Amanda McClements had a great idea… Throw a s’mores party on valentines day! To make it even more fun she didn’t go with your average grocery store variety of marshmallows and graham crackers, she got a variety of freshly made marshmallows from me (via Buzz Bakery) and some beautiful heart shaped graham crackers from Polly Style. From the looks of things they had a great time!
Kyle loves pasta and he did an amazing job of using the LivingSocial pop up to share that with lots of new people. He made everything from red fife ravioli, (he milled his own fife in a small mill he bought for the kitchen,) to blood tagliatelli, (he actually replaced some of the water in the past with pigs blood. My favorite was the blood tagliatelli served with roasted pork, pine nuts, blood orange, pecorino and garlic bread crumbs. Delicious!
For dessert I did a light buttermilk sorbet with passion fruit cream and marinated green apples. I thought after 4 courses of pasta and beer people might be a little full. I opted to give all the guests a small key lime-poppy seed muffin to take home and enjoy the next morning.
Today it was announced that I am a semi-finalist for a 2012 James Beard Award for Best Pastry Chef. What an honor. This has been a dream of mine for 12 years. It truly humbles me and reminds me to continue to work hard and strive for greatness. It also reminds me of how lucky I am to have such a wonderful staff of cooks and sous chefs working with me. Without them, I am nothing but a gal that likes to bake.
I am also so grateful for the army of people that have pushed me to do better than I thought I could. Every guest that thanked me, journalist that wrote about me or award that I was honored with just pushed me to make sure I proved them right. It is a constant uphill battle to do more and be better but having a support system like this makes the impossible possible (and fun!)
Fingers crossed for top 5.
I was invited to a disco themed party and asked to bring a “simple cake.” So of course the obviously simple choice was to make a disco ball shaped cake, right?
Several hours and lots of silver dust later I ended up with a pretty awesome cake! Katy (my head cake decorator,) had the brilliant idea to make the bottom half of the cake out of rice krispies. It was brilliant for 2 reasons: rice krispies are super stable to hold the rounded bottom of the cake. And, the birthday girl is allergic to wheat but she can have rice krispies. The cake looked great in the shop but when I set it up with cassette tape cupcakes it all came to together in a pretty impressive, decade-appropriate way.
No pictures, just excited and wanted to share. Did they have the Chocolate Tart or the Passion Fruit Cheesecake? I’ll never tell. But I sure am honored and I hope they enjoyed it.
Happy belated Valentine’s Day!
One thing I love about my job is there is always more to learn. I wanted to try a new decorating technique and decided to use a mosaic pattern on a cake. It takes patience but, as usual, I was happy I took the time to make it because I really love how it turned out! I felt like it captured the inspirational mosaic I was basing the design on but still had the light and springy look I was going for.
I’m a pretty busy gal and because of this I do very few fundraising events each year. I really make sure I pick events that benefit organizations I feel strongly about. One event I ALWAYS make sure I am a part of is Sugar and Champagne. Puppies and Pastries are two of my favorite things. Throw in a great cause that benefits the Washington Humane Society and I can’t resist. And this year the VIP had the addition of a table featuring 6-7 different varieties of Whiskey and Scotch (another one of my favorite things so at this point I was in heaven).
Alex, my sous chef, and I did a dessert table spread featuring French macarons, cupcakes, truffles and, of course, dog treats. Katy, my cake decorator, and I combined forces to design a beautiful cake as a centerpiece for the table. On a whim we did a live auction and ended up raising an additional $400 for the Humane Society. Pretty amazing. Can’t wait for next year.