Scroll through your social media feed and you’re likely to spot aesthetically pleasing pictures of baked goods. HYPE explores the trend of baking among youths.
By Cheryl Tang and Dania Amiril
With multitudes of recipes readily available online, baking is becoming a lot easier for tech-savvy youths to pick up today.
When Jessica Loh, 24, the owner of Shiberty Bakes, first started baking at the age of 13, she was inspired by recipes she found online. She said: “It wasn’t considered ‘cool’ (then), I didn’t expect it (baking) to become so mainstream in a couple of years!”
Indeed, one is bound to come across mouthwatering pictures of beautifully decorated cakes or cupcakes with chocolate ganache oozing from the center while scrolling through their social media feeds.
Ms Judy Koh, managing director of Creative Culinaire, a school that offers cooking and baking classes, said that there have been more youths attending her bakery classes. She attributed it to “the beautiful pictures of baked goods posted on social media” and the “trendy bakeries”.
Mr Randy Chow, 54, Section Head at Temasek Polytechnic’s Diploma in Baking and Culinary Science agrees, citing television shows such as MasterChef and Hell’s Kitchen as an influence.
A survey conducted by HYPE among 101 young adults between the ages of 17 and 29 found that 34 per cent of respondents picked up baking as “a new life skill”.
“It’s a good skill, I can give it (baked goods) out to family and friends as gifts for Christmas and birthdays, it can be decorated and kept for a longer period of time as well,” said Ardelle Tan, 18, a Ngee Ann Polytechnic student.
Baking Up a Storm
Like Jessica, Mr Chow discovered his love for all things culinary at a young age when he and his friend role-played as chefs.
He has come a long way since then, having worked as a real chef for for hotels, restaurants and even hospitals. He was also among the few certified judges on the World Association of Chefs Societies’ judging panel.
While youths like Ardelle pick up baking on their own, parents such as Chow deem it an essential life skill to be imparted to his children. His second daughter is currently in the Culinary Institute of America, – a decision Mr Chow supports fully. “It’s a tough profession with a lot of hard work, we stand for 8 hours everyday – but it’s fun,” he said.
Perhaps the physical demands that come with the job would explain why only 21 per cent of HYPE’s survey respondents would ever consider a culinary career.
Nevertheless, for those who want to get a taste of what it’s like working in the field, there are culinary courses, competitions and internships available in Singapore. Lutfi Teo, 19, a student at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) is one such person. He is currently pursuing a National ITE Certificate (NITEC) in Western Culinary Arts and has taken part in the WorldSkills Singapore Competition 2016 where he emerged first runner-up.
He also has work experience at The White Rabbit and Timbre+ under his belt. He intends to further his studies at the French culinary school, Institut Paul Bocuse, and pursue baking as a full-time career.
But if you prefer to take up baking as a way to destress and have fun, Ms Koh advised aspiring bakers: “Practice makes perfect, equip yourself with knowledge to understand baking before you begin.”