Kanta Temba is a cake maker and decorator. She is also the owner and founder of Kanta Kakes – cake shop.
Kanta was born to Zambian parents in the city of Lusaka and was raised by them in Hertfordshire, England, after the family emigrated in the late 90’s . From an early age Kanta expressed a keen interest in culinary arts. She enjoyed baking cupcakes and birthday cakes for friends and family and spent time observing her mother doing the same. She studied culinary arts at school for a time, where her passion for baking developed further.
After obtaining professional qualifications and honing her skills, 2012 saw Kanta make the bold step to establish her own cake making and decorating business, Kanta Kakes. Over the months her cake business grew from strength to strength and drew a sizable clientele.
In 2015 Kanta is set to expand her business and brand further and branch into entertainment. With her up and coming TV show called “Baking with Kanta”, and numerous other projects lined up; she aims to gain even more publicity for her work and creations. The sky is definitely not the limit for this young talented woman
KAPA187: What first got you interested in the culinary arts, in particular to confectionary?
KANTA TEMBA: My love of cooking and baking started from when I was quite young. I would watch my mum bake cakes and scones for us when we were little and would lick the bowl when she was finished. I was keen to learn how to cook from an early age, and I remember the first thing I ever learnt was how to fry an egg. I learnt a lot through trial and error. Then when I got to about 14 years old I studied Food technology and excelled – achieving top marks in my exams. Though at university I took a different route to that of culinary arts and confectionary, it was not long before I returned to my first love.
KAPA187: You studied for a biomedical degree but ultimately decided to take a career as a cake maker/decorator. What made you take that decision and was your family in support of that?
KANTA TEMBA: I did study biomedical science, because I initially thought I should have a conventional career. It was a hard decision to make to pursue a career as a cake maker/decorator. However, I made that decision because I had to be true to myself and follow my dreams. This life is my own to live, it’s important for me to make decisions that I am actually happy with. My sister was supportive from the beginning; she knew how much I love confectionary and encouraged me constantly. However, my parents were not happy about my decision and struggled to understand why I wanted to pursue such a career. In their eyes I was intelligent enough to become a doctor; and though this was true, they could not understand the fact that I wanted to pursue something that I actually loved. They took a while to come round, but as they saw my talent, determination and success, they became more supportive.
KAPA187: What was your inspiration to establish your own cake making and decorating business, Kanta Kakes?
KANTA TEMBA: Truthfully my inspiration for establishing Kanta Kakes was because I love cake making and decorating and I wanted to be my own boss and make my own rules and money.
KAPA187: What challenges did you face when starting up your business, and how did you overcome them?
KANTA TEMBA: The biggest challenge I faced was competing with other cake makers and convincing customers of why they should come to me instead of my competitors. However a bit of healthy competition is good, it helps you to ensure that you always do the best that you can. I overcame this by improving my standard of work and my service; I made the effort and invested the time in bettering myself, improving my quality, my designs and the flavor of my cakes. I also gained confidence in my work and realized that what I was offering was unique and special in its own way. Knowing this I came to see that my biggest competition is myself, and my sole aim is to become better and provide an even better service every single time.
KAPA187: What type of cakes do you specialize in?
KANTA TEMBA: I specialize in a variety of cakes; every type of celebration cake including but not limited to birthday cakes, baptism cakes, anniversary and wedding cakes; and bespoke cakes.
KAPA187: Do you have any plans of expanding your business to your home country, Zambia?
KANTA TEMBA: Yes I definitely do have plans of expanding my business to Zambia, and I can’t wait to do that.
KAPA187: What advice would you give to young people who have a passion for something and want to venture into “nontraditional” careers?
KANTA TEMBA: The advice that I would give is; to follow your dreams and do what you love. Everyone will always have an opinion on what you should do with your life, but it is so important for you to be happy and do what makes you happy. There is a quote that really inspires me…
“Find something in life that you love doing. If you make a lot of money that’s a bonus; and if you don’t, you still won’t hate going to work”.
KAPA187: You have further honed your skills by attaining professional diplomas in Sugar paste, Sugar flowers and Royal icing. There is a notion that one does not need education in the culinary arts, all that is needed is passion. What do you say about this?
KANTA TEMBA: I think that as much as passion plays a huge part, it is not what is solely required to be a professional in culinary arts. It is always important to better yourself, and improve your skills and talent wherever possible. There is a lot of competition in the culinary arts/baking world, there are constantly people who have more talent, more skills, more knowledge more experience or more “education”, and like in most industries it would be naïve to assume that all you need is passion.
KAPA187: You won 1st place in the 2013 PME, Live Cake Decorating Competition in Birmingham, tell us about that experience.
KANTA TEMBA: My experience of winning first place in the 2013, live Cake decorating competition in Birmingham was great. I was competing against eight other contestants to make the tastiest and most elaborate cake within three hours; in front of a live audience and judges. The judges’ panel included Eddie Spence MBE, who has made cakes for the Royal family; and The Queen. The cake had to be completely edible and there was an immense amount of detail that had to go into making the basket and fruits look real. It was by far the hardest cake I have ever made, and in such a short space of time. However, I did go on to win the competition, so it was all worth it in the end.
KAPA187: Tell us about your upcoming TV show “Baking with Kanta”?
KANTA TEMBA: Without giving away too much; “Baking with Kanta” is a baking show based on me teaching my audience fun and quick ways to bake and decorate a variety of cakes and desserts. It is a project that I have been working really hard on, and I am really excited to share it with you all.
KAPA187: Any last words …
KANTA TEMBA: Thank you for all of your continued support. Stay tuned because I have plenty more coming soon. You can find my work on www.kantakakes.com. Follow me on twitter @KantaKakes and Instagram @KantaTemba.
Here is a sample of the cakes she has made