Cakes are surely one of man’s greatest inventions; they can be chocolatey, creamy, carroty, fruity, wheaty, crusty, crumbly, spongy…frankly a cake can be anything you want it to be. They are the centrepiece of most African celebration/gatherings and he has made a name-and a living-by crafting some of the most deliciously, outstanding cakes in Africa. His name is Tosan Jemide and he is the Founder of the Cakes by Tosan Group; a group comprising of Cakes by Tosan (A Luxury brand for Sugar Craft Master Pieces), Celebrations by Tosan (A Commercial Cake outfit), Topcrust Bakery (A Commercial Bread Bakery), and Cupcakes by Tosan.
The graduate of Sociology from the University of Ibadan grew up in the famed Warri in Delta State, Nigeria, where his first cake lessons occurred in his late mother’s kitchen. His aptitude was tested when he was commandeered to prepare his elder brother’s wedding cake in far-away 1983. We assume that it was not a total miss, as Tosan decided to delve into full-time baking upon his graduation from the University of Ibadan. In his words, “It occurred to me that I could dare to be unique and different. So, I decided to delve into cake-making which was at the time an “awkward” trade for a man.”
Realising his need for further expertise in his chosen field, Tosan set out to the United Kingdom where he attended training courses and worked for some of the biggest cake shops including Gloriette in Knightsbridge for over four years. When as the Bible says, “He had been tried and come out as gold,” he made the decision to return to Nigeria and establish Cakes by Tosan in 2001; 13 years down the line he is bigger, better, and continues to be a pacesetter.
Some of the guiding principles for the continued growth and diversity of his enterprise is the willingness to learn from mistakes, the commitment to building an Institution and, most importantly, re-inventing.
On the heels of a re-engineering drive for his company, Tosan embarked on the very ambitious project of building the tallest cake in Africa in May 2013. The cake which was estimated at 28ft was on display at the Silverbird Galleria from the16th to the 20th of May, 2013. Tosan was inspired by “the love for arts and crafts, my passion for Nigeria, my desire to blaze the trail, thinking not only outside the box but without the box and my understanding of the focus on Africa…as we advance towards the emergence of African economies, it is imperative for businesses within the region to invent means by which they can strategically position in the scheme of affairs.” As divulged in a pre-event interview with Bella Naija.
All the proceeds from the event will be used to renovate the facilities and boost the quality of learning and skill acquisition at the home economics laboratory of Eko Akete Senior Grammar school, Lagos Island.
Tosan also works with the FATE Foundation, LEAP Africa and other stakeholders in undertaking corporate social responsibility initiatives such as facilitating training sessions for young bakers-in-the-making.
Moral of the story: Dare to Deviate!!!