How does a medical office assistant end up with a vegetable and fruit carving business, get a chance to showcase her skills at a famous Riu hotel in the Dominican Republic and possibly on a television show?
This inspiring story is about one of my vegetable and fruit carving students/customers, Aneta Lekas. If you follow my blog, you may recall that I featured Aneta’s vegetable and fruit arrangements in a previous post. I recently received more beautiful photos of her latest vegetable and fruit carvings, plus some exciting news that I wanted to share with you. I think you will find her story truly uplifting.
Aneta Lekas’ Vegetable and Fruit Carving Story
Aneta’s vegetable and fruit carving story began about 16 years ago. As a new immigrant to Canada, she found work as a banquet server for several different catering companies. The experience provided her with valuable learning opportunities about the food industry. One day, while she was at work, her supervisor asked her to arrange a fruit platter for the buffet. Aneta recalls feeling quite surprised by this because she felt inexperienced compared to some of the other servers. Luckily, like the heroine in any success story, Aneta decided to embrace the opportunity instead of turning down a challenge!
The other servers gladly helped her and taught her how to garnish her fruit platter with carved pineapple birds. Aneta showed an affinity for vegetable and fruit carving instantly and started using her imagination and creativity to make more fruit flower arrangements for other events. Aneta’s skill started gaining some recognition:
“Over the years, I also got my own clients who would call me to help them with their house parties. Banquets ware perfect job for many years since I had two small kids.”
This was Aneta’s first foray into turning her passion for vegetable and fruit carving into profit. However, working nights and weekends for banquet events was tiring for a young mother with two children. So Aneta put her vegetable and fruit carving business aside in order to get her medical office assistant diploma. She began working in an office job and only did vegetable and fruit carving platters and displays for friends.
It was about two years ago, when Aneta was on vacation at a Riu hotel in the Dominican Republic, that she saw vegetable and fruit carving displays that inspired her again.
What came next was an unexpected misfortune that may have been a blessing in disguise – Aneta was laid off from her job at a Naturopathic doctor’s office. She had to think of ways to work from home but was unsure about what to do.
The answer came to her on a vacation at another Riu hotel in Mexico. On her trip, Aneta learned to carve watermelons and was again inspired by all the amazing vegetable and fruit carving displays she saw at the resort. When Aneta returned to Canada, she began to practice and sharpen her skills in vegetable and fruit carving, as well as arranging fruit platters.
As Aneta explains it,
“…people got to know my fruit platters. By word of mouth I got some clients for weddings, baby showers etc.”
Take a look at some of Aneta’s vegetable and fruit carving platters. Pretty arent’ they?
Aneta has even had the opportunity to make vegetable and fruit carving displays at the famous Riu Mambo in the Dominican Republic:
Riu Hotels always present beautiful carvings on their buffets. Everyday, something new and amazing. Visiting those places inspired me to do carvings. I had the privilege to do some carvings for one of them – Riu Mambo in Dominican Republic. I am attaching some pictures of my work.”
What a great opportunity for Aneta to showcase her vegetable and fruit carving skills!
Aneta wanted to share a video of the amazing vegetable and fruit carving from the Riu Mambo that inspired her to pursue her own vegetable and fruit carving business:
An Exciting Opportunity for Aneta’s Vegetable and Fruit Carving Business
In a recent e-mail. Aneta shared with me some exciting opportunities for her vegetable and fruit carving venture:
Thanks for all your lessons. I have been so busy that it took me long time to go through all of the 101 lessons….However, using your techniques I have been able to experience lots of ‘WOWs’. Lately I had an opportunity to present my carvings in front of three judges who would decide about the future of my business. They, as well as an audience loved it. I hope you will hear about my carvings more soon.”
Aneta explained that the province of Ontario in Canada has a program (Ontario Self Employment Benefit Program) for people who would like to start their own small business. In order to qualify, the applicant goes through a process that involves research and market surveys to determine the viability of their business idea. After completing that process, Aneta presented her vegetable and fruit carving and fruit platters idea to a committee of three ‘judges’ who would decide on whether or not to support her application into the program.
Here is a photo of Aneta, with her vegetable and fruit carving platters, at her big presentation last week:
Doesn’t she look cool and confident? Although she did say that the experience of presenting was like being in a “Dragon’s Den”!
I was happy to hear the positive reaction of the committee. I got letter from them that they did support my application. I hope the ministry will do too and they will accept me for the program. … I really hope to get into that program so I can concentrate on carving instead of looking for an office job. I should have the answer this or next week.”
In meantime, I met a Canadian TV producer on, who, after seeing my artistic fruits, showed interest in doing TV episodes about my unique carvings. So maybe in summer time he will start on that.”
We are all cheering for you Aneta – way to go!
I Hope Aneta’s Story Will Inspire You to Achieve Your Own Vegetable and Fruit Carving Success
Thanks to Aneta for sharing her inspiring story with us. I look forward to seeing more of her vegetable and fruit carving and beautiful fruit platters!
Whether you are learning vegetable and fruit carving for fun or to pursue a potential business, I hope Aneta’s story will motivate you to achieve your goals – happy carving!