Rising To The Occasion

By Fazleena Aziz

KUALA LUMPUR: It would seem like everyone is a baker these days to earn an extra income or to make a living.
Just a quick browse through Instagram, one can see the list of new bakers mushrooming around the corner offering a range of sweet and savoury delicacies that feed the needs of the masses.
dailystraits.com spoke to several new emerging bakers who stumbled their way into the sweetness of the baking world.

What started as just baking a cake for her daughter’s birthday, has now become a business for former bank manager Junaida Aziz, 42, from Ampang.
A self-taught baker, Junaida or simply known as Jun uses baking to also cope with her anxiety and depression due to work stress.
“I was on and off medication while seeing a psychiatrist. I needed to do something to help with my condition, so I started baking as a therapy.
“Somehow I found it to be very therapeutic for me but it wasn’t as easy transition because working in the bank I had a fixed income and stability.
“So, I started looking for recipes online, followed bakers on Instagram, took online classes and group classes to improve my baking. Made a few types of cakes, brownies, puddings and that’s how I got my start. 
She added that her family members have become her review team whenever a new dessert is made.
Jun also said that she supports other bakers by ordering from them as she knows there are many people struggling after losing their jobs during the pandemic.
She said it was a common sight nowadays with people picking up baking skills and starting small businesses while being stuck at home.
“We should definitely support all the new bakers out there because everyone has suffered during this pandemic.
“Even though I’m a baker myself sometimes I buy from other bakers just to show them my support,” she said.
For Rabia Potaga or Aby , 27, from Bandar Baru Bangi, the love for baking was infused in her since childhood.
The idea of creating something beautiful which other people can enjoy gives Aby the fulfilment she needs.
“I started baking almost a year ago after losing my job in the Food & Beverage management industry. The transition has been hard because you have to be your own boss.
“You have to have a systematic schedule and you have to stick to the business because it is yours.
“So far business has been good but the Movement Control Order (MCO) has made it hard to get certain ingredients or just a challenge to go to the wholesale bakery supply place,” she said.
She added that other bakers are not seen as competitors but more like the inspiration needed to succeed.
Aby said it was amazing to see new creations, beautiful designs and different combinations seen in the baking world.
Kenny Ooi, 38, from Subang is a part-time baker with a full-time job but nothing stands in his way as he juggles between two worlds.
Ooi, who has always had an interest in baking, started his journey during the first MCO.
Among his first ventures was the infamous Basque burnt cheesecake.
“I have always been interested in baking from my younger years but never ‘dared’ myself to try or push myself to do it. 
“MCO 1.0 came in, I was watching a lot of baking videos shared by people and that’s when I got hooked after I saw the cheesecake.
“I have received a fair response from family and friends, who have been very supportive to my business,” he said.
He added constructive feedback from family and friends helps him improve the taste and texture as well as his skill set.Although baking now is more like a hobby, Ooi would love to improve his craft to a more professional level.
He hopes to bring more eloquent and decadent desserts to home parties through his venture into small catering jobs.
On the emergence of new bakers, Ooi is positive about the trend as it opens doors to new things online including tutorials, courses and interesting recipes.

To contact this reporter, email: editor@dailystraits.com

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2 thoughts on “Rising To The Occasion

  1. Yes indeed. Baking has been a guardian of my mental health during the pandemic especially at the early stage when we just started the lockdown.

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