Being partially blind and having been laid off from his workplace will not discourage 24-year-old pastry chef, Hemarruben.
With the little vision remaining in his left eye, the young pastry chef is now taking a break from his next batch of overwhelming orders for his sweet goods.
According to Free Malaysia Today, Hemarruben was born completely blind in the right eye but has 70% of vision in his left eye.
Currently residing in Sungai Petani, Hemarruben enrolled at the St Nicholas Home for the Blind in 2016 to learn pastry-making and proceeded to do his practical training in Penang in 2017.
“In June 2017, I did my practical training in a hotel in George Town for three months. Then I was off to a hotel along Batu Ferringhi where I worked as a pastry commis.”
Unfortunately in 2018, Hemarruben woke up completely blind and he was forced to pause his career while he figured out how to adapt to this new physical challenge.
“I use eye drops every day now but doctors tell me I cannot have another operation on my left eye as it would only make the vision worse,” he explained, thankful that the earlier operation gave him 40% of the vision in his left eye back.
After recovering from his last eye surgery, Hemarruben was more determined to return to his love for baking. Despite his setbacks, all went well until the pandemic hit and he was retrenched from work in March of 2020.
Instead of dwelling in self-pity, Hemarruben took a chance to start his online baking business – Ruben Pastry, where he bakes at home and receives orders through WhatsApp and Facebook.
“I started Ruben Pastry on June 9. Now Ruben Pastry is about to reach its one-year anniversary,” he said.
With the help of his 78-year-old grandmother who acts as his eyes, Ruben is able to bake daily from 10am to 5pm.
“I can pretty much gauge the colour of the cookies and cakes but she helps me confirm if everything is baked just right.”
Ruben Pastry offers a wide variety of vegetarian baked goods from different kinds of cookies to a wide variety of scrumptious cakes that are bound to satisfy your sweet tooth.
“During Deepavali, I sold 180 tubs of almond chocolate cookies,” he added.
He also adjusts his recipe if customers requested for a less sweet dessert.
Every Sunday, he will spend time on Facebook answering questions and keep in touch with loyal customers, besides promoting new cookies and cakes of his.
Like any other business-owner, Hemarruben still feels anxious from time to time due to the uncertainty of the pandemic in our country.
“Business during the pandemic has been extremely challenging and I fear whenever stricter measures are announced.”