This past Monday March 4, my class catered a few sweet treats for the 20th anniversary of An Evening of Good Taste in Syosset, NY. Now, when I say a few, I really mean over 1000, my first time delving into such a large production – easier with a group, but still a lot of work. This event is a fundraiser held every year for the South Nassau hospitals of Long Island; chefs, restaurants, bakeries, and distributors from all across the island serve scrumptious food and drinks. It’s also a competition, and the food is judged in a bunch of different categories. Tickets were around $70, held at the Crest Hollow Country Club, a large, beautiful place with many rooms, lots of lights, and one of the fanciest bathrooms I’ve ever seen. There were several attendees, lot of amusement, and it was for a good cause, what more could you want?
A peek of our creations: Rainbow Cake with Chocolate Ganache, a Coconut Macademia cake with Pineapple Chiboust called Rio Torte, Chocolate Mousse, and a Jaconde Spongecake with Mocha Buttercream frosting.
The class spent the better part of the Saturday morning prior to the event preparing all the components of our recipes. Our instructor, Chef Gina selected a few key recipes and decided to serve them in nice little shot glasses, a great choice because you’re able to see all the layers of the desserts and it makes for a clean presentation. School on a Saturday doesn’t sound appealing, but it is actually tons of fun when you enjoy what you’re doing! We work really well as a team and were able to knock out different cakes, frostings, meringues, mousse, and decorative toppings into 4 composed desserts in just a few hours. I learned a lot, such as refrigerate your meringue as soon as it’s done, unless you want a liquid version, don’t forget the sugar in a chocolate mousse, lest you want a clumpy mess, and pineapple and coconut are a pretty amazing tropical combination. I also learned how to properly do the harlem shake (and, in turn, learned that we’re all a little nuts :) ).
Excuse the blurry view of a packed country club.
I got to the event at six o’clock on the dot and immediately got to work reeling in the guests to try our sweet shots of food while smiling a lot and general shmoozing. Everyone of us was allowed to go around in pairs and eat the other vendors’ food, everything of which was real tasty. I might have also indulged in a wine and beer tasting or two (Peach ale is so good!), just for networking purposes, of course. Though our class was not part of the judging competition, we still had a box for votes so that guests could vote for their favorite food out of all to win the People’s Choice. Leave it to our loud ragtag clan of chefs-in-training to draw almost every single person there to try our food and vote for us. Our box had votes not only on people’s ballots but also written out and signed on napkins and anything else they could get their hands on. Guests were running to us, toppling over each other, fighting for our treats in a sugar-induced rage! Okay, I’m probably exaggerating and it wasn’t exactly like that, but the part about the votes on napkins is true, and people did come back for seconds and thirds. And who should win at the end of it all, beating out every other restaurant, bakery, school, out of savory and sweet, overall the most favored food and not even a part of the judging competition? Us. We did, we won.
Me, happy as a clam.
Talk about an excitingly magical night. I’ve never felt such a rush of energy from just being part of something so big to hearing our name called out for the People’s Choice Award. We went up to receive it while reciting Queen’s “We are the Champions” at the top our lungs (did I mention we are a tad eclectic?). If I were ever at the Oscars or some other award ceremony, I imagine that is what it would feel like. Happy, accomplished, winners. Bring on more competitions!
Love & Sweets,