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Students and Staff Bake to Savor the Moments

By Breanna Lu and Norah Shen Apr. 28, 2021

Beomhee Kim Art

Professional bakers often create tasty pastries, from blueberry coffee cakes to French macarons. However, these treats are not only made by experts, but also teenagers, such as Sophomore Kylie Duong.

Duong began this hobby when she was seven years old. Though her mom first taught Duong how to bake, she now learns from online posts and videos by professionals. Duong’s signature recipe consists of chocolate cupcakes and French macarons. These desserts are gifted to her family and friends for holidays. Recently, her baking videos have been uploaded onto the school’s Instagram account.

Additionally, Freshman Lauren Clarke began following recipes when she was three years old and would bake after daycare with her grandmother—one of her biggest inspirations. Now, she watches YouTube videos to gain new skills, but she still gets advice from her grandmother. Clarke explains that she enjoys hands-on activities like baking because they allow her to tune out all distractions. She typically bakes during the weekends or during advisory if she has no work to do.

Freshman Sahana Gopalan...advises new bakers to not focus on the end result, but rather the experience of baking goods.

Freshman Sahana Gopalan bakes for a different motive: to create new memories. Gopalan initially learned from her father, and during quarantine, she began making desserts more often because she had more spare time after her extracurriculars went online. Gopalan enjoys this activity because of the experience: she loves creating unique recipes and eating the finished goods with family. Thus, she advises new bakers to not focus on the end result, but rather the experience of baking goods. Similarly, Freshman Gilina Voon loves to make memories by baking. Starting from a young age, she helped her mom and relatives create pastries for special events. Now, she enjoys baking with her father as it is a chance for them to spend time together. While Voon is unable to bake as much as she used to, she finds time to share recipes on the school’s Instagram in hopes that students will be inspired to begin a new hobby too.

After learning the fundamentals from her parents, Voon now follows YouTube videos to continue practicing and improving her baking skills. Through experience, she learned to pay attention to small details in order to prevent mistakes.

While there are some students who bake as a hobby, others like Senior Chloe Cutaran and Leena Gulvady and alumna Sonia Savur (Class of ‘20) bake to raise donations. Cutaran became interested in the culinary field when she was 11 years old due to shows like “Masterchef.” In the past, she made banana bread to sell at a fundraiser for a science camp she attended. Like Cutaran, Gulvady and Savur also hosted many fundraisers and bake sales. For instance, Gulvady started a bake sale last summer for Direct Relief, a nonprofit that fights against poverty, Color of Change, an advocacy group for African Americans and created birthday cakes for Cake4Kids, a foster child program. Furthermore, Savur, along with her fellow alumni, ran three bake sales during the summer of 2020. They donated all of their profits to organizations including The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Arts Business Collaborative and the NavajoStrong organization for Native Americans.

While there are some students who bake as a hobby, others like Senior Chloe Cutaran and Leena Gulvady and alumna Sonia Savur (Class of ‘20) bake to raise donations.

“My favorite memory of baking is my 12th birthday party, which was Cupcake Wars themed, based on the baking show. My friends and I decorated three cupcakes. My team crushed up oreos to put into the buttercream frosting, while other teams tried to use the bonus ingredient, bacon, to earn extra points. Though my team did not end up winning, it was one of the most enjoyable experiences I have had,” Gulvady said.

In addition to students, many teachers like Jamie Cohen, Social Science Department, also enjoy baking as a hobby. Cohen learned from her mother and sister when she was young. At the start of the pandemic, Cohen baked once every week, but now bakes once a month with her daughter. Initially, Cohen read recipe books and followed experts on social media platforms such as Reddit and Pinterest to enhance her skills and techniques. Even though Cohen only bakes as a fun hobby, her skills have impacted other aspects of her life.

“Through my years of baking, I learned to become more organized. Anyone who had me as a teacher knows that I am very regimented. This also applies to my personal life—I like things to have order and be in a specific way,” Cohen said.

Unlike the others, Jeff Lutze, Math Department, exclusively makes pies, specifically blackberry and raspberry pie, due to his love for this dessert. However, despite having more time during the pandemic, Lutze has baked less because he has fewer people to share his pies with—he enjoys making pies with his daughter, but is unable to visit due to the pandemic.

For the students and staff, baking is not just a way to eat tasty treats: this activity has taught them several valuable traits like patience, dedication and organization. Therefore, they plan on continuing this hobby to utilize their creativity and skills and experience unforgettable memories with their families.


About the Contributors

Breanna Lu

Staff Writer

Breanna Lu is a freshman and a new staff writer. She enjoys binge watching sci-fi movies and her favorite book genre is murder mysteries/crime fiction. In her free time, you will most likely find her asleep or chatting with her friends.

Norah Shen

Staff Writer

Norah Shen is a freshman at Leland High School and is a new staff writer. She likes to read, listen to music, and relentlessly tease her younger sister.

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