Hector & the Mango Rose

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I asked Hector to do a writeup on the 2010 Kona Mango Festival as he had the honor of being their star presenter. Here's the stunning mango cake he offered: To see a gloriously detailed description of the event complete with photos, do read on!

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What an adventure my passion for -the rose- has taken me! During the day, I am an information technology manager for Hawaii Stationery Co. Before sunset, I canoe paddle for Kamehameha Canoe Club. At night, I bake. Every now and then, all my skills are put to use together. I have just participated at the 2010 Kona Mango Festival held at the beautiful Keauhou Beach Resort. This is a yearly event, but my invitation arrived only a month prior. Without much introduction, Ken Love from the local tropical fruit association asked blindly if I could be part of the mango festival. I gave it all I have, yet they gave me much more in return. Publicity and community involvement started to pour in. I was frazzled. How can I keep my cool? I asked Ken. The answer: "just do your thing, cut mango, and make the mango rose." Ken asked if it was possible that I could bring a few cakes for tasting. He assured that I will have plenty fresh mangoes to cut and show, and that if cake wasn't possible, people will be just as happy if I show pictures of my previous cakes. Ken got the point, who is Hector? or where does Hector come from doesn't matter... all you need is to see his work. The minute I arrived at Kona, I was asked to be here and there. I experienced first hand the island's bounty. First, on Friday afternoon, I ran a quick demo at NELHA (Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority). They were having a cold water seafood market, and local chef Olelo Pa'a Ogawa demonstrated a delicious lobster salad. Olelo asked me to cover dessert, so I brought a couple of Miette's Tomboy cakes and topped it with mango roses. I thought of this as a warm-up exercise. Second, on Friday evening, I ran a more serious demo at the ballroom of the resort, and the target audience was the local culinary federation ACF KKCA chefs. Not many people showed up, but I took this as an opportunity to video tape my demo and have my internet friends join in. I brought the Coconut Cheesecake, baked without crust and topped it with mango roses. I also ran a keynote presentation, and of course: I hooked up my own cables! Enjoy the photo collage by local food writer Sonia Martinez Third, on Saturday afternoon, I ran my official demo for the festival. The turn out was double than what everyone expected. My 6-tier demo cake was cut into small 1-inch squares and fed near 200 people. Chef Patti Kimball from Konawaena High School and the best of her 100 plus culinary arts students baked 6 tiers of Gâteau Breton for me! We used macadamia nuts instead of almonds, yum! Patti was short on emails, yet my instructions were lengthy. Judging by the gorgeous texture and taste, Patti and her students were stellar. She followed my scaled up recipe to the gram. She followed the measurements to the 1/8-inch: referring to the nerve wrecking request to cut cardboard rounds 1/8-inch narrower for each cake, so it would look pretty, and also referring to the need to drill a 1-inch hole on the center to accommodate the acrylic poles. On the morning of the festival, I was nowhere to be found. I was slicing and making 20 lbs of mango roses. Luca was skinning mangoes and glazing the cakes with local fruit jellies. The minute I walked out from the resort's kitchen, I held strong to Sonia and the rest is history. I love Sonia's side of the story posted on her blog As I carried the now 40 lb cake to the presenter's stage, I stomped with Ken, Patti, and several friends I made during the week. They helped me answering questions to the crowd of people that made me feel I was The Beatles! I dreamed of you been there and share this experience. I said at the closing: "I never dreamed that one day I would be making mango roses for an audience." This said while I held a framed picture of my Rose World Cake. I carry your hearts everywhere I will go with Rose.