Custom Cake by Chef Bam

Bro Bo Sanchez, a Catholic Evangelist, has a very succinct advice on how to determine our respective ‘core gifts’ from God. He said that the ‘core gift’ is that intersection between passion and potential. He mentioned that someone might have the passion for singing but if his audience does not appreciate the way he sings then what he has is passion sans the potential. On the other hand, someone may have the passion to write and people appreciate the way he did his writings then that is passion with potential. The ‘core gift’ or the so-called intersection is where people pay to read or possess the written articles. It is the sweet spot.

The situation of Ms. Anna Karenina Piencenaves is a bit different though from a stranger’s standpoint. Before becoming the renowned Chef Bam, she used to be the country manager of a multi-national company. Her academic competencies had prepared her for that position being a BS Economics graduate from the University of the Philippines. It is assumed that she must be receiving a more reasonable pay by virtue of the position and her employer being a multi-national company. Normally, it could be said that she was in the intersection between competence and potential.

Things were not meant that way. She loves baking. She chose her passion and preferred to be in the ‘sweet spot’ (pun intended) rather than to be in the mere intersection. On 2008, she started her passion for baking through a hobby shop cum online store. She specialized in custom cakes. Her schedules then were hectic being a corporate person and one-woman bakeshop. As a corporate being, she is cognizant of the necessity for peripheral supports. On 2012, she started a forum to assist and act as an immediate ‘consultancy clinic’ for fellow bakers. She named this Facebook Page as Bake Happy Manila. She became known then as the now famous Chef Bam.

Chef Bam was juggling her schedules as a corporate being and as the passionate custom cake baker. Thus, in 2014 her husband asked her to select between the corporate career and the baking passion and committed his total support for whatever her choice would be. Her husband likewise advised her that if she intends to follow her passion she must put up a bakeshop where people can come.

Chef Bam gave in to her passion, left her multi-national company job, and opened the Custom Cake by Bam at #1012, Aurora Blvd., Proj. 4, Quezon City. The Custom Cake by Bam is more of a ‘mom and pop store’ type. Cozy and the space is enough to feel the human warmth and proffered friendship. Chef Bam shared that the good custom cake must reflect the emotions of the occasion and of the celebrant. Its picture must likewise evoke the mood of the occasion. She personally interacts with the one ordering the custom cake to get the feel and capture the emotions that the customer wishes for the cake. The simple measure is that having a good cake is not enough, it must look good too in the photos. Second, Chef Bam specializes on butter cream piping. Custom cake bakers agree that it is one of the hardest to do. Her final measure is that all parts of the cake must be edible. It must definitely be having a cake and eating it too.

We asked Chef Bam if she has any misgiving that she gave up her niche from the corporate world and pursued her hobby that turned into passion. She said none. Relatively, the price of her custom cake is normally into five-digit figures and the average order she has for a week is around five cakes. In a jest, we asked her if she would want to go back to her old corporate position if we triple her previous salary. The answer was a definite no.

Indeed, a hobby that turns into passion became the ‘core gift’ in the sweet spot.

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