July 24, 2008

The 2008 ICES Convention; (Disney) Orlando, Florida

It's not easy to begin writing about something I have mixed feelings about.
Do I sugarcoat this? or do I just tell it like it is?
It is generally my first instinct to tell it like it is; but I do realize little things being said on the Internet in our delicate virtual society may cause a domino effect of unnecessary frowning and drama. So what's a girl to do?Was I happy at the convention? YES
Was I happy with the convention? ...er...
Was there alot to learn? ...only if you pay extra.
Did I learn anything from my 4 days? YES
Did I feel comfortable as a first timer at the ICES? ...not exactly
Were people nice? ...YES; most of them.
Were there rude and selfish cake freaks? Yes... *shudder* many of them few seemed to be picking on me. By the 2nd day; I was convinced I was a freak magnet! *tsk tsk*

Without Mercedes holding on to me with her warm and comforting arms, I would have probably felt lost as ever. I didn't know what to expect at all. Days before; I've had numerous cake enthusiasts reconfirming the fun they knew I would be having during the convention. The hype and expectations began to build up as I prepared a small piece to participate in the cake gallery.
The closing date for early registration and contributions were extremely tight considering my last minute decision to change my flight plans for the ICES. I rushed through the application process as prompt as I could; that got me into a fair bit of a mess with registration; fees and miscommunication with the ICES committee. Safe to say; everyone was clambering just like I was as the convention drew close. I couldn't expect much attention from them. Post ICES; I still have not heard back regarding refunds or any hint of the sort. *ahh... sigh* I'm not exactly a petty person; but it really sucks when you don't receive what you've been promised. So here I am in Malaysia now...and I guess the matter should be forgotten.
I ducked in and out of the NotterSchool to make use Chef Ewalds facilities for sugar work and airbrushing. He was really nice to provide me with a space for a couple of days to create something worthy of the convention gallery. I thought Isomalt would be something good to incorporate as it was something very different to what others will be creating with buttercream and fondant. Lots of leaves and petals broke during my 20 minute drive to downtown disney; but nothing a little glue stick couldn't fix. Thank god for the Connie and her Cake Hospital at the convention!So...what gives? Why an indian girl? Well... it began with Candy encouraging me to do fabric, indian themed fabric...and then came the idea of the girl; and then the lotus floral theme; which happen to be the national flower of India! Everything kinda fell into place. It didn't make much sense to others when I began to describe what I intended to do; I'm Chinese...and Malaysian...and have very little to do with India and it's culture. *laughs* I probably have enough Indian friends to reconfirm my artistic interpretations of their patterns and designs.
I called her my "Rani Hindustani" - which translates as Indian Princess in Hindi; thanks to Amrit and Dave for the language help.
2 days pre-convention; Mercedes had Bake Me a Cake at a halt for preparations for her demonstrations and contribution piece. She was ready to have some fun! The cake wasn't for a customer or a bride; it was going to be anything she wanted it to be. Lucky lil Su got to be part of her whole creative process.
Needless to say; it was one of Su's favourite moments in cake history! Her elegant sculpture of dazzling lustered ivory stood tall amongst the rest. It was breathtaking to gaze at its shimmer and sparkle from a distance.
There were 300 over participants in the cake display; and 650 pieces submitted in total. I can't say I loved every single one of them; but here are a couple of names which caught my attention. I would love to put up all 600 photos; but I'm sure it would take me a week to upload them on to blogger.com. However there were definitely several outstanding cakes I would like to share with everyone.

Does this look familiar? *giggle*
Other than the cake gallery; $5 demonstrations were held by seasoned ICES professionals. I took almost 8 of them; throughout the span of 3 days. Some were incredibly informative and interesting; and I sat through one which was painful to watch. Most of them were mediocre I suppose; they were tyring to sell their products more than teach the audience something new! I understand its about making money and introducing your new products; but these people are here to learn and better themselves with new skill; not buy your tool for $4.95. *shrug* I must admit I was falling asleep through some of them... packing till wee hours in the night and convention times at 8 in the morning really made it awful.
Here were some of my favourite demonstrators.
Rosalind Chan (our very own Malaysian decorator)-east meets west flowers, Alex Tan (also a Malaysian cake icing veteran), Susan Carberry -3D cookies and Mercedes's - Under the Sea with no cutters or molds; Unfortunately for me; more renown instructors with sought after demo techniques sold out lots quicker than the rest. Ah well....can't blame anyone for my slack.
The ICES did bring in a couple of lovely surprises for Su. I was fortunate to meet the lovely Maddy from Washington DC (wish I remembered to take a photograph with her now), I was reunited with Dimity from Sydney (Iced affair at camperdown...*sigh* good ol decorating days in Australia), friendly little Mikkel from Florida and Ayes Yaman from florida who I had met from Collete Peters class at the Notter School.Many famous Food Network television faces were present at the convention as well; Kerry Vincent, Nicholas Lodge, Bronwen Weber, Norman Davis, Amazing Mike and not forgetting my dearest chef James Rosselle. *sigh* I miss being at the NotterSchool so much.
Ahh...all in all; the shopping was great; lots of vendors, big damage done to my savings...and all worth while; I'm glad I had a last go at carrying all cake decorating equipment and colours back to Malaysia. Saves heaps on shipping costs and reordering in the future. My aching back would disagree with the genius-ness of the idea though! *laughs* The thought was excellent; the actual physical labour was more intense than I could handle.
I enjoyed myself at the ICES this time; but I can't say I would return for seconds... and definitely wouldn't care to volunteer at the next. I felt a tad bullied and belittled to be honest.

More cakes this weekend folks; I've been testing out recipes and recruiting members for my business venture. What is it?
Well.... *snicker* you'll have to keep posted next week for the scoop on Su's exciting new adventures!

*sorry about the late posts guys... Internet speed back in Malaysia really cant compare. *Sigh* It's been a long 3 days trying to get heaps of these pictures up on blogger.


Hany said...

Hi Su!! Thanks for posting this.. I know how bad Internet connection can be in asia... he he he I'm from Indonesia, so whenever I go back to visit my parents I always have to bear the painful Internet connection ^_^.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed it a lot but I felt the same way you did..some classes a learned something but there were others that it was only advertisement about their booth and products. I took the class Baby Block and it was nothing about how to build a baby block cake so I left and went shopping. it was a nice experience but there were a lot of women having a high dose of sugar in their system because they were rude and did not care about anybody only themselves and to get in the any class no matter what. It did not matter to them if they have to run you over….after all I had so much fun….Jovanna

Anonymous said...

Su, congratulations to you completing the course and you really have the talent in cake decorating etc. I've been following your blog for a while now and really envy you for your perseverance to go after your heart/interest! Good job and congratulations on your new business venture. I am sure it will be a big success! Hope you bring your talent to Singapore one of these days too. YOU GO GIRL!

Anonymous said...

Hi Suyin! It is always refreshing to see your latest blog post! You are a super blogger, keep up the great work! Wishing you great business success and with your talents, the dream might be closer than you think it is!

Anonymous said...

su's business venture?! are you opening a shop in Ipoh? cos I'm from Ipoh! and it would be LOVELY if you're going to have one in ipoh!!!

Anonymous said...

Su-love your blog. I am new to cake decorating. Your website is informative.

Jamie from Southern California.

Anonymous said...

I attended the convention and felt I was bullied too. Otherwise the ICES demos was informative and had great presenters.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the honest review. I am thinking of attending the convention, but have no idea what to expect since I won't know a soul there.

Anonymous said...

hi! are going to attend the ices convention this year in san diego??? it would be my first time...and i hope we could meet there..i'm a filipino and we're both from asia.....my name is miles. if you are going to attend, please let me know. i do look forward to meet you.

miles acoba