Two months ago, Suria FM deejay and celebrity chef Brian Chen announced that he would give away 30 birthday cakes to 30 deserving children.
He made good this promise in March at his cooking academy in Desa Sri Hartamas.
The “cake mission” began when Chen who celebrated his 30th birthday on Feb 3 asked his boss if he could announce on air that he would be giving away the same number of cakes as his age to deserving children.
“They asked me who would be footing the bill. I said it would be from my own pocket. So we made this campaign and invited the public to nominate the children,” recalled Chen.
Priority would be to children who have never had the chance to celebrate their birthdays, are undergoing medical treatment, good achievers in school and an inspiration to others.
Submission period was closed after two weeks when the station received hundreds of names.
But behind the scenes, the campaign nearly blew up in Chen’s face. On doing the costing, he realised that it was going to take RM20,000 to make it happen!
Among the sponsors who came to his rescue were Bagus, a baking products solution provider and cake decorators in Mad About Cakes, Le Petit Chef and The Cup Cake Crazy.
“I wanted the children to have something special. Not just some simple plain cake,” insisted Chen.
And so, 15 cakes ended up being delivered by Chen himself.
Another 15 were presented to 15 children who came to his cooking academy. And what a party it was!
The children were treated to a cooking class by Chen who taught them to make a snowman shepherd’s pie.
With some as young as six, the teaching team had to employ short cuts.
Plastic scrapers instead of knives. Ready-cooked minced chicken. Ready-cut vegetable strips. Ready-boiled and mashed potatoes.
The only real work was to shape the potato into snowmen and give them eyes and hands with sliced olives and celery sticks.
Giving a review of the session, leukaemia patient Murkeish Krishnarmurthy, 12, said he could have done with a bit more challenge.
At home, he can cook his own chicken burgers. The patty flavouring of salt, pepper, cumin, paprika and five-spice powder is his own creation.
Two parents, however, took it seriously.
Yap Sook Yee, mother to Brandon Lim, 6, who has spinal muscular atrophy, saw it as a way to impress it on her child that he could, to a degree, have a certain sense of independence.
Nor Hanizah Abu Hanif, mother to Farid Iskandar Mohd Emran, 11, who has Down’s syndrome, said sessions like these was a chance for her son to mix around and feel included.
Some were inspired by the session to look into the future. Father of Amir Danial Mohd Khafiruddin, 6, said it was high time his child learnt how to cook instead of being glued to the television.
“Children need exposure to practical skills. When they put this into practice, they will also learn how to organise themselves. I feel this session imparts such lessons to my son,” said Mohd Khafiruddin.
Event partners include the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Malaysian Rare Disorder Society.