Yup – I bit the bullet, despite a disappointing first course and got budget approval from my husband to do Wilton Course 2. My husband casually commented that even though I had come away from the first course feeling let down, I had obviously had a lot of fun putting the techniques into practice and used the skills frequently since the course, so why not. A friend had been wanting to do it for months too, so we both signed up.
I had a very low expectation coming into this class, so I didn’t hope for much. However, I think my cake speaks for itself in summing up what I learnt…
I was really happy with the cake and my experience in this second course, however to qualify it, I am going to review the course so people know what has changed (and what hasn’t) since the first course I did in February 2009.
4 Day Workshop – Wilton Method Cake Decorating – Cake Deco Course 2 – Flowers and More – Course 2 – Presented by Complete Deelite, Hong Kong
2 hours per day, HK$1400 (includes student kit and certificate)
Prerequisite: Wilton Method Cake Decorating – Beginners Cake Decorating – Course 1
After completing the first Wilton course with Complete Deelite and coming away feeling a little disappointed and somewhat ripped off, I umm’ed and arr’ed about doing another course with them. The problem being there is no competition for them in Hong Kong, and thus at the end of the day, there wasn’t much choice if I wanted to continue trying to develop my skills.
In brief, I found the first course over crowded, over priced, parts of the course weren’t applied in class (namely cake decorating), the room was cluttered, the instructor and class had no privacy and seeming reluctance of the instructor (and company in general) to offer any demonstrations above and beyond the course book combined with the constant hard selling tactics left me feeling very disappointed.
So, what’s changed?
When registering for course two, my first question was “What will be the maximum number of people allowed to do the class?”. The answer given was “Four”. In actual fact, there ended up only being two of us in the class. This probably has to do with taking the course right on Christmas and school holidays, but never-the-less if they have now restricted classes to four, they are taking a step in the right direction.
The makeshift office that squished the training room has gone. The clutter of cupcakes and the like that were sitting around waiting to be picked up has also gone. The class had minimum disruption while we were in there and the door to the training room remained closed for most of the course. Only in two of the sessions do I remember people coming into the room, but their presence was much more discreet.
The class had already exceeded my expectations and the trainer hadn’t even started teaching yet. 🙂
The trainer we had was vastly knowledgeable, and was happy to share her career experience with us. She also made it clear up front there was a 5 % discount on all Wilton products in the store while doing the course (and also mentioned that if you do three courses in a calendar year you qualify for a further discount). She was eager and willing, as were we, which made the class fun and interesting. Instead of doing the hard sell of products she instead shared her years of experience with us, which actually made me MORE interested in purchasing additions for my decorating. The only thing that was strongly suggested was to have more than one of certain tips for class three where we were using the same tip to do a number of different flowers. She was also honest in sharing her experience and ability, what she has used frequently, what does work, and what doesn’t. We respected and appreciated her honesty and forthright attitude.
While we didn’t do a cake every lesson (and unlike course one you aren’t supposed to), we could see our collection of flowers grow as they were created in royal icing. As these flowers last for a long time when kept in airtight containers, we knew we were building up a supply of resources for the final cake. The flowers were interesting to create, and the trainer also offered alternative methods to make the same flowers – in particular the daisies, which encouraged us even more. The trainer was attentive and patient in helping us refine our technique to produce pretty flowers. We were shown how to make chrysanthemums, rose buds (which I still haven’t figured out how to do correctly), apple blossoms, violet leaves, violets, a victorian rose, daisies, daffodils, pansy and primrose flowers.
In buttercream we were shown how to do rosettes, rope border, basketweave, and some of the flowers – although truth be told the flowers were much easier in royal icing. We were also given a revision of shell border.
We also got to work with colorflow. This was an interesting product because we were making shaped (2D) objects. In class we did birds (at home I made the snowflakes you see on my final cake). I will have to do more with it but it doesn’t seem all that different from royal icing. We were encouraged to experiment and think outside the box (or basket).
The final class we brought in our cake to decorate and saw the fruits of our labour over the preceding classes come together. It was far less rushed that course one as we had almost the entire time to work on our cakes. The only real obstacle we had was that because we were using real butter in our buttercream, the icing would become too warm to work with periodically. Fortunately the training class had a fridge we could use, although it was not suitable to put our cakes on.
Overall, I was pleased to see Complete Deelite had made an effort to improve their training facilities. This has a major impact on improving the atmosphere of the class. The trainer was far more experienced and far more professional than the trainer we had for the first course. Her enthusiasm has made me want to go back and do the third course without any hard sell. She made the class a really enjoying and fun learning experience.
The classes are still disproportionally over priced, but the fact some changes have been made help make it a slightly easier pill to swallow.
Ratings out of 5 (5 being the best, 1 being awful):
I was tempted to give this course a solid 4 stars. On the weight of the trainer alone, it certainly would deserve it. However with the price of the course still being so expensive in comparison to its overseas counterparts, I can’t justify the full fourth star. This is an expensive course with definite additional costs to the $1400 outlay, and unless you really enjoy cake decorating as a meaningful hobby like I do, then it is a lot of money to part with for a one off experience. The facilities have improved, and the trainer certainly contributed to the content in this course above and beyond the basic course content.
I will put a word of warning here. The trainer we had for this course was excellent. I would gladly do further courses with her. There is no guarantee however that other trainers would provide the same stimulating experience that we enjoyed. She has made me WANT to do Course Three, which I will in time when our budget allows and the new year has settled down a bit if I can. 🙂
Apparently there is a male trainer who is also very good for those who take the course in Cantonese. I can’t comment on him as I am not fluent enough in cantonese to take a course. If anyone has him for the cantonese courses, or even mandarin and wants to leave a comment here, please feel free.