Hello everyone! Happy New Year and happy 2022! Woohoo! Are you excited to take the first step in becoming an amazing cook or baker (or even both) by enrolling in The Bailiwick Academy? We’re excited for you too! And because we’re striving to always make things better for our Bailiwickers (like our baker in Japan which we will get to in a bit), we’re also looking forward to adding even more classes, more live sessions, and more treats for them!
Still on the fence about whether to dive in and join us? Maybe this story will help inspire you. Keep on reading and find out more about our featured baker in Japan, Bailiwicker Maria – and how TBA helped change her life for the better.
Who is this baker in Japan?
Maria’s full name is Ma. Bernadette D. Kawasaki. “I became Maria here because the Japanese couldn’t pronounce my name!” she recalls laughingly. She’s a Filipino Language Counselor in The Aichi Prefecture Board of Education. She currently lives in Nagoya, Japan, with her only daughter.
If you’re wondering what a Filipino Language Counselor does, she goes around elementary and junior high schools within the state every day. She deals with newly-arrived Filipino families in Japan, as well as some other English-speaking nationalities. “I usually give advice about basic Japanese lesson plans and materials to the Japanese teachers,” she says. “Sometimes, I also feel like I’m a school counselor because I talk to children and their parents about their everyday situation, and especially if the kid is in trouble.”
How did this baker in Japan hear about The Bailiwick Academy?
Maria heard about TBA because of a baking group on Facebook. “I have been a member of that group for a few years,” she says. “One time, for some reason, I kept noticing posts of beautiful bread and pastries. I asked my fellow members where they learned to make these delicious-looking treats.”
The members told her to check out The Bailiwick Academy, and the rest was history.
“I immediately looked for TBA online and signed up right away! And when I watched Chef Jimbo de Panadero’s free demos, I got more interested to enroll in his classes and make different kinds of bread!”
Why did she decide to try and be a baker in Japan?
Maria may have had a job, but as many people know, it is very expensive to live in Japan. And as she was raising her daughter alone, it definitely was not a simple task. “I felt the difficulty when she moved up to senior high school and I enrolled her in a private school,” Maria shares. “My daughter also wanted to attend college, which of course, is expensive.”
Maria herself wasn’t able to finish her studies, but she promised herself that she would do anything to send her daughter to college. “It wasn’t a dream I was able to achieve, but I wanted things to be different for my daughter,” she says.
She shares that she also did various things to earn more money. “I also have to send money to my parents back in the Philippines. Because of that, I used to juggle various jobs, like interpreting and translating. I didn’t take rest days,” she recalls.
It came to a point that even if she loved her job, she got tired of doing the same thing over and over. Maria wanted a new way to earn more money, so she thought about doing what she liked, which was baking. “Of course, I didn’t know if I would succeed, but I had to try!” she exclaims. “And besides, I do not have any special abilities that will help me earn extra from the comfort of my home. So why not try being a baker in Japan?”
Was it easy to start her business after studying the lessons at The Bailiwick Academy?
“It definitely wasn’t easy,” Maria shares. “I had to manage my time, plus we can’t forget the monetary part. The first time I tried pandesal, I failed so many times! So many ingredients were wasted.”
She admits that she also didn’t know anything about flour, or the many ingredients in making bread. “I didn’t know what each ingredient was for, or where to buy flavorings or anything! I literally had zero knowledge about baking,” she recalls. “You wouldn’t call me an instant success baker in Japan at all! Although I have baked cakes for my daughter’s birthday and for other special occasions, I sometimes fail. And I really didn’t know who to ask when I do something wrong with my bakes.”
Thankfully, Maria’s daughter helped encourage her to keep going. “She is my number one fan,” Maria beams, “and is also my top critique when it comes to baking. If she says something I made is good, I sell it. But if she’s not sure, I make some changes in the recipe.”
“She was very instrumental in my first cake order – she was very encouraging. She said, “You can do it, mommy. This is your chance to prove to yourself you are not just good but the best. That is why you bought classes right? To make delicious cakes? TBA will be very proud of you.” Maria shares that her daughter called her cake, “beautiful.”
How did TBA help her to be a baker in Japan?
After Maria first got to watch Chef Jimbo’s ensaymada and pandsalitos free demos, she tried making her own. “I tried the recipes, baked, and posted my outputs in that baking Facebook group, and on my own personal Facebook account,” she says. “After that, a friend messaged me regarding my post. She wanted to buy what I made!”
Maria admits that at first, she wasn’t that confident simply because she was new. “However, I did know that I needed to learn and practice techniques right away, even if I had a good recipe,” she says. “After that, I made a PayPal account so I could buy more classes and learn more. All I wanted to do was study and become better! My first two classes were Chef Jimbo’s Roll Cakes class and Chef Joey’s Artisan Ensaymada class. The rest is history.”
What are her clients’ favorite orders?
Maria may have taken plenty of other classes aside from TBA’s baking classes, but she feels proud that all her bestsellers come from TBA. “Our clients’ favorites are pandesal, Spanish bread, and ube cheese pandesal,” she shares. “They also like salted caramel cake, choco moist mousse cake, egg pies, chocolate crinkles, and gourmet cookies.
“And because I have work, I only bake on Friday nights, all the way to Saturday morning,” Maria explains. “I deliver also on Saturday to ensure that everything I bake is fresh.” So because she can’t bake all week long, and because sometimes she takes on other weekend work, her baking time is limited.
However, she is pleasantly surprised that her clients love her products so much that they’re willing to wait for her available baking schedules. “Japanese people are hard to please when it comes to desserts, bread, and pastries because they have the best here. But they always give my bread and cakes a thumbs up. My regular clients are always willing to shoulder the courier charge – they love what I make a lot! I think of their smiling faces every time I bake because I want them to feel happy when they eat my baked goodies. And thank God, they really are always happy. I know it because they send me thank-you messages every after delivery.”
Why did she choose to continue learning with TBA compared to others?
When comparing Bailiwick to other baking and cooking classes, for Maria, TBA, is the best. One thing Maria really loves about TBA is that she can watch classes anytime. “I can watch early in the morning while prepping for work, or listen to the lessons while driving, and even while actually baking!” she marvels. “TBA really fits my lifestyle, because I am always on the go. A full-time employee like me can not afford to go somewhere to study. TBA gave me the opportunity to learn from the comfort of my home.”
She also loves the fact that she can speak to the chefs personally if she has problems with the recipes. “The TBA instructors and chefs respond quickly to every student who encounters problems while baking,” she says. “I remember there was a time I sent Chef Jimbo de Panadero a message showing him the wrinkled and flat ube cheese pandesal at midnight. A real Superman he is, he responded right away. And during some down moments and on days I feel like I am losing my confidence, I listen to Chef Joey’s voice message & words of consolation repeatedly. Plus, the instructors are so kind, sincere, and just so humble.”
More than the quality courses, Maria loves The Bailiwick Academy Student Lounge. “I get to meet new friends who are all so humble and generous with their knowledge,” Maria says. “Every member is so kind and supportive of each other, especially Ms. Grace Parazo! She is so down-to-earth and supportive of even newbies. And I really appreciate the comments of my fellow Bailiwickers when it comes to my creations. They inspire me to strive more and improve myself.”
How did this baker in Japan’s life change after studying TBA lessons?
For Maria, TBA classes really changed her life. “I am very grateful that these classes really helped me and my daughter financially, “she says. “We got through the difficult stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. I also got money to pay for my daughter’s college admission. Although it is still difficult even now, at least I now have extra income from what I love doing.”
Baking has also helped Maria relax. “Since I started purchasing classes, I do not watch TV anymore, which is good, because sometimes, watching TV is depressing,” Maria says ruefully. The lessons became my therapy. I do not really go out, so baking makes me relax and forget life’s everyday woes. And of course, seeing the beautiful goods after making them makes me happy.”
Maria also credits TBA for helping her gain confidence. “I grew up with low self-esteem. But now, I can say that I have changed, especially when I am talking about my products. I can proudly say that my products are not expensive, they’re premium!” she laughs. “I am a true baker – and honestly, finally, call myself a good kind of baker.”
What’s in store for Maria in the future?
For now, Maria plans to just keep earning more for her daughter’s education, and another personal reason: to be able to fly her father to Japan again. “My father has dementia, and it’s getting worse,” Maria explains. “Before he forgets me and my daughter, I want him to visit as many times as possible so we can have more moments together.”
Maria also has the urge to start her own coffee shop soon. “I am looking forward to putting my own coffee shop here someday,” she says. I asked the authorities how to go about it, and learned that I can’t afford to right now. But every time my Japanese friends and fellow Filipinos say, “Invite us to your shop’s opening!” I remind myself it may take time. But it will happen soon.”
Start 2022 strong – enroll at The Bailiwick Academy now!
Were you inspired by our baker in Japan’s story? Want to enroll now in TBA and start earning from baking and cooking If yes, here’s one last thing Maria had to say about enrolling at The Bailiwick Academy:
“Of course, I will recommend TBA. If someone wants to make themselves better, they should join TBA. Here, you will not only learn but you can also earn and dream huge! Every cent is worth spending. That single cent will bring you to places and will lead you to people that you will love as a family. TBA will help you discover the future, better version of YOU!”
Signing up is free. And when you sign up, you’ll get a Php500 voucher, which you can apply to the first class you enroll in. That’s our little gift for you to thank you for trusting us in changing your life.
What are you waiting for? It’s the New Year, which means it’s just the right time for a new you.
Join us now at The Bailiwick Academy and let’s change your life for the better, TODAY!
*Some answers were changed for brevity and clarity.