Pursuing what you are passionate about sometimes means having to get creative. When one's passions include baking and horticulture traditional paths are limited. For Todd Kennedy, however, these limitations formed an entirely new playing field on which he thrives.
It was not a straight path to starting his own sugar flower focused cake company in New York City, but as Todd laid out the story to me over coffee it began to make perfect sense. While most of us lose touch with our initial impulsive desires, his story starts at age 11 in the Midwest where standing in a kitchen with a cake baking in the oven, and a Reader's Digest "Illustrated Guide to Gardening" close at hand, Todd thought "I want to do this for the rest of my life."
There would be a Music Performance Degree in the Oboe, multiple stints in catering, eleven years as a pastry chef, and an eventual push from those around him before he found his way back to that sentiment. In 2011 the journey began to veer back towards it's intended course when his friends gave him a sugar flower tool kit for his birthday. This very costly present was a clear indication of the faith his friends had in him, and, in needing these tools, there was an implied acknowledgment of his growing skills.
What came out of this gift leaves brides giddy and clamoring for Todd's Voeux Cake Design's sugar flower laden masterpieces. Todd's Instagram feed is littered with shock over how realistic his creations have become. Yes, that actually means that the photographs you are seeing are of flowers that are made entirely of icing. His skill is clearly honed from hours of studied practice and an eye for detail. Every petal falls just so, and by adding in imperfections, from a slightly browning leaf to a wilting petal, Todd challenges the viewer to realize that only through imperfection does something become beautifully real.
The thing that struck me most, even when faced with having to acknowledge that he created each of these flowers by hand, is the community that Todd has created. It might just be his talent for his craft, but I have a sneaking suspicion it is also linked to his passion. He clearly loves what he does, thriving on tight deadlines and crafting for days at a time on little sleep. He tells these stories with a broad smile on his face, focusing on the beauty of the end result and not the sacrifice that it took to create it. His clamoring fans include the friends that got him started with a sugar flower making kit in Indiana. On the days when New York seems a bit overwhelming, and he thinks about how simple it would be to return to the Midwest, he focuses on all the people that encouraged him along the way and he is lifted up by their support and faith in his talent.
Being passionate takes work, creativity, and a village. Luckily, Todd has all of these things already in place and is clearly posed for something amazing. From creating Gloria Steinem's birthday cake this past weekend, to being flown out to San Diego to do an onsite custom creation, we are pretty sure this article might be the only way we will be able to get a meeting with Todd in the near future. Run, don't walk, and get your orders in early.
Need more sugar flowers to get you through the day? Visit, follow and devour more of Todd's creations here.