ALEXANDRIA, Va. (ABC7) — “I always look at life as a growing experience and for me, I’m not going to let a year of COVID stifle my life. I still want to progress. I still want to achieve things and I still want to contribute something.”
Carl Lee recently started baking cakes professionally from his kitchen in Alexandria.
“I’d been looking for something for a little bit of work life balance.”
He spends his weekdays as an IT program manager and his weekends baking.
“It has been really fun. At times I have that moment of 'Am I really doing this?'”
He started by just baking cakes for family and friends, putting each cake through his own focus groups.
“I would send the samples every weekend and get feedback and that is how I perfected the recipe over the last three months.”
The reviews were good.
“People started texting me on the weekends that I wasn’t even baking.”
In a very short time, Carl, who is legally blind, has already mastered the art of baking cakes.
“It doesn’t seem like something that someone is legally blind would do, I do have partial sight, so I have measuring cups with larger numbers on them, I do premeasure because that is a little easier when I’m baking, so I’ve kind of perfected the effort of the years.”
And it was those efforts that led him to his first customers besides family and friends.
“I just opened the business right before Thanksgiving and someone ordered two cakes that they were going to use as part of their Thanksgiving. So, all day Thursday all I could think about was, 'are they enjoying my cakes?' Someone actually trusted my business to create cakes for them for their family for Thanksgiving.”
Carl later followed up with them via email. With that, another positive review for Carl's Comforts.
“It’s a very humbling experience when you can create joy for people through baking and your food.”
For someone who has two degrees in journalism, Carl’s passion is communicating with others. He looks at his cakes as one more way to make a connection during these difficult times.
“The passion is people and connection, and this is one avenue through baking to connect with people and hopefully help them connect with family and friends.”
Connecting through cake. Something all of us can get behind.
"It is a way to connect and live passion and connect and bring joy to folks.”