Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Cake Sublime

Near the end of training, just before your final exams and you leave school to go out to practice your skills upon the world, pastry students create a wedding cake. This project represents a culmination of many techniques they have learned throughout their studies. And part of what makes the project so fun is that the lower level class presents a theme for the graduating class to work with.

A fictitious wedding book, filled with information about the bride and groom, the wedding colors, wedding gown, bridesmaids dresses, table decorations, music, etc. is put together by the lower class. The soon-to-be graduating students design and create a cake that draws upon the information they have been given as if they were working with a real client.

The most recent graduating evening Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday class presented their cakes at the end of May. They were given the theme of a summer Napa Valley wedding. The bride's bouquet had orchids, calla lilies, roses, and fiddlehead fern.The colors were gold, orange, purple, and Cabernet.

Once the cakes were finished and ready for presenting, the students from the lower level are invited to view the cakes. They then have the chance to vote as a class on the cake that they think most fits the theme they presented. When I walked around to look at the cakes on parade, it reminded me of something Jacques Pepin said in one of his demos, "You don't need to try to be different or unique. If a group of people were given the same assignment, it would come out differently with each person in the group, even if they tried to do it exactly the same. We are by default unique and individual." And this definitely came out in this project. Cakes varied by style, inspiration, and construction. Many of the cakes drew on the flowers in the bridal bouquet. Some drew only from the colors or added touches to suggest the vineyard location. Viewing the students creativity and what they had learned in just nine months was enthralling.I can't wait to see what the next graduating class has up their chef jacket sleeves.

Music from the video was composed by Aoi Natsume (who is also on the piano in this piece) from the T/TH/S evening level 1 class and was included in the wedding book presented to the level 2 students. She was born and raised in Okinawa, Japan, and initially trained in traditional Okinawan folk arts before heading to London to study Western classical music and jazz. You can find more of her work on or follow her on her blog, where she records her original poems and hiakus.

Spring 2010 presenting students:
Ana Ceron
Sherri Annelle Chevalier
Mei Chin
Elizabeth Cintron
Justine Delaney
Leslie Dowling
Kirstin Ferguson
Stephanie Gallardo
Sze Man Ho
Brian Holland
Erica Kase
Matthew Raska
Marcia Santiago
Karia Senior
Sossa Starshine
Samantha Stephens
Chayanee Swadtayawong
Andrea Vargo
Ashley Zachmann

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