Polished entrepreneur adds artistic bakes to her list of skills

Pang has married her professional skills with her new hobby to produce intricate hand-painted baked goods during the pandemic.

A NAIL artist and sought-after international educator, who used to design elaborate nail art as a profession, is now channelling her creative energy into baking aesthetically pleasing creations.

Entrepreneur Stephy Pang, 39, had not been able to operate her nail artistry academy and salons since the first movement control order last year, and this led her to discover a second passion -– baking.

Other than cakes and cookies, she spends much of her time creating intricate paintings on Swiss rolls filled with cream and fresh fruit using edible paint.

Pang, a director of two nail salons, an academy and a charity clothing boutique, used to travel up to five times a year as a guest speaker and judge at major nail events and competitions in Mexico, South Korea and Australia.

The award-winning nail artistry educator said she was used to having a hectic lifestyle when the Covid-19 pandemic suddenly gave her a lot of free time.

So she began trying her hands at baking -– something she had never given much thought to previously.

“To my surprise, I find baking to be quite similar to nail artistry, where I have to use different tools and follow a set of steps to achieve the desired outcome.

“It has been refreshing yet familiar to marry my profession with my new hobby.

“These days, I use flavoured food colouring and food gel as opposed to coloured acrylic powder and gel when creating nail designs for my customers and students.

“Just like in the competitions that I participated in since entering the nail and beauty industry about 18 years ago, I have a sense of newfound excitement and competitiveness when baking,” she said when interviewed by StarMetro.

Pang said her new venture was a test of her creative skills as she had to pay attention to the shading, highlighting, shadowing and other details to produce attractive cakes.

“I usually have to race against time to complete the intricate paintings before pouring the batter into the mould to bake.

“The process does not stop there. I have to hold my breath when removing the pastry cloth to reveal the painting before carefully rolling the cake to avoid cracks,” she said, adding that her initial attempts at Swiss rolls resulted in cracks.

Pang said she first started with simple designs like painting blueberries and strawberries before moving on to characters from her favourite Japanese anime film My Neighbour Totoro and classic children’s tale Peter Rabbit.

After sharing photos and videos of her baked goods on social media, family and friends were drawn to her products and began placing orders.

During Chinese New Year this year, Pang made and sold over 800 jars of festive cookies.

“However, I am not planning to turn baking into a business yet as I am doing it to learn something new and as a creative outlet.

“I am just glad that I was able to also inspire and motivate some of my students, employees and nail industry colleagues to explore something new like baking, while waiting for the industry to reopen.

“They used to call me up to ask for tips to improve their nail and beauty skills but these days, we discuss more about baking and cake painting,” she quipped.

Pang looks forward to the end of the pandemic so that she can continue teaching nail artistry and people in the industry can continue earning a living with their skills.

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