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Being my first 3 tier wedding cake... I am really happy with it but it's definitely too simple for a competition piece! 

My course-mate's work-of-art
(you can now compare amateur vs pro's work)

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After setting the cake all up only were all of us relieved. Only then did most of us had our breakfast/lunch/tea.... hahahaha... crazy tension since we found out it was a competition till we finished setting up our cake!

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My 3 day partner in crime, Norizan, Kak Yom & Kak Mariam

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The 2 hot mama - Angeline & Lay Pheng

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Swee San, Me & the 2 hot mama!

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The Johor-ians!

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A quick 'relieved' snapshot

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The judging begins... Amy Beh & Rosalind in action

After judging, they each gave us their honest opinion about our 'work-of-art', which is to help us improvise! My stomach tightens each time they come to mine... heheheh

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Nevertheless, I graduated! All of us scored above the passing mark!

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All together :)

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I had to get a pic with Amy Beh, our celebrity judge of the day! She's really nice and guess what?! She used to be from Penang! Yeee haaa!

I'll end today's post with a photo gallery of my new sugar buddies with their work-of-art! It was really great knowing u guys... You guys made the 3 days so much fun! :) Stay in touch :)

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sorry 'darling' - this is my best pic of u! u were way to bz to pose for me :P

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It was Friday and the next class resumes the following wednesday - I had friends who wanted to go back to Penang so I decided to go back right after class. Not the best idea considering how intensive the past 3 days were! Nevertheless, I drove back. Started the journey about 9pm. Quite heavy traffic along the highway - arrived safe & sound at our humble abode @ 1am... 

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Definitely a tiring 3 day experience but it is without a doubt, a worthy one! 
*grin*

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