VENTURES AFRICA- Cake making, particularly in the traditional African belief, is regarded as a craft that is perfected by women. However, Tosan Jemide, a sociology graduate has proven critics of that school of thought wrong with his sumptuous and luxurious cake production.
Having grown up in a cake-making family, Tosan was first introduced into the cake business at the tender age of 10 while helping his mom in the kitchen to mix cream and sugar. But his apocalypses journey into the professional world of cake making began when his elder brother wanted to do his wedding – This was actually the first wedding in the family.
Finding it “absurd” to usher a caterer in to do the wedding cake, his eldest brother pinpointed him as the person to do the cake even if he had not baked a cake on his own before. After several attempt of not getting it right; he later got the perfect finish for his brother’s wedding cake and to his surprise, many people who tasted the cake were amazed and satisfied with the luscious taste of the cake as they had even thought it was made by a professional. From there, he began to make cakes for people who had something to celebrate.
Prior to that time, Tosan’s entrepreneurship journey started by venturing into clothing business while he was still an undergraduate at the University of Ibadan. It was during this time that his eldest brother unknowingly opens his eye to the cake business.
Having many raw talents with no specific expertise, Tosan proceeded to the United Kingdom to learn more about cake making business. He stayed there for four years and at that time he started working for different cake companies including Gloriette in Knightsbridge. After a while, he started his own business before he opted to come back home to establish his own business.
He launched Cakes by Tosan in Nigeria in 2001.
Since he took that giant leap of forgoing his academic discipline as a sociologist to become a baker; Tosan’s creation – Cakes by Tosan, has become a household name for top-notch cakes in Nigeria. Its creator, Tosan Jemide is acclaimed one of Nigeria’s finest cake decorators.
While adhering to his mission to become Africa’s best cake maker, the Nigerian born sugar craft Maestro, has made Tosan cakes, through its exclusive blend of creativity and excellence to consistency, a confectionary brand to reckon with.
Tosan’s unique style has earned him titles like “Wedding cakes Maestro” of Nigeria, “cake maker”, and “Nigeria’s finest cake decorator” over the years.
His cakes are considered masterpieces not only because they taste good, but because they also look SPECTACULAR! . He actually confessed once that “when it came to the designing aspect, I quite enjoy that and that time I always made sensible input even though I was under 10.”
Tosan said the fact that he is a man and he can do it well or better than the women gives him an edge and a boost.
Perhaps what has made Tosan succeed this far is his adherence to putting customers’ satisfaction first; as he puts “passion for customers, integrity, excellence, team work, mutual respect” as the core value that guides his business “Tosan Cakes.”
Tosan’s clients include Presidents of nations, Ministers, celebrities and multinational co-operations. Some of his corporate clients include Guaranty Trust Bank, Access Bank, Diamond Bank, Intercontinental bank, Banwo & Ighodalo. His individual client lists include Bella Adenuga, Hijia Turai Yar’ Adua- widow of the Nigeria’s late President Musa Yar’Adua and Dizzany Madueke, Nigeria Minister of Petroleum.
Undoubtedly, Cakes by Tosan is a market leader in the Nigerian bakery industry with product lines that include state of the art Sugar Craft cakes for the premium market and Budget Cakes. Over the past decade; the innovative and market savvy Tosan has expand his coast from his parent production. Tosan Jemide today, is also the CEO of Celebrations by Tosan (A Commercial Cake outfit about to Launch), Topcrust Bakery – a multi-million commercial Bakery that provides quality bread for the mass market and Cupcakes by Tosan.
When asked if selling cakes is lucrative, Tosan said; ‘If it is not lucrative, I wouldn’t still be here. I came back in the 2000 and I have been doing cake since then. So if it was not, I would have pack up.”
Apart from being in the cake making business, Tosan owns a restaurant/cafe Le Saison and a Training School. He is also an avid philanthropist as he dedicates time and resources to youth charities.
According to Tosan, Le Saison was born out of the idea of wanting to create an eating place that would give people a sense of lifestyle and a dining experience. The refectory serve as a café during the day and at night, it is a restaurant. It is frequented by celebrities.
Tosan believes “If you can think… then you can do it.”
Tosan represents entrepreneurs who have being able to throw caution to the wind and pursue their passions vigorously while succeeding at the end. He has become Nigeria’s foremost cake-maker, sugarcrafter and confectioner.
On the secret to his success over the years; Tosan acknowledged that he has always been a creative person and this has helped him a lot. “I can do extraordinary cakes because I have that extra-artistic flair.”
Apart from that, Tosan includes passion for what he does. He will be quick to admit that he is adventurous when it comes to food. When he travels out of the country, he likes to dine out. This, he said has given him the feel of different people, culture and different food from different places.
He admitted that he gets inspirations from things around him. In an interview with Genevieve magazine, he said, “Sleeping or waking up; I am thinking cake. I look at something and say “oh! I can do something like this with a cake. As a matter of fact; my motto has always been; nothing is impossible with cakes. I like challenges and it actually gives me the drive to achieve more. Basically, that is how I have developed.”
As he would be quick to admit in an interview, “Getting a cake out is not as important as getting a cake out perfect”. “Perfection is the word.”
Image via bodylawson