Hi Everyone!! My name is Christine and I am the founder and owner of ~ Cakes By Christine NY ~ I was graciously asked by KokoLiving to write blogs so that everyone can get to know me and my cake business a little better.
A little about me: Obviously, I am a cake decorator/designer and a
pastry chef. I've worked in just about every aspect of the business -
restaurants, bakeries, cafe's - you name it, I've done it. I’ve worked
in hole-in-the wall café’s to Michelin star restaurants in Manhattan –
specifically Gordon Ramsey’s at The London. Ironically, cake decorating
isn't something I planned on. If someone told me ten years ago that
THIS is what I’d be doing right now, I think I would’ve laughed… REALLY
I graduated from the Manhattan School of Music with a degree in music
performance and I’ve been playing the violin since I was 7. I come from
a musical background – both my parents are opera singers and both
received a graduates degree from the Juilliard School. My dad graduated
from Seoul University at the top of his class with a degree in voice
and is now a music professor at Kyungwon University in Korea. My mother
graduated from Ewha Woman’s University – also with a degree in voice at
the top of HER class. SO, needless to say, they were both very
heartbroken when I decided not to continue teaching violin to little
children… From there, I bounced around– wondering what I should do with
my life. I dabbled with a couple of different jobs – I even got went
back to school and got accepted to the University of Bridgeport for the
chiropractic program. But… like many others, I was lost. I just wanted
a job where I’d be happy – and not do it for the money, you know?..
My husband is a baker – and no, that is not how we met. He’s been
baking since he was 13 and back in 2007, he decided to open up his own
bakery. I decided to help him – I enrolled in the French Culinary
Institute and in 2008 graduated with lots of knowledge and the love of
Things were rough. While I was attending FCI full time, I worked at my
corporate job full time as well. The bakery was in its first year so it
wasn’t making any money. We had our wedding coming up and a new apt
with no money… so I got ANOTHER full time job at a restaurant as a
pastry cook. I got paid next to nothing, but it was still a paycheck
and it paid the rent and put food on our table. My day started at 5AM
and I didn’t get back home until 1AM. I worked 7 days a week between
opening up the bakery, working my corporate job (switching the hours
from 9-5 to 8-4) and then running over to my restaurant job from 4:30
to midnight. And then my day started all over again when I woke up 4
hours later… I was tired and got sick often.
Long story short, the bakery didn’t work out. We sadly sold it but my
cake orders kept coming in. I was tired of working 20+ hour days so I
quit the restaurant job and concentrated on my cake decorating.
I wanted to sharpen my skills in decorating so I got my portfolio
together and applied to a couple of internships with well known cake
decorators - but they all turned me down! They all seemed so skeptical
and suspicious of me... First they asked: Why I wanted to intern - and
then went on to say that there was nothing for me to learn and that I
wouldn't get anything out of it... what the hell? There's always
something to learn. I tried a couple of other places - and got turned
down from there too so I decided to go off on my own and started my own
I officially started my own cake business in May 2008 and it’s been
almost one year. Thankfully, customers love my work and I’ve been
getting such great feedback from everyone. I’ve also been getting
offers for sponsorship/investments – to open up a storefront for my
business. And as thankful as I am, I’ve turned down many offers – for
the sole reason that I want to stay and continue to be Cakes BY Christine.
Not Cakes by Christine and workers. I want every cake to be made and
touched only by me. So that it’s no one else’s fault than my own if a
cake isn’t next to perfect. I never want to be a mass produced bakery,
where I hire 10 people to do the work and I just slap my name on the
box. I put love and my undivided attention to each and every cake. I
make it like it’s for my own party and before I wrap it up to deliver,
I ALWAYS ask myself… “Do you love it? Are you proud of it? If YOU were
the customer, would this cake make your jaw drop?” And the answer
ALWAYS ALWAYS has to be YES. And not only that, but it MUST taste good
too. How many times have you gone to a party where a cake looks
BEAUTIFUL and you take a bite into the cake and it’s just SO
disappointing? DRY and GROSS? I never want to be that cake decorator. I
have a motto “Cakes should taste just as great as they look.” And not
to toot my own horn but they do!
I also thought I should add one more thing. I DO have a cardinal rule.
I only make enough cakes per week where my quality won’t be any less
than perfect. That means if I have a certain number of cakes booked for
that week, I will have to (unfortunately) turn down other cake orders.
And it doesn’t matter to me if that means turning away another $1,000
worth of orders. Quality over quantity, right?
With that said – I will start posting blogs of my work! Hope everyone has some time to read them!