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Food Meets Function

As we are all aware, the past decade has brought gruesome news of the events occurring in Africa, particularly in Darfur and Sudan. There is an amazing organization called Jewish World Watch that made it their mission to fight against genocide. They created an initiative called the Solar Cooker Project. The women living in refugee camps after fleeing Darfur are in charge of making food, in order to cook they must venture out of the camps to collect wood for kindling. This everyday activity has turned into a nightmare for the women since they are often attacked and raped while they are out beyond the walls of the camp.

Jewish World Watch heard of these atrocities and decided a solution must be found to end these horrific occurrences. They developed a solar cooking system that uses the reflection of the sun to cook food, thereby eliminating the need for the women to collect firewood. Think back to the 70’s when people would use tin foil screens to tan outdoors, and you have the basic concept behind the solar cookers.

I find this initiative so impressive because an incredibly simple, low cost solution was created for a very grave situation.

Recently Jewish World Watch held a party celebrating the 5 year anniversary of the Solar Cooker Project and I was honored to be able to attend and support them. Some of L.A.’s most influential women chefs gathered to cater the event.

Suzanne Tracht from JAR & Suzpree
Nancy Silverton from Pizzeria Mozza & Osteria Mozza
Rochelle Huppin from Chefwear
Kajsa Alger from STREET
Natasha MacAller “Dancing Chef”

I was on cloud 9 surrounded but such amazing talent and of course incredible food!

As we entered the event, there on the floor, was an actual Solar Cooker set up baking brownies. To be able to see the product first hand and know that what reminded me of a tanning bed was a life saving device to women half way across the world really struck a chord with me. It is so easy to get caught up in our own lives and not look beyond the  needs of ourselves and our loved ones. But if we do not act as advocates for those that cannot defend themselves, who will be there to help them? In my tiny apartment I have an oven, stove top, microwave and toaster oven. All items I rarely appreciate beyond the fact of them doing their job as quickly as possible. This initiative has brought new light and awareness to everyday items that I typically take for granted.

How can you help? Visit the Jewish World Watch website here. Can’t make a donation? Donate your time! No matter what our walk of life, we each have something that we personally can contribute that will make a difference.

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Ultimate Cake Off – Behind the Scenes

Last night was the premier of Ultimate Cake Off in which I, along with Liz and Alison, assisted Katie Robinson in creating a 6 foot tall wedding cake that set new standards on what a wedding cake can be.

It was such an amazing experience to be on the team and work with such talented cake artists. I find it so amazing that something that took months of planning can be condensed to a 1 hour show!

Here are some of the behind the scenes footage of the prep and filming. Enjoy!

By using Styrofoam dummies we were able to see what the final cake structure would look like

This is one of the early cake sketches

a few months later and after one grueling day….here is the finished cake!

Besides for time, there were a lot of other elements that went into preparing for this monstrous cake.

51 pounds of butter, 54 pounds of sugar, 113 cups of sour cream, 32 pounds of white chocolate, 10 pounds of gumpaste and 65 pounds of fondant to name a few….

A lot of our materials and tools were brought in from New York.

Here’s some of the luggage the team flew with

While the rest of the team was flying to LA, I was transporting all of our cake and frosting.

Our Kitchen!

and the competition begins

some of the gumpaste tiles we used on the cake

Time’s up and cake is done!

Once the cake was done we got to pose for some much needed glamor shots

TV Time

This coming Monday, April 26th at 10 pm is the premiere of TLC’s Ultimate Cake Off in which I assist Katie Robinson on the green team.

Be sure to check the blog on Tuesday to see behind the scene shots from the show!

NY Cake Convention – Part II

The other piece of the Cake Convention that made it such an incredible experience were the demonstrations and celebrity chefs that attended.

Cake Opera Co. based in Canada, made the trip down to show us their specialty – edible cake topper busts. They are outstandingly talented and bring a new edge to our art form.

We were able to watch a live cake competition. The artists had 4 hours to complete their New York themed design.

This is the winning design

It is hard to remember is how fragile cake really is. After judging, the face of the wining cake began to fall.

Dianna Lopez, the winner, shows how to take anything in stride. She had such a wonderful, playful attitude about the fondant falling.

Zilly Cakes, famously known for creating the Obama mosaic out of cupcakes, created a gorgeous cupcake mosaic of Kirsten Dunst from Marie Antoinette.

Here’s a closeup of what each cupcake looks like that forms the amazing masterpiece.

It was so wonderful to be able to meet and hear from some great chefs in the industry.

Ashley Vicos talks about her experiences in the cake industry

Michelle Bommarito, Natalie and I strike a pose

Chris Rossum judged the live cake competition

Oh Martha!

First off, I am thrilled that the re-designed blog is up and running! Hillel Smith, an incredibly talented graphic designer was the genius behind the page and did a fabulous job bringing my concepts to cyberspace!

Growing up in L.A. we are surrounded by celebrities, usually this means their “WOW” appeal wears off over time. Yesterday that was not the case. Martha Stewart, yes, you read correctly MARTHA STEWART! the Julia Child of our generation, was doing a book signing to promote her new cookbook  “Martha Stewart’s Dinners at Home”. This cookbook is simple to read and presents recipes in a group so you can make an entire meal without feeling overwhelmed by searching for multiple recipes.

dinner at home cover

I have never met Martha before and really wasn’t sure what to expect. After meeting her, I am an even bigger fan than before! She is incredible. I got up to her an hour and a half into her book signing. She seemed very much at ease and we ended up having a short conversation that culminated in her recommending that I submit pictures of my cakes to her wedding magazine! Pretty incredible huh?

Here are my paparazzi style pictures from the event

Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart

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