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Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt May 31, 2015
Michelle Sohan, previously described by WOW as 'Our
Very Own Trini Cake Boss' (June 8, 2014) has done it
again, thrilling international cakesters with her unique
Mehndi and Indian-inspired designs. Mehndi is the art or
practice of applying henna on the body. This art has been
practiced for over 5000 years in Pakistan, India, Africa and
the Middle East. "Mehndi is my passion," said Sohan, who
recently excelled at the South Florida Cake and Candy
Expo in Miami, Florida.
While the show saw many cake experts, Trinidad's
Michelle Sohan was able to grab the first place in her di-
vision -- the Experts Division. In January she submitted a
design of the cake she wanted to do and it was approved.
"I wanted to use something that would give Trinidad an
identity and that would make us stand out, and I thought
an Indian-inspired cake would be perfect," Sohan related.
When she made her design come to life at the competi-
tion, Sohan's cake left many in awe. But this was not the
first time the owner of Bakery Treatz in Chaguanas was
recognised internationally. In 2014, Sohan appeared on a
cake challenge sponsored by the Food Network and tied
for first place.
Who exactly is Sohan, though, and when did she discover
her great talent? The cake designer previously worked as
Operations Manager at The Original Dairy Bar, and as
Quality Assurance Technician at Sunshine Snacks. "Un-
fortunately, or as I actually say, 'fortunately', I had an ac-
cident," she related. Sohan was at the time doing her
Masters in Food Technology at UWI. "A series of events
ultimately led me to discover what my true passion was:
baking and decorating cakes, and after catering from
home for two years, I opened Bakery Treatz in 2003."
Winning the South Florida Cake and Candy Expo was no
easy task for the young woman, whose motto is 'Fresh
beginnings, sweet endings'. In addition to doing a cake out
of her comfort zone in a foreign land, Sohan explained, "I
got no sleep for the show. A fellow cake friend allowed
me to use her studio in Florida. There, I worked for 37
hours." Sohan hand-moulded small, white elephants
which she then hand-painted in gold. The perfectionist
also did the Mehndi designs, which were hand-piped and
then hand-painted. "It took hours, but it was really worth
it. Thank God for Panera Bread and their chicken noodle
soup and sandwiches, which kept me alive," Sohan
On the morning of the show, Sohan had to go to the
venue by herself and set up her cake for display. All con-
testants were given numbers to maintain anonymity. The
long-awaited moment met Sohan feeling like she was
drugged due to sleep deprivation. She listened as the win-
ner's number was announced. "I heard the number, I knew
it was familiar, but I just didn't realise it was my number.
Everyone then shouted to me, 'That's you!' and that is
when it hit me that I won."
Aside from being in shock, how did it feel? "People con-
gratulated me and wanted my autograph. It was so in-
credible to be in a different country and to get that type
of recognition and appreciation for my work."
Last year she signed a contract with Satin Ice after the
company followed her work on the Internet, and her
cakes were featured in Cake Central Magazine. Attending
the show was the owner of Satin Ice, Kevin Reilly. Sohan
has been named Satin Ice's 'Artist of Excellence' and is
the only person in the Caribbean to have gained this pres-
tigious title. In addition, a magazine featuring the world's
most beautiful wedding cakes will soon be coming out of
the USA. "They will feature two of my original designs
done last year," she said. The brides she did the cakes for
are really excited that their wedding cakes will be fea-
While gaining titles, she has not forsaken her business.
She is hoping to expand Bakery Treatz and get into fran-
chising. She added, "My staff at Bakery Treatz are incred-
ible. I want to thank them, my sisters and my fiancé as
well for helping me."
She is also continuously upgrading her skills. In January,
Sohan obtained her Cake Master Diploma in Cake Deco-
rating from Knightsbridge Cake School, and she taught a
class in Virginia. In addition to teaching as a way of im-
parting knowledge and giving back to society, Sohan has
started working with 'Yipee,' bringing in persons with
autism to work in her bakery. This will help to encourage
development of their skills and social interaction. "While
our facilities are small," she pointed out, "we do hope that
in the future we can do a lot more."
Michelle Sohan continues to work her way to the top, and
is looking forward to not only taking her cakes interna-
tionally, but making Trinidad and Tobago known as a
place that promotes excellence and quality. We are cer-
tain to see more of Michelle Sohan's cakes and unique
designs throughout the country and now, throughout the
world. Here's to Michelle and here's to the sweet life!
By Bavina Sookdeo Photography by Lem Joseph Make Up by Dianne John
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