Early life and moving
My name is Natalia. I was born in Kazakhstan, in the city of Almaty in a family of 10 children. When I was ten years old, my parents moved to Ukraine. I was still in school, when my older sister began her confectioner training and practiced her skill at a local confectionary factory. I really enjoyed watching her bake something sweet for the family. I remember climbing up the chair to help her and be next to her. I baked my first cake when I was 15 years old. I remember my family raving about how delicious it was, but I did not give it much thought, because at the time, I simply wanted to do something pleasant for my loved ones. Back in the day, there was no YouTube channel or online library where you could watch and learn something by yourself. We also didn’t have the luxury of having enough products and ingredients to be able to experiment with.
After finishing school, I entered the lyceum to learn to be a tailor. Even when I was in school for tailoring, I was already thinking about going to study to be a baker or pastry maker.
Life took its course, and I got married at the age of 17 before I was able to finish my studies. My husband was from Russia so I moved to live with him there. After I got married, I wasn’t baking as much because my husband was more into meat dishes than cakes, but after a couple years, he finally asked me: why don’t you bake? So I started to bake the most ordinary, simple soviet cakes, pies and rolls. Mainly, it was during the weekends so that my family had something sweet to eat. Sometimes it was for guests that came to visit us for tea. Eventually, we came to the United States. At that time I already had three children. This was the time where the most interesting thing started to happen.
Everything was new to me in a new country, and I barely knew the language and was basically a stay at home mom. My sister suggested a fun idea to me: creating figurines out of mastic with my kids for entertainment. Mastic is edible, so you can eat them after, or decorate cakes. I took her advice and got carried away with this activity with my kids.
One year for my son’s birthday I decided to google various cakes to see if I could make something special for him. My first cake looked funny, covered with mastic and definitely wasn’t as professional as my cakes are now. (I will show you a picture of the cake later). Everything has a beginning. It took me a while to get my cakes to be as delicious as I wanted them to be also because I needed to get used to the ingredients that differed quite a bit from the ones I was used to back in Russia.
I continued to bake for my kids’ birthday’s, and close friends without really thinking of taking my baking to a professional level just yet.
The birth of my dream
For a long time, I continued to bake for my family and friends, and once in a while was asked to help with baking something sweet for weddings and big events. I willingly took all the work for free. The ingredients were brought to me and I baked large quantities of goodies. When I had time and wanted to try something new, I always went to YouTube and watched videos of unique and different desserts.
Once, I decided to try and bake something new for an upcoming church holiday. I wanted to try something other than the regular sweets I had been baking. This is how I came across the macaroons. This was a new thing for me and it was very hard to make the first time. My first filling was strawberry ganache which I created on my own, it was very sweet of course. At that time I didn’t know enough about ganache with stabilized sweetness, but I continued to watch YouTube videos to see varieties of fillings and other ways of making this dessert. As the popularity of this dessert began to grow, I became interested in making my macaroons as ideal as possible. I now understand, that the videos I saw were made by simple lovers of baking, just like me and accordingly, they made many mistakes, which is why I couldn’t achieve great results right away.
Indisputably, I can say that there are three YouTube channels that I like to watch and don’t pay attention to their once-in-a-while mistakes in certain technological sequences of baking. The recipes are very affordable and simple, allowing to make really delicious pastries.
I was also really into designing of various cakes, and I found interesting blogs of people who were confectioners, sharing their information, so I read and studied. The information I was learning was still not enough and all the way clear as to how and why. But I continued to learn as the topic of baking was very interesting to me. I started buying various books on baking and began to read different approaches and different views of people on different recipes. All this time, I lived as a regular mom regular mom, cooked lunch and dinner, took walks with my kids and didn’t do much else.
One morning, when I went to shower, my youngest daughter took my phone and looked for a game to play. I try and educate and develop my kids through other interesting ways, so I didn’t have any games on my phone. She went on the Facebook page from my phone and through Facebook ended up downloading Instagram, thinking it was some sort of game. When I got out of the shower, I already had five subscribers, all of whom knew me and thought I opened a page. I stood there for a minute, thinking, why do I need Instagram, its probably another waste of time, but because I had a few followers I decided to give it a try. Later, I started following pages with beautiful desserts.
Taking it to the next level!
A great desire to learn something new, and to repeat something like this in my kitchen was very motivating and moving. What played a big role in my life is that I found a pastry school located in Krasnodar, only 100 km from where I used to live, and where my sister still lives! From this point, there was no turning back. I clearly decided for myself that I am going to train at this school.
I began to look for different jobs, so that I could somehow raise money for the trip and training. I was a babysitter, house cleaner, and so as not to lose time, I continued to read and study the available information on baking.
I practiced making new desserts in the kitchen, usually at night, as I had to work during the day, and make time for my children. What gave me strength was the anticipation of the trip and the fact that I get to to study at an amazing pastry school. The year was incredibly difficult for me, but it few by quickly, and soon enough, I was sitting on the plane, realizing that in 24 hours I will be at my dream school. Back then it seemed to me that I was in a dream, because I can’t even describe the huge state of happiness I was in! Every day, I felt like I was flying. I asked tons of questions and learned.
After that I decided that I want to continue baking delicious desserts and be able to sell them. The next thought was that I needed a personal website. As my knowledge grew, so did the demands for myself, and my dreams were already becoming realistic goals that were being realized step by step.
Now I know for sure what I want exactly, and clearly see my business idea, all that’s left is to continue implementing my knowledge and take actions step by step. I now understand how many wonderful people surround me, who support me and continue to support, who believed and continue to believe in me like I sometimes can’t even believe in myself. When I look back on the amount of work that I have done, I sometimes can’t believe that was me!
After all, studying the theory of desserts and cakes is a lot of work! I had to learn the right way of describing a product, correctly photographing it, and correctly presenting it. Now, seeing the results of my efforts, I forget about how hard it was at times, and how certain people tried to break me. I am just happy, because all of this made me stronger. This is only the beginning, it will only be more interesting in the future. Thank you very much to all of you who are with me!