Chris Holmes, an immigration officer for Border Force at Stansted Airport, handed in his resignation yesterday on a cake, beautifully piped in neat black letters on a flawless page of white royal icing.
“The writing was quite fiddly,” he says (he had practised on a sheet of paper). “I would have done it a bit neater if I’d known it was going to go viral.”
Addressing his letter “To The Management”, Holmes writes in upright and looping script:
“Having recently become a father I now realise how precious life is and how important it is to spend my time doing something that makes me, and other people, happy. For that reason, I hereby give notice of my resignation, in order that I may devote my time and energy to my family, and my cake business.”
Holmes, 31, who lives in Sawston, Cambridgeshire, is otherwise known as Mr Cake, in the baking business that he has been building up in his spare time over the past two or three years. He arrived for his day job at Stansted on Monday with his large rectangular passion cake in a box – “a spiced carrot cake with pecans and sultanas and coconut” – and a resignation letter, and handed over both at once to the duty manager sitting on the podium behind the immigration desks.
The manager and his colleagues “were surprised and amazed”, Holmes says. “But they took it very well. It was a huge cake. Ten by 12 inches, with about 18 eggs in it.” He made it in two parts, splicing them together with orange icing. “The people who tasted it say it was very nice,” said Toby Allanson, a spokesman for Border Force.
Holmes, who became a father five weeks ago when his son, Benjamin, was born, came up with the plan to bake a resignation cake six months ago, when his wife was still pregnant.
He told no one about his idea, but kept it in his head, quietly thinking it over, cooking it through, until it too had reached its full term. “Timing-wise, it’s quite a risk [to launch a business] with the economy as it is at the moment. But I have looked at the books time and again and every way I look at it, it is viable as a sole employment.” He chose a passion cake, he says, because “it was quite an appropriate choice, given I was following my passion.
If it all goes to plan, Ben is to thank for giving me that kick to get on and do something I have a passion for.” He will be repaid with a wonderful first birthday cake, already in the planning.
Holmes’s phone has been ringing and emails pinging all day, he says. But so far there have been no requests for resignation cakes. At his former employer’s office, meanwhile, there is still some cake left. “He leaves with our very best wishes,” says the assistant director of Border Force at Stansted