Profiling Tosan Jemide, African Cake Maestro
Tosan Jemide is an artist with a large heart made of butter!
Tosan Jemide, was born in Warri, Delta State, Nigeria. He is the last of 5 boys. He lived in different parts of the country while growing up.
Interest in Cake Making
Tosan Jemide got an early exposure to the art from his late mum, who used to bake cakes. As the last of her five boys, he helped when she baked. Sometime in 1983 she passed on and coincidentally that was the year his eldest brother was getting married. He decided to take his chance with his brother’s wedding cake and it turned to be a good attempt. Then, at a very early stage in his life, Tosan Jemide discovered an innate ability to be creative. So after he left University of Ibadan where he studied Sociology, Tosan Jemide was left with two choices: first, was to tow the path of survival and join the “Career Rat Race”; the second was for him to harness his God given ability and become “The Purpose Fulfilled Tosan”. Tosan chose the latter. In order for Tosan Jemide to express his creative instinct, in an interview granted by Tosan in 2012, Tosan revealed that he thought of fashion and he actually did toy with a clothing line (T-Shirts basically), but then it occurred to him that he could dare to be unique and different. So, he decided to delve into cakes which was at the time an “awkward” trade for a man. Following this decision, Tosan Jemide moved to the UK in the mid 90’s to hone his skills. “While in the UK, I attended courses and worked for some of the biggest cake shops for over four years. Armed with the combination of raw talent, passion, desire to blaze the trail and acquired skills, I came back to Nigeria in 2001 to start up Cakes by Tosan”.
Career in Cake Making
In 1996, he left the shores of Nigeria for the United Kingdom to perfect his sugar craft and cake making skills. In 1998, he attended a course in character modeling from Squires Kitchen School of cake decorating, Farnham UK. While in the United Kingdom he worked at several bakeries, the last of which was Gloriette of Knightsbridge, where he was part of a team that created cakes for high street stores in the UK such as Harrods, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Waitrose.
He returned to Nigeria in 2000 to start Cakes by Tosan, an upscale sugarcraft/cake making business that provides signature (couture) cakes for all of Nigeria and Africa’s elite. Over the years, Tosan’s creativity, spontaneity and natural ability to think outside the box, has propelled him to become the most desirable cake maker for A-list celebrities and high net worth individuals in Nigeria and other parts of the African continent. In 2013, he built a 28 feet sugar craft edifice known to be the tallest cake in Africa till date.
Cakes by Tosan won the 2013 Best in Show award – international exhibit at the International cake event in Manchester. He was also awarded best cake design at the Christmas Charity Dinner and Cake Auction for Cervical Cancer organized by the George Kerry Foundation. Asides winning the best cake designer at the Nigerian events award in 2013, Tosan Jemide was awarded a member of the honors roll by the association of party organizers and event managers of Nigeria in recognition of his distinctive and innovative contribution to the Nigeria’s wedding industry.
By Adewale Adeoye