Challenging Yourself

Last week I faced was one of the most challenging weeks I have ever had. I should not have taken on the number of orders I had but somehow the little voice in my head kept telling me I would be able to do it (maybe I am a sucker for self inflicted stress!). And on top of all that I ran a four day intensive class during the week and another class on Saturday.



 Cake by students from the intensive class. To put you in the festive mood 🙂



 Cake by students from the intensive class. I just love this design!
The Sunday before, as I prepared for the storm I really did worry how I would get it all done. It was not a matter of not finishing (I knew I would finish) but more the matter of the amount of sleep I would have to sacrifice to get there. Oh dear…



At one point, my studio was packed to the brim with cakes – created by students as well as those for my weekly orders. Cakes, cakes everywhere! Not to mention trying to schedule the deliveries. Three of the cakes all had to be delivered to venues all over town before 10am. It’s at times like this I wished I had my own delivery driver.
But you know what? As I now sit here and reflect on last week, I think the pressure and challange was just the right amount of fire up my bum I needed to get myself to move faster and be better. I realised what I thought would take me a long time to do based on past experiences actually did not. I managed to really push myself and I guess when you have no other choice, something inside yourself snaps and you somehow just move, move, move!



This reminds me of a really inspirational speech I watched on You Tube a couple of years ago. Chef Johnny Iuzzini of Jean Georges in New York was addressing the graduating class of 2008 from the Culinary Institute of America. The advice that stood out to me the most was to always push yourself to be better than the day before… and there is always someone behind you that can do your job better and faster than you. You can watch the full the speech below.
Since then, with things that I do on a regular basis – like ganaching, I always have a quick look at the clock and aim to do each cake faster than the one before. In the past, what would usually take me half an hour to do now only takes me about 10+ minutes.



Everyday is a new challenge and especially when you work for yourself, if you don’t care to constantly push yourself to be better, no one will.



6 thoughts on “Challenging Yourself

  1. hi sharon! love your blog and your work! what an inspirational post 🙂 I’m currently juggling working full-time and cakes on the side and have taken quite a few orders for xmas. At first I thought I may have bitten more than I can chew but I thought if I don’t take on the challenge I’ll never learn. So I’ve planned my weekend out carefully(sacrificing social outings) to fit it all in. Here’s hoping it’ll all be done on time! Merry Xmas!

  2. Your work is amazing. I would love to be able to take a class with you one day. Maybe one day you can have a class in California.

  3. Since the first time I found and read your blog, it still amaze me until today.
    Very true what you said, like me I ran a small cake business, work for myself too, and if you don’t push yourself none will. Yeah, loosing sleep is one of the sacrifice that I have to do too, plus loosing a bit quality time with my family. And ganache-ing, I was doing it for 1 hour for 1 single cake (LOL) but now half an hour for 1 single cake. I wish one day I will be as fast as you and as good as you in creating well dressed cakes. You are such an inspirational to me.

  4. hi sharon!! huge fan here! i´ve been following your blog and i always fell identified with you, though i only make cakes as a hobbie and admire you so much cuz i can´t imagine the pressure it must be decorating as a bussiness!
    i had 1 question…i was wondering what in the world is the beautiful decoration of the third cake middle tier made of?? is that gumpaste or what?? adored that cake!!

  5. Daphne – Thank you! Hope you got all your orders done on time 🙂
    Anonymous – I would love to teach in the US, let me know if you know of any venues I can approach!
    Lena – Thank you! The patten on the 3rd tier of the cake you are referring to is a combination of applied fondant and piping.
    Unknown – Thank you so much 🙂 The middle tier of the cake you are referring to is coconut shavings.

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