Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Icing on the Cake

left to right: Berlin Mercado, Jeanne Nelson, Crystal Mazzarella, Tracy Latimer

Pasadena's having a birthday party (it's 124th) this Saturday, June 12th at the Pasadena Museum of History. Yesterday I had a chance to see the birthday cake in progress at the Pasadena west campus of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.

Under the guidance of Chef Instructor (and the cake's designer) Alicia Boada, fourteen student pastry chefs are making a three-foot tall, six-tiered replica of the top of City Hall, complete with tiny tiles on a sugar dome, a sugar cupola and gorgeous sugar flowers. More photos on Overdog.

In a separate kitchen, these pastry chefs-in-training were working on the layers. Some layers will make up the base of the cake and some will be eaten at the (free, open to the public) birthday party on Saturday.

I took a series of shots of the student pastry chefs at work and they gave me a taste of the cake and frosting. There are two kinds of each. I should have written them down because they have fancy names and I've forgotten them but they are de-damn-licious and you have to go to the party Saturday and eat some.

I hadn't planned to use this photo. I asked the chefs to pose for a reference for the other shots, and I wrote down their names in the order in which they stood. But just look at them. I had just had a piece of cake with frosting. They had just seen and heard my ecstatic reaction. They'd been working hard for nearly two weeks. Can you see the pride on their faces?

Update 6/13/10: You can see more photos and the finished cake at Pasadena PIO.

33 comments:

tagskie said...

hi.. just dropping by here... have a nice day! http://kantahanan.blogspot.com/

Dina said...

Happy birthday Pasadena! It is great to have such pastry chefs on your team.

Shell Sherree said...

I see why you decided to post this, Petrea. They are fairly glowing with pride in a beautiful job well done! The cake sounds magnificent. I'll be back...

Steffe said...

Oh, that is great. I'm sure the cake will be delicious. Nice portrait of the ladies.

Turquoise Diaries said...

I should have to see this cake and happy birthday to your lovely Pasadena whom I got to know pretty well thru your blog..

Mister Earl said...

How were you so lucky to get into the construction site?

mark said...

Please save me a piece of that cake.

Petrea said...

Thanks for your visits, everyone.

Mister Earl, I was invited to view the proceedings by Jeannette Bovard, Media Consultant for the Pasadena Museum of History, with whom I'll be sharing my photos. As you can imagine, Jeannette is very busy this week!

Dirk said...

That's a great shot of the chefs--I love the expressions.

ben wideman said...

a cake in the shape of city hall??? Oh wow, I think I need to attend somehow.

J+P said...

It's a pro kitchen, all right; they look like cooks on the Potemkin.

Reminds me of Degas, who drew ballerinas in unearthly pastels -- all glowing crinoline and porcelain arms. Asked what he thought of his subjects, he said "I know nothing of the ballet, except that when the dancers come off stage they smell like horses."

Petrea said...

Thanks, Dirk. I really enjoyed meeting these women, they were great.

Ben, take a look at the links. The cake will be on display for most of the afternoon. And after the celebration the decorative part (sugar, but not really edible) will be on display in the lobby/foyer of the culinary school at 521 E. Green Street.

Bellis said...

J+P, you've cracked my icing!

Petrea said...

Degas' got nothin' on me. These women smelled like chocolate cake.

J+P said...

(perks up)

Have they got a sister …?

Petrea said...

I don't know about a sister, J, but I just posted more photos of them and other Culinary School cake workings on Overdog.

TheChieftess said...

You certainly have had some interesting Pasadena experiences!!!

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I'd watch out for the lady on the far right. Her expression makes me think she might be hiding a cleaver behind her back.

Kat said...

Thanks a lot, Petrea! Now I have to go out and get cake for myself tonight. But it can never be a city hall cake... :(

Katie said...

Excellent portrait of some hard-working women. Also fun seeing the other photos of the cake in progress. I'm sure the finished cake will wow the crowd. Party on Pasadena - I hear 124 the new 100.

pasadenapio said...

The photo says it all -- tired yet very satisfied with their accomplishment! And you're right: Jeannette has been hoppin' busy!

Petrea said...

These are only four of the fourteen chefs involved in making the cake, and yes, it should be a fun party! I understand this is to become an annual event and I love the idea. If so much effort goes into 124, imagine what next year will be like!

Virginia said...

Vive les Chefs!!! I want me some cake!!
V

Ms M said...

Fun to see the photos of this delicious work in progress! Sounds like the party will be a grand event.

Natalie said...

I can't wait to see this fabulous cake!

Kim said...

Someone's in the kitchen with Petrea! :-). Fun doin's and hard work on the pastry chefs' part. Sounds like the celebration is well-planned and something the whole community can enjoy with pride. Enjoy covering the event, and hope you get a lot more great shots.
-Kim

Petrea said...

Hmm. I guess this means you all want to see a picture of the finished product and I can't go to the party Saturday. I will have to find another way...

Cafe Observer said...

if u can't go Sat, P, send your purseholder assistant in your place to take the pic's.

Petrea said...

Hee hee, Cafe.

Lori Lynn said...

I LOVE this photo!
LL

Petrea said...

I'll bet you do, Lori. The Le Cordon Bleu School (The Le is redundant, I know) is really fabulous and you'd love their restaurant, 561. It's one of the best in town.

Rosie said...

Lovely! Thanks for the uplift!

Petrea said...

Hi Rosie, thanks for your visit. I'm glad you liked the post!