How Two Bakers Use Their Passion to Do Good

The year-end SPD Charity Bake Sale features 23 homebakers, each bringing with them their signature treats while doing their part of charity. We speak to two bakers – Risa Wijaya [...]

With the holiday season fast approaching, the SPD Charity Bake Sale is back again to satisfy your sweet tooth. Happening from 15 November to 17 December, the bake sale features 23 bakers, each bringing with them their signature treats while doing their part of charity. We speak to two bakers – Risa Wijaya and Chua Zong Han – to find out more about their journeys and what we can expect from them in this bake sale.

Baking with a Heart

For home baker Risa Wijaya, baking has always been her first love. What sparked her passion was the amazing process of how different ingredients can come together to create delicious and delightful treats.

So even though she had no oven when she was younger, it did not stop her from foraying into baking. Under the guidance of her late grandmother who taught her several steamed bakes, Risa’s very first baking conquest was steamed cupcakes made with 7-Up soda.

“My grandmother had lots of recipes that use the steaming method, but I have only succeeded in making the steamed soda cupcakes,” shared Risa. “But ever since I got myself an oven, I started doing a lot of trial baking of other products.”

Light brown cornflake cookies on trays and dark brown chocolate cookies in transparent containers
Some of Risa’s creations – cornflake cookies and dark chocolate cookies. Photos via Risa Wijaya/Instagram

Fast forward to today, the 36-year-old runs a home-based business @sasawhisk, selling her sweet treats. What began as a part-time business soon turned into a full-time venture, as Risa left her day job as a chemist to focus on her business in 2018.

The support from her loved ones and customers has been a big driving force in Risa’s journey as a home baker. To pay it forward, Risa has always been big on using her baking passion to contribute to community causes.

One of which is SPD’s Charity Bake Sale. First started in 2020, the bake sale brings together a group of home bakers keen to do their bit for charity. Part of the proceeds will go to SPD to support persons with disabilities.

As one of the pioneer bakers from the SPD Charity Bake Sale, Risa is no stranger to the disability cause.

In fact, many of her regular customers would be familiar with her deaf courier, Bobby. Their partnership began during the Circuit Breaker last year, when Risa was searching for a driver to help with deliveries.

“I chanced upon a Facebook post about a group of Grab drivers with disabilities. They were badly affected during the Circuit Breaker and I wanted to help by engaging their services. Thankfully, I managed to find Bobby, who has been helping me with the bake sale deliveries since last year,” said Risa.

As Bobby can only communicate via texts, Risa always makes sure to inform her customers beforehand to ensure smooth deliveries.

“Bobby is very reliable and helpful, ensuring that all deliveries are completed safely. It has been a pleasure to work with him, and I am also grateful for my supportive customers who would graciously tip him sometimes,” she said.

“Through this partnership, Bobby and I have forged a friendship and he would also support my bakes occasionally,” she added.

This year, Risa is back at the SPD Charity Bake Sale with her Signature Cornflake Cookies.

“I find the bake sale to be a very meaningful initiative, so I’ve decided to participate again this year. All of my customers are super supportive of this too and I am very humbled to have sold out my bakes within a few days [in my previous participation],” said Risa.

For those who are keen to get their hands on Risa’s Signature Cornflake Cookies while supporting persons with disabilities, please click here.

Connecting with Others through Food

To 23-year-old Chua Zong Han, food is a form of expression as much as it is a means of enjoyment.

The content creator behind the YouTube channel ZaTaYaYummy, Zong Han specialises in creating and sharing recipes with his followers.

“With each and every encounter in life, I convert my emotions experienced into vivid flavours, whipping up new recipes that not only will tug at one’s heartstrings but also deep into one’s soul as every recipe has a story behind it,” he shared.

Attributing his passion for baking to his mother who used to bake Nonya kuehs and cakes, Zong Han embarked on his baking adventure when he was only 14 years old.

But it was only recently that the avid baker started selling his bakes via his Instagram page @Duo.BakesSG by ZaTaYaYummy.

Scrolling through his Instagram page @zatayayummy, one could not help but be enraptured by the photos of delectable bakes and dishes, each carefully and intricately plated. Such is the pride he has in his work, evident in the beautifully curated Instagram feed.

The baker is also one of the youngest in this year’s SPD Charity Bake Sale.

He was moved to contribute to the cause after a recent bunion surgery, which gave him a glimpse of the difficulties that people with mobility challenges face.

“After the surgery, I clearly recalled that it took me a lot of energy to even stand and walk to the toilet which was just a few steps away due to the intolerable pain. Going to the toilet was already a hassle, let alone showering. I was too disheartened to even shower as I would need to wrap my lower body with a plastic cover because my wound could not touch water,” he said.

“It was one of the lowest points in my life feeling so physically and mentally beaten. It was also unusual for me to walk with a walking frame, and I needed to make sure that I am putting pressure onto it rather than on my feet so the wound can heal properly,” he added.

Photo: Courtesy of Chua Zong Han

The recovery period went on for way longer than expected, and though there were times when Zong Han got frustrated with himself during the process, he was grateful for the patience and support by his physiotherapist.

The first-hand experience of having a mobility challenge, albeit a temporary one, has given him plenty of reflection. He urges all to exercise patience and consideration when interacting with those who are experiencing mobility challenges. To those who are still in the midst of their recovery journey, he encourages them to press on: ” It is okay to feel angry and frustrated with yourself. Just remember that this period will pass, and you will feel better again! Listen to your physiotherapist, do the exercises that you learn in the session, and take plenty of rest. All the best in your recovery journey!”

Photos: Courtesy of Chua Zong Han

As he is now up and about, Zong Han has made his debut at the SPD’s Charity Bake Sale to spread a little joy this holiday season.

“I am very nervous honestly! Singaporeans have high standards when it comes to food so I wanted to offer something unconventional, hence the launch of my Brownie Bottom Basque Burnt Cheesecake. It is not only unique for having duo flavours, it also has no sugar added for a slightly healthier option,” he shared.

“I just hope that people who ordered through this SPD’s Charity Bake Sale would enjoy the cheesecake while at the same time know that they are doing good as part of the proceeds will go to support SPD and persons with disabilities,” he added.

To get a taste of Zong Han’s Brownie Bottom Basque Burnt Cheesecake and do your part for the disability community, please click here.

As we celebrate the season of giving, join us in making a difference in the lives of persons with disabilities by supporting the SPD Charity Bake Sale. Each baker will donate at least 20% of their sales proceeds to SPD for all orders received through this bake sale. You can place your order(s) between 15 November and 17 December 2021. As part of our public education efforts, you will also receive a simplified communication board (with instructions on how to use it) used by people with speech impairment.

To view products from other home bakers, please click here. Alternatively, you can choose to make a donation via here.

Cover photo: Courtesy of Risa Wijaya, Chua Zong Han

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