1. Tell us a little about yourself, family, where do you live and what did you do for a living before making cakes if anything?
I am 34 years old in March I’ll be 35, and personally I am absolutely free. I am from Bulgaria, from the Black Sea city of Burgas. There I graduated from high school with a specialty in baking and confectionary, decorating and clean technology, how it’s done … Then graduated from the University of Food Technologies in Plovdiv, in the same specialty, where I took a master’s degree and the title of engineer. From there I have been attracted to the arts, to become a painter, sculptor or musician were my biggest dreams and kept me quite a long time. In Sofia, the city where I live and work at the moment, I arrived with the desire to turn my dreams into reality, one way or another. However destiny had another way for me.
2. How or why did you get started in cake decorating… was it by accident or did you always have a passion for it?
The reality in the big city quickly turned me from a dreamer to a realist and a man of action. I was always enraptured by confectionery. I started as a pastry chef in a company where there was an assembly of cakes, but the decoration attracted me like a magnet.
Thanks to my own fascination, my art and my desire to be a different, unique, artist it was only a matter of time to try and do cakes. It did not take long to find that love for this profession with all my being. For the first time I worked doing something that made me forget for a time that there is another world out there. Like love at first sight. It never had happened before.
I easily and quickly learn new information so of course with the help of the internet and YouTube, it happened even faster. So within just 1 calendar year, cakes have changed me drastically beyond recognition. Others began to recognize me because of them. I was happy. I found myself!
3. Is there one tool you cannot live without and one you don’t have yet but really want?
Certainly there are many tools to which I cannot live without, but there is no doubt it is my modeling tools. As for tools that I would like to have it would definitely be a laminating dough machine (pastry sheeter). I have seen one many times :) and have a warhead base cake in my arsenal that I would love to use with it.
4. I love your cakes they always full of such vibrant colors. Could you tell us a little bit about the products you use like fondant brand, name of the colors you use and anything special that you think we might like to know?
The brand of fondant that I use in my practice is from Italy called Irca. I’ve never had problems with it and I think that is one of the best I’ve ever worked with. For paint I use many but mostly AmeriColor and Sugarflair. I think overall brands really do not matter. More importantly it is the way you combine them. There was a period in which I used a lot of colors in cakes, now I’m a little jacked with colors. I just love the variety. But otherwise I definitely love a colorful cake.
5. What part of making cakes do you like most and least?
Of course it’s the decoration process, I am"obsessed" with! It is my favorite thing in general, but that does not mean that I attach less importance to the cake itself. I do not forget that above all the cake is supposed to be eaten and taste amazing, mostly by children!!! In practice, I bet on the world famous companies producing premium products tested and approved quality, which I believe my clients deserve their cake to be made of.
6. Tell us one thing about yourself that many of us might not know already.
Well, nowadays I think thanks to the Internet, all pretty much know everything about me :) and besides, I do not try to hide anything!
7. What is your favorite cake you have done to date?
I cannot speak for cakes as favorite or not. In each I try to create something new, be it technique or combination of colors, styles. However, most of us learn with practice. And to think how much more there is to learn. Life would fail me :))))))))) In addition, once I have made and photographed my cakes, I start looking for flaws, they draw my eyes. Sometimes I am too critical of myself!!!
8. Do you have a bucket list and if so what might one or two of those be and it does not have to be cake related?
Rather not! My impulsivity is a leading value and the best things are related. I rely on the current situation to say the word, in case you do not work on a client’s model.
9. What would you say has been your biggest cake challenge to date and if you could have a do-over of it would you want to and what about it would you change?
I think about a lot of cakes we have made. All have been challenging, because anything can happen the first time you make a new cake design. I must say I’m extremely happy that our customers trust us and rarely choose to copy already made cakes, whether by us or by someone else.
10. Is their one technique or sugar skill that you have not tried yet but really would like to learn?
Yes, ever since first sight I have wanted to learn how to make flowers from wafer paper. I just do not have time right now, but hope to soon.
11. Do you work from home or do you have a cake shop?
I do not work from home. Recently I now my own workshop for cakes.www.MladmanCakes.com
12. Do you sketch your cakes or just wing it?
As I mentioned above I quite act on impulse. Sketching is a process that I often skip because of commitment. But on the rare occasions that I did, it in fact begun to change the model in motion. Just come different ideas at work.
13. For anyone just starting out what would be one piece of advice you would give them?
I would say that choosing a real adventure. Cake making is a craft, not just a profession. To achieve a given level requires tremendous work, perseverance, reading, watching video tutorials. In short yet their serious investment of time and money. The commitment is serious. And in this sense I have always admired women with 3-4 children who show uncompromising quality.
14. What’s the best lesson you have learned while making cakes so far?
That no one is immune from gaffes. The suitcase emergency is the first friend of decorator of cake.
15. And one crazy one just for fun…If you could take a full 2 day class with one particular cake decorator who would you choose?
Definitely Karen Portaleo