Hey South Africa, meet Sasko’s Top Baker
One of the many things that the 2020 lockdown brought to the world, was the ‘anything is cake’ trend. Bakers around the world showed off their skills as they created confectionery masterpieces modelled after objects.
From coins and takeaway boxes to cups and beer cans, everything could be and was cake. It was then that Sasko realised that they needed to do a SASKO Top Bakers Search, to crown South Africa’s top baker.
The competition received 200 entries from aspiring bake-preneurs who are passionate about their craft and business. Bakers entered their creations to impress the panel of seasoned baking experts to prove their mettle as Top Bakers. The judges were Chef Simphiwe Zondi, Chef Siphokazi Mdlankomo and Chef Jenny Morris.
And coming out top was Kurhula Makhuvele of Fine Bakes, whose confectionery creations wowed the internet last year. The Centurian-based baker’s exceptional talent for creating hyper-realistic illusion cakes made her a standout in last year’s competition. Makhuvele sees herself as an artist and that made her the obvious choice amongst the panel of baking expert judges as well as the public, who had the final say in her clinching the winning title.
Second place went to Relebohile Lebata, while Helen Mazibuko coming third. They all won a share of SASKO flour and baking equipment worth up to R100 000 to help them grow their businesses.
Makhuvele can take any object and recreate it as a cake, be it a shoe, a handbag, or even a human heart. She began baking and cooking from an early age and is inspired by a variety of foods and everyday objects that she loves. “I’m certain that winning this award will open many doors for me to take my business to another level. I am excited for what the future holds,” she said.
In an interview with IOL Lifestyle last year, the Giyani born Makhuvele said started baking and cooking at a young age and has always been passionate about food, thanks to baking at home and for family events.
“I currently only bake cakes because that is the core product or service of my business and I would like to specialize in creative or realistic cakes,” she said.
She uses her business slogan, “Everything is a cake” to showcase how she can make almost anything into a cake if she puts her mind to it. She adds, “I see it as a challenge. It takes a lot of passion, love and time to be a top baker.”
Chef Zondi, who is a favourite of many celebrities, including Bonang Matheba and Ayanda Thabethe, was the lead judge. Commenting about the competition she said, “I strongly believe that if a mosquito has the power to awaken an entire human family, we as humans have the power to change the world and achieve everything we put our heart to and that’s exactly what Kurhula has proven. She has the perfect combination of great personality and passion which will take her far in this industry. May she remain consistent in her craft and never lose her drive."
The SASKO Top Bakers Search was all about taking small baking businesses to the next level.
“This project was developed with the intention to support small businesses to improve their skills and grow their businesses,” said Le-Anne Engelbrecht, SASKO Marketing Executive. “As a successful South African Bakery that has been in business for 90 years, SASKO understands the passion and care that it takes to run a successful business in this industry. We believe Kurhula is a testament to this. We are excited to see her business expand and flourish.”