The International Cake Exploration Societe (ICES) Nigeria chapter has held its 10th Cake Expo at the Event Centre in Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos. The event brought together cake makers, manufacturers and sugar artists, among others, to exhibit, train and hold seminars to promote the industry. TONIA ‘DIYAN was there.
The need to promote cake- making as a viable source of income for entrepreneurs seems to have been realised by the International Cake Exploration Societe (ICES).
The group has elevated the art of cake decorating to a higher level.
It uses the platform of its yearly cake show as a primary motivator to hone the skills of Nigerian cake artists, among others.
On Wednesday, it held its 10th Cake Expo at Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.
At the event, were shows, and training. It afforded sugar craft enthusiasts’and professionals to come from all over the country and beyond to learn, share and teach.
Participants said the event has raised the standard of sugar craft or cake decorating.
The expo is built around a series of classes where people are taught about cake making – from baking, decorating to the business aspect of it. Designed to touch lives, the show has opened a window of opportunities for sugar enthusiasts to learn free.
Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Lola Akande, who was represented at the event, advised participants to join the cake society, saying: “If you want to be a fantastic baker, you must belong to this group and to belong here, you will be able to learn more, and when you learn more, you sell more. It is your work that will sell you. I, therefore, indulge both males and females interested in cake making to belong to this organisation to improve themselves.”
The commissioner praised the organisers for holding the event. “When you improve in what you do, you will be able to sell more. One should not be stagnant; people should try as much as possible to improve in their work. This is an event that people should look forward to yearly because there is hardly an event that is not celebrated with cake.Cake has become a symbol of celebration, joy and happiness; therefore, I congratulate all those involved and are participating in this event. I want to encourage people to put in more effort into their work and your work will sell you to the whole world. If your work is good, people will patronise you,” she said.
Mrs Nnena Nkwocha, the pioneer ICES Nigeria representative, said: “It is good to be here and to see what this vision has become. It’s a dream come through for me, a wonderful vision. When I conceived what it was meant to be, it is what it has turned out to be. It’s been years of teaching people, a lot of people, that I met initially as new entrants in the industry have become instructors.”
On the food and beverage industry’s contribution to the economy, Mrs Nwocha said: “The economy is unfair to this industry. If it gave this industry the chance, it would really add a lot. Here you’ll find professionals. There are doctors, lawyers, people who have left other professions to join this place. We are not a bunch of people who do not know what we are doing. We all have a vision and if the economy will give us the support in the sort of product that we need and how the imported products are priced or taxed. If they will give us the soft loans that we need to get bakeries that are of standard because the biggest constraints we all have is finance.
‘’The finance to set up the way we ought to set up. But I think inspite of that, Nigerians are very talented and very resilient people and you can see that here. You can see artwork that will blow your mind away.”
She continued: “This is an industry that carries huge potential. Food and beverage is a large industry and it’s one that can propel the country forward. Tourism is built around it. The works of our hands have spoken for us. If you go to events these days, you will see cakes in all shapes and forms. It involves a lot of skills and training. In a cake there are borrowed skills from carpentry, engineering, because if I am going to put up a structure, it has to be firm on the inside. Apart from that there is art, there so many things that you draw from.”
The group’s Communication Director, Amanda Sam Wobo, said: “Today, the cake industry is celebrating the cake expo in Nigeria, which is 10 years old. Most people are going into the baking industry now and this is where people can learn new techniques, new things; know the ingredients to use for products because today we are actually having discounted classes. For a class that goes for N15, 000, participants pay N10,000. This is where cake makers will meet people because it’s a national thing; so, all the states are here.
“We pay N10,000 yearly as our national membership, then $75,000 for international membership; because every year between July and August, we go for the convention in the United States where ICES was founded. So, this is our own way of having our convention in Nigeria every October. But aside that, we also have our day of sharing where your membership fee gets you to attend the day free and by the day of sharing, we mean our members coming to teach for free. ‘We care and share with the ice’ – that is our slogan.”
Also, Susan Ogunbayode, ICES’ Country Representative, said: “We are adding to the Nigerian employment. We have over 6,000 members and by the time they all employ one person each, I think it helps out. At the convention, we teach how to bake and how to use their fingers, letting them know there is nothing like unemployment.”
Source: The Nation Online