Chinese cake artist stuns the world with historical fondant art

By Guan Weiwei
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, March 27, 2018
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In November 2017, Zhou Yi and his team won three gold and two bronze medals at the Cake International, a world famous cake competition held in the UK. Inspired by Chinese culture, Zhou Yi has a lot to tell about the edible artworks that have gone viral on the internet in China.

Zhou Yi, nicknamed "Sugar King" by his 410,000 followers on Sina Weibo, a Chinese version of Twitter, started making fondant cakes six years ago after his graduation from a cooking school in China's Sichuan Province. Hoping to promote Chinese culture to the world through his fondant works, most of his figure creations of fondant art originated from traditional Chinese culture. "Empress Wu Zetian" was one of them, standing out from more than 1,500 cakes from all over the world and grabbing the top prize at the 2017 Cake International in Birmingham, UK.

"I have watched a lot of movies and TV shows about Empress Wu Zetian. Many people focus only on how Wu Zetian has succeeded in becoming China's only female emperor. But few people pay attention to her soft side as a woman," says Zhou, who shared his unique perspective on the historical figure that inspired his fondant works. 

The road to success is not smooth. A cake artist has to have well-rounded knowledge in many different areas to make it work. "I have to know about anatomy to make a perfect ‘skeleton and muscles' to build the body; I also need to learn plastic surgery, makeup skills and hairdressing. For example, when making a historical female figure, we have to check a lot of information about what women's hair accessories looked like in ancient times," Zhou explains.

As the Chinese saying goes, "It is better to travel ten thousand miles than to read ten thousand books." Zhou insists on tapping inspiration and innovation through reaching out to the outside world, and that's why Zhou participated in the 2017 Cake International competition. "For one thing, reaching out lets more people know about you and your country; second, it's a learning process. We can bring new elements from abroad to our cultural creations," adds Zhou.

"For a craftsman like me, there are two things one should always keep in mind. One is to keep improving their craftsmanship, and the other is to endure loneliness," says Zhou Yi. Wishing to make more fondant cakes as an ambassador of Chinese culture, Zhou is determined to promote his works on the international stage. 

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