I still feel like I’m dreaming when I think back to the time when I was awarded the top prize in Buddy Valastro’s Cake Boss Middle East competition in Abu Dhabi in 2014.
I’ve always admired Buddy Valastro for the successful cake entrepreneur that he is, and when I heard he was coming to Abu Dhabi to hold a competition, I could only wish to participate as I was on my annual summer vacation at the time.
After much persuasion from friends and family, I decided to enter the competition and submit not only one, but two cake entries. Everyone could submit as many as they liked baring in mind that it was about quality not quantity. But hold on, how would I do this while I’m sitting in a totally different continent on holiday? To cut a long story short, I diligently hand crafted all of the sugar decorations while I was on holiday with very basic tools, and meticulously planned the structure and time schedule of each cake. I then hand carried all of the sugar decorations on a flight to Abu Dhabi, where I then spent four very long and tiresome days baking and constructing the cakes. Not to mention that Abu Dhabi was at its hottest and most humid time of year, and as any case designer knows, heat and humidity are our worst enemies.
Against all odds, I don’t know how it happened, but both my cakes were shortlisted in Buddy’s top 5 cakes, and 1 of my cakes won the big first prize. I was complimented by Buddy on the taste of my cakes as well as my craftsmanship. The competition wasn’t just judged by Buddy but also by the head pastry chefs of Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi. So to have been scrutinised by the big guns of the cake world and amongst the amazing other talented designers of the Middle East, to have won this competition was an extreme yet humbling honor for me. It certainly gave me the push I needed to further my career in this field… and thus here we are! In a nut shell, don’t give up on your dreams and you have to be in it to win it.