She takes the cake
When Sharaf Alsalim graduated from Thompson Rivers University last year, there was a very special mortarboard hat waiting for him — and it was definitely not the academic kind.
It was a cake his wife, Hamedah Alismail, made for her husband, an exact replica of the gear atop his head during convocation.
While all things business dominate their education lives — Sharaf has a master’s degree in business administration and Hamedah is finishing a degree in accounting — at home the cake is the thing, generating plenty of requests from friends and colleagues for Hamedah to work her magic for them.
The international student from Saudi Arabia wanted to learn cake decorating, but wasn’t sure how to start. Someone referred her to Michaels, which runs classes in various types of cake decorating.
She took a class and, at the end of the two-hour session, went home and put in another two hours working on the skill she had learned.
Four classes later, Hamedah has mastered the various types of icing required, can create almost any kind of flour, turn a cake into a woven basket or a springtime hat — wherever her imagination takes her.
Sometimes she’ll use a cheesecake base for her creativity; other times, it might be several layers of regular cake, each a brilliant shade of the rainbow.
“I like colourful,” Hamedah said. “Anything with colour, I like to do.”
The pair came to Kamloops from Saudi Arabia five years ago. At the time, they knew nothing about the city other than it was the destination they were being sent to as part of a scholarship program in their country.
When they arrived, Hamedah said, “it was a shock for the first few days and there were only about 30 Saudi students at that time.”
But, the community — and their own love of Kamloops — has grown through the years.
They’ve talked about returning home and starting a cake business but, first, Hamedah wants to take some additional courses in Vancouver to master decorating wedding cakes.
That might happen after she graduates next year, she said, but for now, she’s kept busy with cake requests from people who have seen her work — as well as from her two children.
“My dream is to be more proficient,” Hamedah said. “So, I make cakes — lots of cakes.”