Thank You Sandra Lee - An Open Letter

Dear Sandra Lee,

You don't know me, and I was unaware of your existence until earlier today, and that's only because I'm a small business owner that works every day of the week.

After a hard week of baking, I sit down on the weekend with a bowl of homemade guacamole (from scratch) and a bag of shop bought nachos (see, even I'm halfway home-making!) to power me through working on my website. So today I was surprised to see a major spike in my website hits and thought the worst again...some revival of blogger blackmail or negative press rearing its ugly head.

We dug around looking for what this could have been and found your Facebook post with a photo of our Alice in Wonderland cake displayed at Selfridges in London.

The most expensive ingredient in our cakes is not the Belgian chocolate, pure dairy butter, almonds, vanilla pods's TIME. Time to imagine, time to create, time to practice and time to perfect. We noticed a sudden spike in traffic to our website and after a lil sleuthing it appears to be because of this post by @sandraleeonline who posted an image of our display Alice in Wonderland cake in Selfridges. I don't know who Sandra Lee is and while I thank her for sharing our work (uncredited) and am flattered by some of the comments, a proportion of the misguided comments are also very sad. I'm sure someone can replicate this and do it a lot cheaper, but we made it first and that's our point of difference. Innovation and improvisation leads the way, while imitation seldom does, or so I say to myself anyway. In the great words of John Ruskin, "There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey." For anyone curious about "how much of a fortune" this cake costs, the link is in profile 😜 And to all the finger pokers and decoration pickers...look what you have doneeeeeeee to my babyyyyyyy. It's now social-media famous full of finger marks!!! 😭😭😭

A photo posted by Reshmi Bennett (@angesdesucre) on

While I am flattered by your kind comment on how beautiful the cake is (despite all the finger pokes) I am more insulted by your choice of conjunction following said compliment - you see, nothing complimentary ever follows a big BUT. Furthermore, you chose to use my work as comment bait by throwing it out there to your following as a "ooh let's have fun guessing the price" game. You did nothing to research the brand, the work, what goes into making this cake, the size, where you found it or anything of any constructive merit. You simply got a rise out of people and used my work as bait for Facebook interaction fodder. And that's cheap. Much like your supermarket angel sponge cake. And much like my dig just then.
Alice in Wonderland three tiered cake
Apparently you're a Food Network "star", some authority on achievable and affordable fabulous food. Whatever you are, you have a certain level of influence and that influence gives you some power. It's not fair to use that power to abuse those who aren't in possession of the same, i.e. lil ol' me. It's belittling, and crass.

It's no surprise that my post on your page has gained you the most interaction you have seen in a while - negativity spreads like hot butter. But why do you want to do that? To reinforce your own "cheap and cheerful" ethos? Could you not have done that without using my product as a sacrificial lamb to the slaughter? Think you and I both know that the answer to that is no. And that dear Sandra, is really really sad.
Alice in wonderland cake
I've been told I should thank you for your kind comments and to request you to tag me. I think I'll pass as I've got what I could've hoped for from this exposure - some lovely new followers, Google juice, and a hilarious YouTube video on Kwanzaa cake. Plus, I also got to indulge in the most narcissistic thing in digital comms after the selfie...and that's writing an open letter ;) so thank you.

Yours truly,
Reshmi (no xoxo for you)

3 Responses



September 17, 2017

Well done for calling this woman out, but even more kudos for doing it with style and flair!



July 13, 2016

Brilliantly written and all totally true. I make cakes as a ‘hobby business’ when I have time after my ‘day job’. Before embarking on cake making and decorating I had no idea the amount of effort and creativity that truly goes into it. And – my goodness – it does.

More than not, I spend hours…days…weeks… conceptualising, planning, researching, designing, buying ingredients, buying accessories, baking, icing, decorating – and everything else in between – for one cake. It’s not just ‘cake’, the type of cakes you produce are art and trolls/haters are clearly too obtuse to recognise this… or the extent of work that oviously goes into them.

Personally, I think you undercharge!

You’re incredibly talented and I LOVE looking at your pictures on Instagram.

I really do hope you don’t let these idiots get you down. xxx

Paula Gail Holler

Paula Gail Holler

July 11, 2016

I applaud you 100%! We small bakers stick together.

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