Sean Leonard, director of recreational programs at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, contacted me back in June of 2010, asking if I'd consider doing a demo. It's rare that Woody and I have time to travel teach these days. We both love doing, but the time it takes to organize a demo is greater than most people could begin to imagine. Something in Sean's manner made me feel reassured that he would be a great host and also I love the Boston area. So over the past year, we have exchanged many thoughts, questions, information, and lists of equipment and ingredients. My instinct turned out to be well-founded. Never have I experienced better prep for a demo. And Sean did a terrific job getting word out: the room was filled to capacity. (Over a third of the attendees were alumni, Joanne Chang brought many of her staff, and my editor, Pam Chirls brought her two daughters, Julia, and Isabelle.) Incidentally, Woody flew in from Minnesota, almost missing his plane, as his wallet slipped onto the seat of the car bringing him to the airport. When he discovered it was missing, he persuaded the officials at baggage check-in to let him load his bags by virtue of his photograph in Rose's Heavenly Cakes! I called this "flying by the book!" His wallet was returned to him just in time to go through security.
A surprise bonus was when school owner Roberta Dowling appeared and I realized she was a fond long-time acquaintance I've seen at many a food conference. I was delighted to get to know her better and to learn that she was a disciple of the great Madeleine Kamman.
Chef Elise and her able assistants Nina, and Gina, created several detailed check lists for our demo which featured two favorite cakes from the book: "Golden Lemon Almond" and "Deep Chocolate Passion." Elise and her able assistants, Nina and Gina, baked each cake and prepared frostings, syrups, and the lacquer glaze for us to show the finished cakes. Trays of equipment and measured ingredients set the stage for our lecture and demo.
Julie set up the book signing and moved things along most efficiently. Woody signed by his photo, I signed on the wild rose end pages, and Isabelle signed by the photo of her about to enjoy one the "Mud Turtle Cupcakes."