Budding teen baker launches online business

A trilingual 16-year-old budding baker has launched her own business in St. Albert.

Valeria Fonseca is turning her passion for baking into a home business by offering her cakes for sale online.

“I feel really happy. I am very happy because I have a new business and because the kitchen is my passion,” Fonseca said.

Fonseca’s passion for baking and cooking ignited just one year ago after her parents separated. Fonseca lives with her mom, Catherine Varvas, who after the separation started to take over the family cooking and asked her daughter for help. Fonseca quickly took to cooking and discovered her passion for creating food with her own hands.

Varvas said she loves baking and cooking with her daughter because it makes her happy and calm.

“She dances, she sings – she’s so happy,” the mom said.

Fonseca started watching baking and cooking shows, like Master Chef, and wants to be a chef when she grows up.

The business really took off this year during COVID-19, when the teen had more time at home. Fonseca is doing online learning this year and makes time to bake on Tuesdays and Sundays.

Making the cakes has been good for the teen’s self-esteem.

“People say, ‘A beautiful girl with delicious cakes,’ and I am so proud,” Fonseca said.

Fonseca began her cake-making venture by baking one for a friend, who remarked that the cakes were delicious. The friend suggested the family make a video of Fonseca making the cakes to promote her baking skills, and after the video was posted to Facebook, the family got very positive feedback. 

“People had a very good reaction and liked the cakes,” Varvas said.

Fonseca said her favourite cake to make is a red fruit cake, with strawberries, blackberries and blueberries. The teen is also passionate about cooking, loves to make Mexican food and hopes to specialize in cooking that cuisine when she is older.

Fonseca, who speaks English as a third language, moved to St. Albert two years ago. The family is originally from Columbia but emigrated to Montreal five years ago.

Varvas said the family left Montreal to find more inclusive education for her daughter, who has Down Syndrome. Back home in Colombia, Fonseca was learning alongside all of the other children in a classroom and getting an inclusive education, but in Montreal they didn’t have that same experience. So Varvas moved the family to Alberta so Fonseca could have the very best education possible.

“We came to Alberta and we’ve found the door open, and we are so happy here,” Varvas said.

To order Fonseca’s cakes, you can visit Valecakes on Facebook.

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