Yoshi is gearing up for his birthday in two weeks. He’s a food critic trapped in a nine-year old body. When I found Bloom, I knew we needed to make a trial visit. Bloom is a new and hugely successful high-end cake shop near my office. It was founded by an Australian wedding cake designer with a mission to rescue trafficked Cambodian women. There’s a lot of that going on here, with girls and women lured into promises of foreign work as maids and assistants who are shipped to Malaysia and Thailand, their identification paper seized, sometimes physically imprisoned by their bosses, unpaid and abused. Well this Australian woman identified potential talent among women rescued (by another NGO) from a trafficking scheme, and spent two years training them up as bakers and cake decorators. Now she’s racing to fill orders for custom cupcakes, marzipan-and-cake handbags, and multi-storied fondant and chocolate-hazelnut wedding cakes covered in edible flowers. Inside the cool tasting room on soft couches surrounded by photo albums of treats, Yoshi was in paradise. He slowly licked the cream cheese and ricotta frosting from his blueberry-crumble cupcake, and Tika nibbled on a marzipan bird. I explained to him in simple terms what the bakery is all about and who is working there. ‘Wow Mom,’ he said thoughtfully. ‘Do you think that’s something I could do?’
And then I realized that I have been way too caught up in math drills and grand theories. This cake-decorating-social-crusader has transformed the lives of fifteen Khmer women with marzipan cupcakes. And maybe God is already clearing a path for Yoshi’s special purpose in this world.