Baking cakes to get a taste of working life

This Christmas season, around 10 to 12 girls from various girls’ homes here will be baking hundreds of sticky date fruitcakes to sell.

As part of a social enterprise project now in its second year, they will be learning many aspects of managing an F&B business such as baking skills and how to manage deliveries and costs.

The baking spree is organised by Beautiful People, which aims to support teenage girls on probation as they leave girls’ homes and re-enter society.

“We believe that in a different environment with different influences, these girls will have a real opportunity to choose to lead a different life,” said business development director Dawn Kong, 40.

The project is a culmination of a year-long mentoring programme that teaches older girls job-related skills. This year, Beautiful People aims to bake about 500 cakes and has received around 300 orders so far, said entrepreneur Shindy Vij, 53.

Each cake costs between $28 and $35, depending on the order amount.

She is one of the people behind the social enterprise arm of Beautiful People, which gives the girls a taste of what it is like to be in the working world. Last year’s batch of girls baked and sold 3,000 cupcakes for Christmas.

Mr Muhammad Kamal, known professionally as chef Kamal Fondueman, will be teaching the girls his specially created halal sticky date fruitcake recipe, and overseeing the three full-day sessions. Said the chef: “I am glad I can be a mentor and teacher to them even though it’ll only be for three days.”

Last year, recounted the 40-year-old, the girls had fun singing along to British star Adele’s songs as they cleaned the kitchen.

Miss Nina Rafiee, who was from a girls’ home and is now a youth volunteer, was one of last year’s bakers.

“I learnt to be more patient because all the ingredients had to be in precise amounts,” said the 21-year-old, who graduated recently with a higher diploma in hospitality and tourism management from TMC Academy.

But she said she found it more like fun than like work, and will be returning to help out this year. “What I remember most is the hard work that all of us put in during those three days. I’m proud of all of us.”

To order, e-mail dreamcakes@beautifulpeople. The last day for orders is Dec 16.

Source: The Straits Times