Monday, December 2, 2013

Being Miso.

I was trying to catch my breath.

I had raced across the Dallas/Forth Worth Airport to catch my connecting flight to Madrid, Spain with only 20 minutes to spare because the flight I was on taxied for 15 minutes and people were taking a painstakingly long time getting off the aircraft. A million thoughts crossed my mind. 

Beep, beep! Please walk faster!
Why in the world is this airport so huge? 
I really want donut holes.
What if I miss this flight? 
It's really cold here in Texas.
Hm, is it going to be cold in Spain?
How do I layer clothes? I was born and raise in Southern California. We don't layer here.
Seriously, why is this airport so huge? WHY?

I finally made it. I buckled my seat belt and then it all suddenly felt so real, that I was on my way to Spain to teach. My eyes grew wide as we took off. Ready or not, it was happening, and there was no turning back. Gulp. 

It had been well over a year since Elisa of Sweet Kala Talleres contacted me asking if I was interested in coming to Vigo, Spain, as well as Dulces Ilusiones in Madrid (Valdemoro), to teach.  Since September 2012 we have sent each other many, many emails regarding cake designs, syllabus, buttercream, ganache, etc. After a long 14 months, I was finally sitting on the plane headed to Spain with wobbly knees and butterflies in my stomach. I was hoping and praying all would go well.

Aside from teaching, one of my biggest fears was how Miso would be received. I am an introvert, very private and for the most part, quiet. To this day, I get embarrassed when people talk about my cakes. Not to mention, since the beginning of Miso Bakes, I firmly believed, and still do somewhat believe, art (cakes in this instance), should speak for itself. I wanted my cakes to have all the spotlight and be the face of my brand, not me. Why did it matter who created it? Therefore, I hid behind a veil called Miso and was strict about keeping my real identity on the down low. If Beyonce could have an alter ego named Sasha Fierce, then I could have an alter ego named Miso. Honestly, I had hidden myself so well behind this veil and this branding technique, that I was scared to face my fellow cake designers; to have me completely exposed and put on a pedestal. During the 8 days of teaching, all eyes were going to be on me. Oh. my. gosh.

I survived. I probably have some photos of me floating around on the internet where my eyes are shut, mouth half open, and nostrils flared, but I survived. Yes, I did! Towards the end of my teaching journey, I realized, it was something I had to get used to. With more blogs and publications asking for my professional profile picture (I have zero) along with a biography, I had to break out of my shell. Aside from my fear, on the flipside, it was an honor that people wanted to know more about the designer behind the cakes. They wanted to know more about Miso, and it was something I never imagined.

I never knew a day would come where I would stand in front of my fellow cake peers and teach my designs and share my knowledge. During these years, there were countless moments where I doubted my career choice and decisions. I was turned down features or collaborations because I was not good enough or known enough. Funny thing is, sometimes, I was approached by the vendor, blog, or magazine first only to be told later that they have found someone else to feature or work with, or to never hear from them again!

The 'Likes' on my Facebook account were escalating but my hesitance and doubts could not be hushed. I didn't think I was creative enough. I didn't think I was talented enough. I was growing tired of people using my cake designs without crediting me or asking me for permission. I was tired of the assumptions that I would bring cake to the birthday parties I was attending. Please, I would like to enjoy an evening out without working, but most nights, I was appointed to cut cake and serve everyone. Or, if I did not bring a cake, I was tired of hearing those smartypants comments like, "We have a baker here and we're eating store bought cake?" Um, do I know you? I was tired of family and acquaintances emailing me out of the blue asking to do them a favor and create them a cake. Did they not realize this was a career and not a hobby? So, you're saying you want what other designers will charge $300 for free? Rude.

But with time, I have learned to laugh it off, roll my eyes, snort, yell at my computer screen, and say no. And if you're dealing with this right now, I must share that going through all this is like a rite-of-passage. It's a growing process in this industry and the creative industry in general. Ultimately, you get annoyed enough times that you form a callous and said instances no longer make your eyebrows twitch, ears burn, or steam come off the top of your head. You start to put a firm foot down, and once you do, the craft becomes far more enjoyable.

I squeezed out a tiny "Hola" on the first day of class, which was received with giggles. I cleared my throat a few times and gripped tightly onto my class outline. I smiled nervously as I made eye contact with everyone surrounding my work station. I was welcomed with so much warmth and kindness. I began to ease up and loosened my grip. I could do this. I had trained a handful of pastry cooks in the past. This was more or less going to be like that.

Throughout my classes and my journey, I was told several times that I was not expected to be so young. Upon hearing this for the first time, I was a bit scared because I thought my age would hinder some of my students from trusting me and allowing me to teach them a thing or two. However, when I shared my thoughts with one of the hosts, she looked and me and smiled. "One of the students said this was one of the most informative class she has taken" she said. I don't think I have ever felt such sense of satisfaction before.

For the first time in a long while, I told myself that I must be doing something right. 


  1. Hooray! I am glad it went well - and I am certainly glad you survived the "right of passage" and are still around, sharing your cakes and ideas. I love your cakes and your style, and being young only makes it that much more impressive. I hope you continue to become comfortable with it and things continue to go well :)

  2. Hi Miso!! I'm Lidia, from Valdemoro's classes :D.
    I'm glad that you finally came to Spain :D, you're an amazing teacher, indeed you are. I learned a lot of things, and had such a great time that weekend. You're creative and talented, don't think that you're not, and most of all, you have a huge respect for what you do, and that is something I could not find in each teacher I've ever had.
    Thanks for sharing a little part of yourself, I hope to see you soon in another class.
    Have a wonderful Christmas time!!
    (Pd: sorry if I write something wrong, my English is a little bit rusty :p)