May 13, 2008

Simply another one of life's hard lessons

I have this philosophy... with no evil; there is no good, with no hate there is no love. So you'll never know what it feels like to win if you never lose. Okay.. okay...I'll stop talking in circles! *giggle* Here's what happened..
With much enthusiasm, I entered an in-house NotterSchool competition. Naively participating with lots of passion; heaps of creativity but lack of sacrificed effort and time. In comparison to my diligent classmates; I turned up with little practice and lots of confidence. I guess getting shot down like that was a good way to teach me a couple things about taking on competition. It wasn't just about knowing how to bake and decorate cakes; I learnt much more that evening after a good hour or so of self reflection on my drive home.
We were given a white envelope 2 weeks ahead and our cakes were to be themed around the item we've drawn.. I picked this awkward little flower with a million colours on it.. .... .... 8 colours to be exact. I never take things literally; and maybe that's my problem.. I can't just plaster a thousand duplicates of this damn flower all over my cake!
... I'm stubborn and too abstract for my own good most of the time. That was what cost me my competitiveness. The judges felt my cake didn't represent the piece I had drawn as my inspiration. I had a story behind this design; but we weren't allowed to watch the judging and I guess the judges were stumped with where this magician theme on my cake came about. The flower reminded me lots about carnivals and magic shows...it spun; had confusing and mesmerizing colours and was topped with an attention seeking diamond in the center. The interior of the cake I had was a ginger cake layered with coconut buttercream. It had a tinge of lemongrass in between each layer to create and illusion of a 'vanilla' looking cake with a spicy flavour. Almost like a magician~... creating surprising illusions with secret ingredients.You know what my problem is... I thought too much about it... overthinking.. one of my many downfalls.
There were 4 winners; 2 in 3rd place, 2nd and 1st. I didn't even place. *sob* :P
Ahhh.. what's the use pouting~ I was happy for my friends who won; they put much thought into their cakes and every single one of them turned out awesome!
I'm glad I gave my first competition a go.. There sure will be many more to come; and I'm very much wiser, excited and enthusiastic about participating in another!
These were the winners;
1st-
2nd-
and a tie for 3rd place-

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Chin up, Su, you'll have many more competition go and you'll glow!!

- iola

Em said...

You enjoyed yourself... and you learned something in the process. What you created was beautiful in many ways - just not in the way the judges wanted. Life is more about the journey than the destination.

Have a delicious day :)

babe_kl said...

Su, your cake look fab! very unusual and creative. am waiting for you to come back to make me one ;-)

Anonymous said...

Yours is beautiful! Keep on keepin' on-

shoeboots said...

I like your cake because of the imagination! All the other cakes are three tiers, decorated with fondant and icing. Yours is asymetrical and intriguing. Also, they should have told you that the judging was so strict on what you drew- if you don't know, how can you place?

thanh7580 said...

Some amazing cakes there. Better luck next time. But like you said yourself, you learnt something. And you never ever learn anything without making mistakes.

Anonymous said...

Aww, I thought your cake was way more original and artistic, and I could see the inspiration from the flower with the colours and gems! Maybe the judges are just too literal.......you were the winner in my eyes!

Anonymous said...

I thought your cake was the most out of the box, very creative. Keep up the good work!

Fina said...

I think yours could have received...MOST CREATIVE! The other cakes, are cakes you can order for some wedding or baby shower and would be talked about for a day. YOURS!...I would never forget :)

nara said...

I seriously think your design is the best! Bursting of colors, so pretty. Was shocked to read on that it dint even make it to the top 3. Guess beauty is subjective. Maybe as Asians, we are more inclined to kawaii style :)

Anonymous said...

... i know where you are coming from. in oz, especially arts, architecture, building school we would HAVE to present the design or attach a write up to go with it. and it would have made so much sense and been very meaningful. i would have approached it the same as you, coming from a similar uni background. i guess its not always like that in other diciplines. thanks for the info,..... i learn from your experience! keep up the great blog. your cake is lovely and sounds wonderful inside. have been missing your cake designs since you went to this school. glad you had a chance to do this competition. keep blogging!
m

Private Chef said...

Hi There

I just stumbled upon your blog and think it is an excellent read for foodies and especially like the photos and design of the blog.I started off as a blogger myself and realise the importance of a good clean design like you have here. I have now bookmarked it for myself to read and have added you to our new list of "all the food blogs in the world" on www.ifoods.tv which we have been compiling for the last month! Hopefully it will send you some traffic in the long run. Looking forward to reading your thoughts on food so keep up the good work and talk soon. Cheers

Esther said...

I really liked your cake! It's interesting. Maybe a li'l too many elements, but overall, very eye-catching. I thought the 3rd placed ones were too plain and the first placed one, even tho v nice, looked bit safe.

Hope this doesn't offend anyone. Just my two cents.

aurélie said...

let me say that I prefer your cake, and I really mean it! yours is totally cute and - I guess - you put a lot of your personality in that cake! keep up the good work! i've been reading your blog and drooling over your pictures for months now!

Rebecca said...

I think your cake is amazing! Good luck on your next competition!

Erin said...

Wow. I used to read your blog all the time. Then final year work load rolled in and I hadn't had a chance to check for months. Like, since November. So what a shock to discover that you're now in Orlando pursuing your dreams! Well done, good luck, and I can understand that you feel disappointed with the competition, but just use this as an opportunity to keep growing!

JoHyeon said...

you'll always be #1 to me SuYin ^_^

Emily. T said...

Hey girl, cheer up! Most importantly you learned something much more valuable than just winning the competition...so, dun give up! Ganpade ne!^U^

Btw, your cake looks amazing! It's beautifully done! *double thumbs up!*

Anonymous said...

I don't feel there's anything wrong with 'overthinking' as such. Creativity is about imagining, after all.

But ultimately if you're applying the technical skills learnt at Notter's for business purposes, creativity and passion has to be cleverly channelled to delight the CUSTOMER.

It's all fine if one creates to please oneself. After all, you KNOW how the final creation meets your expections or reflect the multi-color, magical flower concept.

As a designer, I often get people coming with a picture or a greeting card and say, can you incorporate this theme into my dress, fabric? They definitely expect to see RECOGNISABLE elements of the central theme (eg flower or colour or texture) in the dress etc. They expect you to translate that onto the cake, dress, carpet, whatever.

'Translate' does not necessarily means plaster a thousand a replicas all over. Though I have seen that work well with some creative 'twists'. In fact the most challenging work I've done have been when clients give a very 'narrow' brief, you'd think they just want exact replicas and miniatures.

How one reinterpretes the motif given on a different medium, without merely reproducing the same thing many times, is the true test of skill. To delight the customer is to deliver something that is unexpected (creative) yet familiar in terms of displaying the much loved motif.

Delighting the customner is not only different from delighting self, it is much, much more difficult. And challenging.

-food for thought-

giz said...

Your opening comments said it all -you won't appreciate success until you get through failures. The second lesson is also - sometimes confidence is a facade and without focused hard effort there's little return.

kel @ sweet treats said...

I absolutely adore your cake Su! It's disappointing you couldn't submit a story to go along with it, as your cake is much more interesting and eye catching than the others.

Well done honey, I think you did an amazing job!

Anonymous said...

well, it's your style to make food in your own 'touch'.. you like to make a more 'cartoon' food, while the other 4 winners have more 'serious' type.well, this is my opinion..
All cakes, yours and the other 4 winners are all great, just don't give up, and you know what? a lil response from you to us your fans wouold be great
rgds-YooLee

jaxe said...

hi there,
i think ur cake is really creative. but i can see why yours cldn't match up with the rest. although your design is great, but details wise, i think the workmanship is not delicate enough. some of the 'silver' plates (sorry i dunno what they are called) at the base of the cake are slanted at different angles. for the rest, although the designs are simpler, they look much neater and presentable in terms of quality of workmanship. i'm not in the culinary field but the design field. just my 2 cents worth. work harder and may you win the next time!

Anonymous said...

I don't think you should feel put off by this experience and you should keep on embracing your approach to design. I feel that the 'winners' of the competition were very typical cakes. Beautiful, but typical. I believe that you can go much further with a much more loose and wonderful imagination. Keep up the good work!

Ida said...

Hey Su...lerr..patut lah you were bummed out...the 3rd placings tu..like biasa only...like so sempoi..whereas yours..was..FANTABULOUS...

But like you said lah..maybe you terkeluar topic...thats why..i think if your inspiration was a magic show instead of a flower...i bet you would have been 1st Place!!

Anyway.. can wait to see the next competition you enter..

Anonymous said...

i thought urs as the best and u shud have got 1st place the others are not creative enough... but saying that the theme was flowers.....and u didn't have that

Valentina Chua A.K.A Lady Valentuna said...

haha my art teacher is always asking me to think more!!
and over-thinking is bad?
Your cake looked the best out of all the winners.
And I'm not just saying this cos I'm a fan of your website but it truly is?!
I like how you always make your cakes look so happy.
You have no idea how much it brightens someone just by looking at it.
You're a wonderful person. =)

tixiu said...

Great Cake !
competition is a part of learning , it 's no matter what if you win or not , you learn a great deal from it , keep up your work !

I enjoy reading your writting a lot and luve it !

Su-Yin -Décorateur said...

Hi guys~
First and foremost...Thank you! for the good, the bad the ugly. Haha..truly appreciate everyone's 2 cents worth. But of course; your valuable opinions are definitely all worth more than just 2 cents! haha they have been very helpful for me as I made more attempts to re-think what I've done. Thanks also for the incredibly encouraging remarks and the food for thought ;). It truly helps me improve..and believe it or not; my style and designs constantly evolve from the reactions I receive from everyone. I never forget how it's never just about what 'I' like.. it has to appeal to everyone else just the same.
I'm definitely not put down by this experience... I'm much more motivated and very much prepared to take on another.
Yoolee; sorry if it seemed like I wasn't responding to my readers.. I generally wait a day or two after the comments have died down to be able to have a response for everyone. I still receive comments and questions for year old posts and it's really hard to keep up with answering each one individualy. I even have problems locating old posts at times! haha.
Hope it's alright that I wait a couple of days :) I really appreciate comments from everyone..and I'm always here! I read my emails and answer them when I can; don't feel ignored guys! I'm here!! Hehe

Anonymous said...

Your cake is absolutely brilliant - very creative and colorful.. and lot of details too.. I loved the confetti magician!.
I definitely believe you should have made into the top 3 :(...

D said...

besides creativity , one also needs to be humble and willing to learn, and nv think too great about themselves. overconfidence can lead to one's downfall, and its good that you know that.
you also need to give credit to people whom you get ideas from . for.e.g, the face cupcakes that you came up with, i actually saw it in a cupcake forum in australia way b4 you did yours, and you just claim that you invented it.

Su-Yin -Décorateur said...

Hi D; i'm sorry if i come off to you as arrogant, I never intend for it to seem so; pretty insecure about myself most of the time to be honest.
The b-boy cupcakes were done a long time ago; and i never intended it to be proclaimed as 'mine', what's published on my blog is just inspiration I would like to share with everyone. If there were some done awhile ago; i would really love to see it! Do you have the link to the forum?

Shanni said...

I love yours the best, it was soo colorful and made me think of childhood memories

Anonymous said...

what a shame that you did not win the top 3 position....

Anonymous said...

hi su yin,
thanks for the reply, and I'm sorry for being such a bad person before..
you're talented, I love your creations, and you are much more skillful when u're in fl...keep up your great job, and open a shop soon...:)
rgds-YooLee

Anonymous said...

Hi, big hugs, I know it's hard to put all that work into your piece, and by the way...it's way above all the others in execution, but you were right about what the judges said.

I too have entered competitions and have judged competions, a suggestion that would've "tied" your cake to the theme was to use that little flower someplace on the cake...maybe on a hat band that you would've placed on the hat? maybe even have made the hatband in that stripe?

Cheer up, that little flower is a very "mod" and a new fad...I bet if you rethink a design you too could've had a floral cake with those nice modern and geometric flowers.

Take care! and never forget that everything you learn will make you better in the long run.

RisqueCakes

CarolAnn said...

I like yours better - it's not boring.

Wiz said...

Su, I am quite perplexed to why you didn't clinch a place. The winners' cakes were normal looking cakes, the type which you've seen one and you've seen them all type. Maybe that was what there were looking for in the first place. You would win hands down if you were to enter "out of this world" category cake, trust me. Love the magician hat and the bunny, everything ties in beautifully.