Let them eat cake … and cookies and brulee and custards | VailDaily.com

Let them eat cake … and cookies and brulee and custards

Cassie Pence

Gluttony transforms into art this weekend at Beaver Creek when five guest chefs construct confectionery architecture on the Vilar stage in front of judges who will reward the best chef with $10,000.The Wedding Cake Competition highlights the sixth annual Beaver Creek Culinary Festival Saturday and Sunday. On stage in front of on-lookers, judges and cameras, chefs have five hours to design a fantasy wedding cake with the theme nature. Although not actually covering cake, but Styrofoam dummies, chefs manipulate various forms of sugar into sculpture.”All the decorations have to be edible,” said Mike McCarey, one of three judges and winner of the June 2003 competition.Fifty percent of the decorations can be already finished and brought to the competition. The other 50 percent must be made right on the spot.”We’re looking at the overall artistic look of the cake, how well they represent the theme which is nature, how original the design is and the degree of difficulty the design is,” McCarey said.McCarey said a good indication of advance skill is if the chef is actually creating something by hand, like a bird or a dog. Under their time constraints, producing an actual life form out of sugar can be difficult.”The real challenge with this is you only have five hours to produce a finished product. You have a budget of time, and you really have to be careful with what you have decided to do,” McCarey said.Judges will also consider how organized the chefs are in their space, how organized they are with their time, how clean their work space is maintained and how clean they are at the end of the contest. Chefs must adhere to all these rules and perform while answering questions from the announcer and peering over shoulder at their competitors.”There is a whole factor of nerves that is involved that isn’t involved when you’re back at your shop. But on the other hand you have adrenaline, and it’s amazing when you get your adrenaline going how quickly you can do something,” McCarey said.The chefs competing in Saturday’s Wedding Cake Competition from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Vilar Center for the Arts are: Deanna Lieble of Carbondale, Carol Murdock of Hartford, Conn., Steve Vic of Pastryarts.com, Duff Goldman of Baltimore, Md., and Richard Ruskell of Laguna Beach, Calif. A wedding dress display will accompany the contest.In addition to the competition, experienced chefs will lead Bon Appetit’s culinary demonstrations in a complete kitchen on the plaza Saturday and Sunday. The seminars are informative and interactive; chefs will also be handing out samples.Beaver Creek chefs will prepare culinary creations for purchase on the plaza from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Sample local and guest chefs’ pastries on Sunday for a nominal fee during the Pastry Extravaganza from noon to 3 p.m. Activities for children happen 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and festival-goers can sway as they sample to live music all weekend on the plaza.Cassie Pence can be reached at 949-0555 ext. 618 or cpence@vaildaily.com

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