Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Back to the Classroom with Karen Portaleo

Getting the studio open was a feat in itself, but also jetting off back to the Mother ship whilst Margie was still in town probably wasn't one of the smartest things I've planned for.

It all started with an email.....

The rumour that Karen Portaleo, of Highland Bakery & winner of several food network challenges, was coming to Australia, well, you can imagine the sort of chatter it generated in the cake world!

Although tempting, the timing just wasn't quite right and I thought I'd just have to nurse my disappointment.  But then, my great friend Lyn sent me an email, pretty much goading me into going to class.  You see, Lyn is a firm believer of living in the moment - who knows what's going to happen tomorrow.

So, off I went to Sydney, enrolled in Karen's trademark Marie Antoinette class.

I thought I would be more prepared this time, in case I got a severe case of cake envy again....!
Some late night googling and I found this pretty dress to use as a bit of an inspiration for my doll. Ambitious much?

Karen is an amazing teacher.  Warm and friendly and not at all fazed with her celebrity.  Ranked amongst one of the world's best sculpted cake artists, it is simply inspiring to watch her work.

I adored working with modelling chocolate, it's not a medium often seen in Australia, and certainly not widely used because of our climate. It was so much fun to work with something completely new and to see what it can do.

Here she is, taking shape.  I really was in some good company for class, with many artists who had travelled all over the country to watch Karen work.  You may even know a few of them.

The gorgeous Dawn of Emerson Lane Cakes,

The super talented Trina of Sweet Ruby Cakes

and flower master Greg Cleary.

Even Ritzy, Anna Maria and CC did the class too!

 It was a marathon 2 days, and as Karen described, it can be like something was out of focus, and then everything comes together and all of a sudden it comes to life.

I even found time to introduce Karen to the joys of a tim tam dunked in a cup of coffee.  

See how totally awesome they all turned out!!
 And Karen's masterpieces?  You would never be able to tell it was edible if I didn't tell you!

After all that hard work, boy did I need icecream.  It was just perfect that being in Sydney, also means you're in the same city as Messina.  Yay!

The home of awesome icecream.  A month later, I'm still thinking about it!!  So, there you have it, my long weekend of caking fun!
My girl came home with me on the plane...after much begging and manouvering and a nervous 5 hour flight.  She arrived with just a couple of missing fingers, but nevertheless in decent shape.  3 weeks later, I've finally patched her up and she's made it to the shop window. 

A great thanks to Planet Cake for bringing Karen all the way over from Texas.   Thanks to Karen for inspiring us all and sharing with us all your ideas and knowledge.  Thanks to poor Trina, my benchmate, that had to deal with all my jet lagged frustrations and wobblies as the days got longer!  Thanks to the lovely Lesley for taking all the great pics and last but not least, thanks to dear Lyn, who gave me the final push to go.  I wouldn't have been able to bear it if I had missed out. 

Here's to living life with no regrets!


No comments:

Post a Comment