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Steve Klc

50+ wedding cakes in Grand Central Station

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That's right, next week smack dab in the middle of Grand Central Station there will be 50 very diverse cakes on display by top wedding cake artists from all over the country, including some eGulleteers. It's not so much a formal event, but an informal free public exhibition--and it promises to be an impressive assemblage of talent and creativity. Too often there's a sameness in other wedding cake events, rarely do the "judges" of the prestigious events and the most creative artists, be they more traditional or more progressive, get together to display work. It's organized by Maria McBride-Mellinger of Brides Magazine, and if you have ever looked in any of her books, you know she's open-minded and has a very keen eye (with a talented staff) so I'm fairly certain this will be the most diverse and visually interesting assemblage of cakes this country has seen.

Colleen and I plan to take pictures, and we'll report back after the event--and I'm taking pictures now, planning to post later on this thread about how to prepare for something like this, how to transport the cake to the photoshoot, how to build a cake box (insulated in my case since I'm doing a cake with chocolate decor) those kinds of things, not so much how to make a flower, etc.

I haven't seen a list of everyone involved, but Maria told me Kerry Vincent will be there because she's doing a public demonstration in the big hall on Tuesday at 2PM. I only know that because I'm doing the demo right after her at 3PM. That'll probably be the only day I can get away from DC to be there. One e-mail I received was copied to Jan Kish, Margaret Braun, Betty van Norstrand, Gail Watson, Dimitri Fayard, Michelle Bommarito, and Sylvia Weinstock--so I know they're coming--and I'm sure someone with more time will find the official link and list eventually.

There hasn't been a group assembled like this in a long time--with the national folks joining the NYC folks. There was a special event in DC back when the Smithsonian celebrated its 150th anniversary, and they invited 18 top national pastry chefs and cake artists each to create an anniversary cake themed around a particular Smithsonian museum--folks like Colette Peters, Norman Love, Stan Ho, Rosemary Littman, Toba Garrett came to town, some locals like Ann Amernick and I were asked as well and then all the cakes were displayed for a few days while a hundred thousand or so folks on the Mall marched past. Hundreds of thousands if not a million people will see these, I just hope 1) it doesn't get too warm and 2) that it isn't a stampede.

Vanderbilt Hall, 42nd & Park entrance will be the best, I'm told. See you Tuesday.


Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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something like this, how to transport the cake to the photoshoot, how to build a cake box (insulated in my case since I'm doing a cake with chocolate decor) those kinds of things, not so much how to make a flower, etc.

This is great Steve, so many times you find info on how to make parts of the cake for an event, or you see these great events in food mags with celebrity chefs and all their mis en place sent to them half a country away from their restaurant. And you really never here about the other how-to's of the behind the scenes stuff... like packing for traveling.

I really look forward to seeing how you guys operate.

Thanks for this!

Tim


Timothy C. Horst

www.pastrypros.com

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If I lived in the area I'd be there in a heartbeat. Thanks for posting the information and I'm looking forward to seeing your photographs! :smile:

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Ooooo, I'll most definitely be there. And taking LOTS and LOTS of photos!

Thanks for the info., Steve.

Is there a schedule of the various demos somewhere?


Sherri A. Jackson

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Damn, double damn! For times like this I wish I were independantly wealthy and could just fly there on a whim to look at all this first hand. Thanks in advance for everyone sharing photos, both of the finished pieces and behind the scenes!

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I agree on the wealth statement.

I wish I could get away too, hmmm let's see don't I need to visit some of our offices there for some reason.... :wacko: This is the time when having a corporate job alongside your own business does have its benefits. If only the timing were right for a business trip. :wink:

I can't wait to see the pictures and read also.


Believe, Laugh, Love

Lydia (aka celenes)

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Hey Steve, If you're still there--the 10 day forecast says for the 24th, 25th & 26th, it's 70 degrees 67 degrees and 69 degrees for the highs--outside anyway--it should stay cool in the station??!! Also light rain the 26th--take a raincoat, dude!!

Probably no stampede unless you start serving the cake!! :laugh:


Edited by K8memphis (log)

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I'll be going on the 24th. One of my buddies will have a cake on display.

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Ooooh! I wish I was closer so I could go see all the incredible cakes! Have a great time and take lots of pictures (at least 50 :biggrin: ) Looking forward to seeing the pictures!

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Steve or anyone else,

Could you give some more info as to what time it starts and if the demos are everyday. Not much info on the Brides' magazine website. :unsure:

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You're welcome! I'll be going, as well, and I look forward to seeing (and hopefully, tasting) all of the gorgeous cakes! I can hardly wait.......


Happy Baking! Sarah Phillips, President and Founder, http://www.baking911.com

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So, as a tease, here are three pictures from today--my day off began at 6AM with a 4 hour drive from DC to the NoHo studio of photographer Michael Grand so he could shoot my Cakewalk cake, it was cool the whole way, 59 degrees, as Kate predicted so my trip ending up being easy. His loft was maybe 60 feet by 35 feet and it was already packed with cakes--it was split into two functional halves--the right side was where he lit and shot the cakes, the left was where all the cakes were lined up on cardtables, four rows of about 10 cakes each, with stylists assembling them. Most of the designers had shipped them or dropped them off and Maria's team was busy assembling them and repairing any damage so Michael could shoot them. That's 50 or so cakes in two days, which is maybe 10 times the normal amount of cakes a pro would shoot in a day. Still, this was very professional, I can't tell you the number of times I've been involved with pastry events and competitions where NO thought was given to capturing any of our work adequately on film or digitally. En masse, the cakes will then be installed in Grand Central on Monday by Maria and her team.

I have no idea who these cakes belong to, we'll all have to wait until the official unveiling at Grand Central, but Maria and her savvy team do--that's because the minute you walked into the studio they took a Polaroid of your cake and labelled it so there was no confusion later. The Polaroid stayed with your cake. I'm guessing there were 30 cakes from out of town--based on the number of boxes lying around--and most people shipped their decor separately from the fondant covered tiers--and sent along a picture of the cake the way they'd like it assembled. If your fondant is dry, this method can work well. Just remember you are not looking at complete cakes--most of these still had decor to be placed on them and had not been photographed yet.

Here's a wall o' cake shot to give you a sense of the East half of the studio, a shot of Michael and his great assistant just outside their "tent" on the West half, and how they kept track of their progress by posting a Polaroid of each cake that had been shot. Mine was number 15:

gallery_347_1268_3039.jpg

gallery_347_1268_13242.jpg

gallery_347_1268_37825.jpg

I didn't dare walk down any of the aisles between cakes, there was maybe 2 feet of room. You can't see it in this picture, but Maria was ensconced on the far wall with her iMac, keeping track of everything, nailing down final logistics, talking on her cell phone, resolving delivery problems. I can't imagine how difficult it would be to coordinate 50 "bakers" as Maria likes to call all of us for an exhibition like this. More later.

Another 4 hour drive and I was back home. I have a menu change tomorrow at one of the restaurants and have to get ready.


Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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Lovely. Simply lovely.

Beautifully photographed, WELL coordinated, etc.

A couple of questions, when you get a minute:

Having transported and set up quite a few little amateur efforts back in my younger days, what is the process---LOFT to me connotes up a LOT of stairs. Did someone have to lug all the parts UPUPUP, assemble the cakes, photograph, and WILL THEY BE DISMANTLED for the trip DOWN, into the vans, off to the station, to be reassembled on site? How does this mesh with frosting applications for the photographs?

I just have visions of two people struggling down flights of steps 50 times with an enormous, delicate creation at the mercy of their steady hands and feet.

Also---are the pink "boxes" in one photo the tiers of a square cake? Looked too pretty to be just wrapping.

Kudos to all for the beautiful cakes and all the logistical work it takes to put on a display of this magnitude. Looking forward to more photos!!! One of each!!!

rachel

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Fun pictures-- They really whet my appetite for this show! You must be excited and proud, not to mention TIRED from all that travelling!

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I didnt see a demo chef schedule,

Steve?


"Chocolate has no calories....

Chocolate is food for the soul, The soul has no weight, therefore no calories" so said a customer, a lovely southern woman, after consuming chocolate indulgence

SWEET KARMA DESSERTS

www.sweetkarmadesserts.com

550 East Meadow Ave. East meadow, NY 11554

516-794-4478

Brian Fishman

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So, as a tease, here are three pictures from today...

...Mine was number 15...

Very funny, 14 pictures. :rolleyes:

Wow though what a pain in the boo--it's bad enough delivering one tier cake--make that two deliveries times 50--not to mention each individual delivery from the cake artist. Oh man that's a big load of stress.


Edited by K8memphis (log)

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Thank you for noticing that Kate. I wanted to give our forum something but didn't want to diminish the official unveiling--and that's why I stressed that those cakes I did happen to tease with weren't necessarily finished. Bri, I haven't had time to followup about the demo schedule, I'm not involved in the organization of this, but remember--these demos are going to be for the layman, to grab the attention of the typical commuter walking by, and are not geared for other pros, though I think we all can learn from any level demo. I get questions all the time from students and chefs about how to get involved, how do you get asked to be involved with events like this, etc. and one of the ways you do get asked is to get out there and let media and other chefs get to know you--when you're given an opportunity to be involved in an event you do it and you do it well. So for me, rachel and cakesuite especially, being tired wasn't even a concern, everyone in the biz is tired and scrambling just to fit everything in they can but there's a limited window when you work on your feet and with your hands. In my case I was flattered to be asked for several reasons: because I think it's important to raise public awareness of chocolate as a medium on wedding cakes, it's important for there to be a DC presence in NYC and nationally (I think I may be the only one invited from DC-MD-VA), and though it's been my restaurant work for Jose Andres that has gotten more attention of late, I'll always have elegant cakes in my heart.

In my case I decided not to ship my cake--chocolate is not as resilient as sugar--I think most of the cake artists did ship their cake and styled a cake with separately-packed sugar decor which could be shipped: gum paste and pastillage is much more resilient than you might think. I have no idea how Maria and her team plan to deliver all of the cakes to Grand Central today--but I'll be driving up from DC and bringing mine over around 2PM. (I asked for, and was granted, an exception because I was doing chocolate--which required greater care, temperature sensitivity.) And though the studio (front entrance on Broadway) was on the 9th floor--there was a very nice freight elevator in back--on Crosby Street--which I had no trouble double-parking the Subaru wagon on, whipping out my $40 Costco flatbed, putting the insulated/boxed cake on it, and sending it up the elevator with one of Maria and Michael's assistants. I asked for their studio number ahead of time, and called them from my cell as I turned onto Crosby so they could meet me at the elevator. That took three minutes, then I went to park. I had to do Thursday's photoshoot by myself, the real talent in this relationship (chefette) couldn't get away from DC for this--normally one of us would have stayed with the cake and the other parked.

I have more behind-the-scenes images I'll probably start posting tonight and then this opens tomorrow so anyone can post their favorite full-on shots. There were 5 or 6 cakes that I saw (when I was in the studio) that I thought were really, really special, but again, most were not finished yet by the stylist. I believe you will be able to view the cakes tonight in Vanderbilt Hall, though they might be covered up somehow until tommorow.

Other q's: those pink boxes were not cakes, those seemed to be gift bags, props or giveaways probably for the event itself--the assistants working on those were relegated to one small corner; also realize this would have been much more stressful and tiring if we were talking about displaying real cakes and not artwork on styrofoam. That means significantly less chance of something tall and architectural toppling over, that you could use a glue gun, we're talking a few pounds rather than 50 pounds+ and these cakes won't be cut or tasted. I think there is a tasting element but I wasn't asked to serve any samples, just demo. Oh, and one upside to travelling is you get to listen to your iPod for 4 hours straight, which doesn't happen that often.


Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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Maria's food stylist hard at work getting one cake after another ready for their closeups--she's the unsung hero behind all those who shipped cakes cross country:

gallery_347_1282_38695.jpg

gallery_347_1282_40297.jpg

The floor of the studio stacked with shipping boxes labelled just like this

gallery_347_1282_14971.jpg

Michael shooting my cake in the negative:

gallery_347_1282_38863.jpg

And here's my cake in the foreground just after taking it out of its insulated box to check for breakage and before adding the final touches. Since I was by myself on this trip, I took the chance of putting a lot of decor on ahead of time:

gallery_347_1282_39618.jpg

It had just been ID'd with a polaroid.


Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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Very beautiful cake Steve! Just a couple of questions if you don't mind.

1. Do you cover your cakes with chocolate?

2. Do you have a close up photo of your flowers that you could post for us?

Thank you so much for taking the time to pass this event on to the rest of us!

It's events like this that I wish I had unlimited finances :smile:

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I'll look for you, Steve. I plan to arrive at around 11am tomorrow. Your dedication shows, and I'm looking forward to meeting you!

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Colleen and I are going to show how to make those flowers during the demo and I'll try to remember to take some closeup and process shots. I found out on site last night that I can't do the demo with tempered chocolate that we had planned--turns out no approval of electricity for either a microwave or induction burner was granted--so we're going to change gears this morning and prep for modelling chocolate techniques (and just bring all the tempered elements done in advance.)

The list of "bakers" is up:

http://www.brides.com/cakewalk/


Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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