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Cakes have risen from adversity in the most recent chapter of Natasha Cameron’s life.
Losing her job in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic might have been one of the best things to ever happen to Natasha Cameron.
Difficult though it was, it provided the push she needed to pursue a long-held dream and start her own baking business.
For many New Zealanders the impact of Covid-19 has been devastating and the former South Otago High School pupil, nominated for a 2011 Class Act award by her art teacher, is no exception.
Within six months of her father, Jim, dying, she lost her marketing job at Dunedin Railways. The tourist train company closed its doors in March 2020, making about 50 of its staff redundant.
After looking for other marketing jobs, Miss Cameron decided that if she did not give baking a go then, she probably never would.
Knowing social media could be a powerful marketing tool, she began taking photos of her cakes on her phone and posting them on Instagram. She also has a presence on Facebook and attends community markets.
Her business name, Baked and Raised, reflects not only what happens during the baking process: ‘‘I wanted to touch on my upbringing and how that influenced me’’.
‘‘Growing up, my mum and grandma were both really into baking,’’ she says, adding that her grandmother’s interest in floristry inspired her ‘‘natural, rustic’’ style and some cakes she bakes now are ones her family enjoyed when she was young.
‘‘Carrot cake was always my mum’s favourite, chocolate Guinness cake was Dad’s and we used to eat lemon meringue pie on special occasions so I thought I’d try to make that in cake form.’’
All of her cakes, biscuits and slices are made in a regular-sized oven in her registered home kitchen in the Dunedin suburb of Tainui. However, the long-term goal is to have a commercial kitchen and a small shop front that she can sometimes open to the public.
The 28-year-old believes that if Covid-19 had not happened, she would probably still be working at Dunedin Railways.
‘‘It was sad to be leaving but once I decided I wanted to do the baking thing, I was like, ‘maybe this happened for a reason’.
‘‘It’s the scariest, but also the most rewarding, thing I’ve ever done.’’