Professional badminton player Yip Pui-yin finds second career in the kitchen

Professional badminton player Yip Pui-yin finds second career in the kitchen

People were surprised when professional badminton player Yip Pui-yin opened up a cake shop, but she's determined to prove she knows how to bake a smashing cake

We are used to seeing Yip Pui-yin serving on the badminton court. We are less familiar with her serving up tasty treats to customers.

But the 2009 East Asian Games gold medallist is also known - among her friends at least - as an impressive pastry chef. Now she plans on spreading the word of her delicious cakes as she pursues a second career.

The 27-year-old may only just be entering the prime of her professional sporting career, but she already has plans for life after badminton.

"I have two dreams: one is to play badminton, the other is to own a cake shop," she says. Baking cakes had been a hobby since school, when she would make cakes for friends' birthdays. But last year, Yip partnered with a chain of shops to open her own cake shop in Tai Koo. She admits her friends and family were puzzled.

"They thought I couldn't do it because baking cakes and playing badminton are very different things.

"But I believe that as long as I stay true to my passion and work hard, I will be successful. They used to doubt my ability to become a professional athlete, and now I am ready to prove them wrong again," she says.

Yip is so crazy about cakes that she is known to spend her days off on cake-eating sprees. It was one such spree that persuaded her she wanted to get more involved in making, and not just eating, delicious cakes.

"One day I was on one my sprees and I had these amazing cakes at a store in Tai Koo. I talked to the owner about his lovely cakes, and when he offered me a chance to become part of his business and I thought 'why not?'" says Yip.

"I had always been thinking about opening a store but I had no idea how to do it. This presented a chance for me to get into the business."

Yip first fell in love with cakes during visits to Japan and France for badminton competitions. You may not think that eating lots of cakes is the best idea for a professional sportsperson, but her coaches say she burns the calories while training.

Her gruelling schedule requires Yip to stay at the Hong Kong Sports Institute to train from Monday to Saturday, so she only gets to visit her shop on Sundays. But she's looking forward to taking a more hands-on approach when she retires.

"Currently my shop is a counter that sells cakes," she says. "My ultimate goal is to open a shop where people can sit and enjoy my cakes."

You can taste Yip's special sugar-free cupcakes at Plaza Hollywood until January 4.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
She's an ace in the kitchen

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