I am Charlie--metaphorically speaking of course. And I got to enter a really cool chocolate factory...er...bakery.
Yesterday, I was cleaning out our general office wide e-mail box and I saw this press release. It was from a company called Chat, Chew & Chocolate. Don't ask about the name. It's some group that does all these girls-pamper-yourselves events like spa days. They had a paragraph about how this Phoenix bakery called Let Them Eat Cake still had spots open for a session of cake decorating classes that started tonight. Sitting in on a class at a Michael's arts & crafts store was one thing. But to do it in a real bakery was quite another. So, I decided to heck with the cost. I e-mailed them and had my first lesson this evening.
I had never been to this bakery before (letthemeatcakeaz.com). It has a pretty sweet set-up. One side is where all the cakes are. There's a space next door they dubbed Cupcake's Corner Cafe. It's decorated in a lot of pinks and reds, very inviting. When I got there, the teacher/owner, Barbara, took me back to the kitchen and I was like "You have no idea. I feel like I'm in Disneyland." And then she said "Guess what? You're the only one so you get a private lesson," which was fine with me. I thought it was nice of her to stay just for one person.
She made me practice piping with at least five different tips. I tried to make roses, seashells, stems, stars and beads. I of course definitely need to practice. Barbara said she's better at writing and drawing with icing than with a pen. What was also great is she was really personable. While I practiced, we chatted and I said I like making cakes but cupcakes are even better.
At the end of class, she told me to go pick out a cupcake (tee-hee). After some ruminating, I settled on a Boston Cream one. It was really yummy--vanilla pound cake with cream inside topped with bavarian cream and then dipped in a chocolate ganache. She took the cupcake back to the kitchen, pulled a stool out for me to sit on. I got to sit and eat it while flipping through a photo album of some of their cakes/cupcakes while she did all the cleaning up. I then told her she was just like Willy Wonka. I felt like a little kid sitting at an aunt's kitchen table. I probably looked like one when she came back from putting something away and glimpsed me licking the wrapper. What? I couldn't let any of the ganache go to waste! OK, yeah, that was sort of embarrassing. Courtesy cupcake aside, I'm looking forward to the next class.
In other news, last week, my boss, Ed, pulled me into the office. I was a little nervous at first. No matter what, it always,always feels like the principal is dragging me in. He spoke with the bureau chief and they discussed how there isn't much entertainment coverage based out of Arizona. He decided I should be the one to try to make that my beat because I've already done several features and I wrote pretty well. How funny is that? Ever since things didn't work out at my Entertainment Weekly internship in 2002, I never thought I'd get to do anything entertainment-related at a full-time job. It's just so hard to break into that. When I got here, I thought I'd just be helping with breaking news, writing obits and short news stories about fires, shootings or other calamities. But when I think about, yeah, I have done quite a few features. I guess I am destined to do that sort of writing, not so much Lois-Lane type stories. I'm cool with that. Ed wants me to build a list of celebs who are either from Arizona (Michelle Branch, Jordin Sparks, Alice Cooper) or who have homes here now (Mike Tyson, oh gosh, I can't think of anymore). He said maybe try every few weeks to do a story for a national audience. It doesn't have to be just about entertainment. It can be just anything you'd see in a paper's living section -- some kind of trend or pop culture thing. Man, I really want to take advantage of this opportunity. Oh, it's going to be really hard to decide when to leave Arizona.