At 25, Porsha Kimble lost her job after a drug test showed she had been using cocaine.
She thinks baking saved her life.
As she worked on getting herself clean, she decided it was a way to pay her bills.
“Nobody in my family knew, but I’d been abusing drugs since my last year of college,” the businesswoman from Dallas, Texas, said. “My grandmother always baked, and I loved doing it with her and at the time I lost my job I’d been taking cooking classes at a local craft store.”
Although she eventually got a full-time job with an IT company, she didn’t leave her baking behind.
Her company, Your Cake Diva, is the success story she’s been developing for nearly 12 years. Recognition for her baking has come from celebrities, through television shows and the workshops she’s held around the world.
On Sunday, she’ll teach cake decorating as part of the City Food Festival.
“It will be my first time in Bermuda and I’m really looking forward to it,” said Ms Kimble, who took second place when she appeared on the Food Network’s Cake Wars in January 2017.
The 36-year-old attributes her success to her honesty and creativity; each cake is tailor-made.
“I don’t repeat anything from previous clients,” she said.
She got her big break in 2015 after she did a wedding cake for Dallas celebrity event planner Dessie Brown.
He recommended her to Dallas Cowboys wide receiver, Dez Bryant who wanted a cake to celebrate a five-year, $70 million contract.
“I had less than 24 hours to make it,” she said. “His whole brand is an X. So I had to sculpt that.
“I tried one thing and it didn’t work, so I had to start over. Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep that night.”
The cake was a great hit, and won her exposure. The next year she was invited to appear on Cake Wars. She describes it as a “very stressful” experience.
“Television is not what you think,” she said, claiming things were scripted into the show to make it more interesting for viewers.
“I was a bit disappointed by the way things were done,” she said. “But it did help to get my name out there. You get your 15 minutes of fame, and you turn it into what you turn it into.
“Due to that happening, I rolled out a whole cake tour and went to 17 different locations. This year, the demand grew even more. I credit the show to that.”
Her baking tutorials can be found on Facebook and YouTube. She also hosts workshops for bakers interested in starting a business.
Most of my students are women,” she said. “I think the biggest mistake they make is selling themselves short.
“They don’t have enough confidence in themselves and tend to underprice their work.”
In her workshop, she shares some of her more difficult experiences.
One took place in 2006 when a couple sued her because she had used black butter cream to make their cake instead of the black fondant they had ordered.
She confessed she had waited too long to order the fondant although she was eventually saved by the wording of the contract.
It called for a tiered, black, square cake, but didn’t specify the type of icing.
“I didn’t practise good time management,” she said. “It was still early in my career. That’s something I talk about with my students.
I tell people to have a contract because things can go wrong, even in a home business. I give my students a copy of my contract so they can draft up something similar.”
She doesn’t eat a lot of cake herself. “You get tired of it,” she said. “If I got married, I don’t think I would have any cake at my wedding. Mind you, I think people would be expecting it.”