Autism Speaks Celebrity Chef Gala

It was beyond flattering to be asked to participate in this years Autism Speaks Celebrity Chef Gala at the beautiful Cipriani Wall Street.

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The level of talent gathered in this room was enough to make anyone chef star struck. Each team of chef and pastry chef cooked for one table of 10 guests, donating their time, talent and ingredients to make a one of a kind dining experience and raise a lot of cash for a great cause.  Look really close and you’ll see Ted Allen, the evening’s host at the first table, Chef Morimoto making sushi at the second…

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Crazy how I ended up front and center in the class photo!

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The dining room was lined with guest tables, prep tables and 52 ovens all going at once to create a one of a kind event, with chefs cooking table side just for you.

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I was paired with Chef Andrew Zimmerman  of Sepia in Chicago.  The smell in the air was amazing.  He cooked, we waited….

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And finally, I was up…  plating my Pumpkin Fig Cheesecake, adorned with 24K gold leaves.  There may or may not have been a request for second helpings…. can a chef ever ask for a better compliment?

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And never wanting to send people away empty handed, we made these beautiful gift boxes filled with Concorde grape chocolates, macerated figs chocolates, smoked peanut butter cookies, pecan pralines and orange sugar cookies so the sweetness could last and last.

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And I couldn’t have done it without the support and talent of my lovely friend and fellow chef Anina Schulman!

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Looking forward to 2015, and dreaming of what I’ll make then…

Charles James, the Met Gala and Vogue…

Vogue called and asked me to play Barbie!

In honor of the Met Gala’s tribute to the iconic designer Charles James, Vogue asked me and 5 other amazing cake designers to dress Barbie in some of his most stunning couture gowns. They assigned me his Clover Gown.  It was perfect for cake.  And such a fun project I couldn’t wait to dive in.

To start, I did some research on the clover dress and found additional images of front, back and close ups of the bodice that I used to make templates.  Barbie is 11.5 inches, so that was the sizing I used to make the templates.

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The Ultra Rich Butter cake was baked and filled with layers passion fruit buttercream and chilled until firm.

 

carvedI covered Barbie in plastic wrap to keep her clean through the cake carving, and inserted her into the middle of the chilled cake.  Using the templates and Barbie’s shape as guidelines, I carved the cake into the basic shape of the dress.  Three layers of buttercream were added, chilling the cake to set in between until I had a smooth surface.

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Using the original templates I made patterns for the dress.  I mixed half fondant and half gumpaste  to give the fondant enough strength to be lifted and applied to the cake without pulling out of shape.  I colored that an ivory to match the photos of the gown.  Using the patterns, I cut out 4 pieces to make up the skirt and applied them at the seam points.  At this time, once the buttercream was covered with the fondant/gumpaste mixture, I cut off the protective plastic wrap that covered Barbie from the waste up.
without black I cut out the back and front of the bodice and applied them directly to the body of the doll, joining it at the seams with the skirt.

 

I then painted the entire dress with luster dust to give it the shimmer of the original fabric.  Again, using the original templates as patterns, I cut out the black focal detail and applied them on top of the skirt.  Barbie was dressed and could finally put her arms down!  Being a model is tough work!

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Click here to see the finished piece, and here to visit vogue.com for the full story.