When Nigerian brides are preparing for their wedding day, they search far and wide, high and low, for one man who can make their wedding cake dreams come true.
He is Tosan Jemide, the CEO of Cakes by Tosan. Contemporary Nigerian brides know that when they go to him, all their desires of a fairy-tale cake will come to pass. The master baker who has been in the industry for well over ten years has baked cakes for socialites and celebrities plus brides whose weddings have been featured here on BN.
BN’s Gbenga Awomodu sits down with the master baker as he speaks exclusively to us on his humble beginnings, his staying power in the industry, his love for cakes, his upcoming Ultimate Luxury exhibition and how, with all the success he has, he still orders study materials to improve his craft on a monthly basis.
Please tell us a bit about yourself, what you do, your educational background, and where you grew up.
My name is Tosan Jemide. I am a master baker, cake artist and an entrepreneur. I run the CBT group comprising of Cakes by Tosan (A Luxury brand for Sugar Craft Master Pieces), Celebrations by Tosan (A Commercial Cake outfit about to Launch), Topcrust Bakery (A Commercial Bakery that provides quality bread for the mass market) and Cupcakes by Tosan. I studied Sociology in the University of Ibadan and took cake making courses in the UK after discovering my flare for the art. I was born in Warri, Delta State and grew up in different parts of the country at different times.
You are generally referred to as Nigeria’s foremost Cake Maker, Sugar Crafter & Confectioner. Tell us how you developed interest in Baking, and how you made your entry into the Industry?
I got an early exposure to the art from my late mum, who used to bake cakes. As the last of her five boys, I helped when she baked. Sometime in 1983 she passed on and coincidentally that was the year my eldest brother was getting married. I decided to take my chance with his wedding cake and it turned to be a good attempt. Then, at a very early stage in my life, I discovered an innate ability to be creative. So after I left Ibadan, I was left with two choices: first, was to tow the path of survival and join the “Career Rat Race”; the second was to harness my God given ability and become “The Purpose Fulfilled Tosan”. I chose the latter. In expressing my creative instinct, I thought of fashion and I actually did toy with a clothing line (T-Shirts basically), but then it occurred to me that I could dare to be unique and different. So, I decided to delve into cakes which was at the time an “awkward” trade for a man. Following this decision, I moved to the UK in the mid 90’s to hone my 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.
Photo credit: Body Lawson