Wear Your Cake & Eat It Too

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Project Beltway

At the Heart of America’s Sweet Charity event on April 16, everything literally looked good enough to eat.

The event at The Mandarin Oriental featured more than fifty tasting stations manned by some of the city’s top chefs, including CakeLove’s Warren Brown, Kinkead’s David Collier, Charm City Cakes’ Duff Goldman, IndeBleu’s Vikram Garg, and Geoff Tracy from Chef Geoff’s and LIA’s (I made a beeline for his signature wasabi-glazed tuna sashimi on wonton crackers–YUM). It was a foodie fantasy spun from sugar paste and puff pastry: sugar lily bouquets, colorful candy sculptures that looked like blown glass, and as much cake, candy and ice cream as you wanted (savory too, if you care about that sort of thing).

The overall effect was a delicious sensory overload in a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory kind of way, especially when it came time for the highlight of the evening: the “Chocolate Fashion Show.” Some models pranced down the runway, discs of chocolate flying from their dresses; others walked more precariously, trying to keep elaborate cake hats or chocolate sculptures from tumbling. I can’t help but point out the delicious spin this puts on fashion shows and the fashion industry: the show encouraged eating, and the only real benefit to being in the first row is that candy might fall into your lap!

If guests left with a tummy ache, they at least left with a clear conscience: Heart of America’s mission incorporates American values (compassion, responsibility, unity) and service to ensure that generations to come have access to books, hope, and successful futures. Pretty sweet.

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Philly design team Renee Masoomian & Dean Troxell, who made the Japanese-style dress, below.

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Vedika Webb from Philly-based Lotus Cake Studio painstakingly created each of these delicate sugar cherry blossoms for the kimono & parasol.

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Candy flowers!

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Candy is the new black: Cake designer Tina Freels with her elegant black lily bouquets.

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Project Beltway

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Washington Wizards’ Calvin Booth was, fittingly, a wizard, and wore a blue candy beard. At 6-11, he cut a striking figure walking down the runway.

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This dress featured more than 1500 pieces of chocolate and, according to host Bob Madigan, “a total calorie count somewhere near the national debt.”

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This dramatic ensemble drew the most gasps and “oohs!” from the crowd.

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Clear heels: appropriate only when wearing pasties or truffles.

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I asked Honorary Chair Sheila Johnson which look was her favorite, and it was this ballerina outfit–made out of sculpted Rice Krispies treats covered in fondant icing.

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Project Beltway

…but before she settled on that answer, she was drooling over hunky Todd Goldian (sorry ladies, engaged–to Albert Uster Imports Assistant Pastry Chef Courtney Carroll, who is next to him). The women in the audience squealed as he paraded out shirtless, cracked open the chocolate ball he carried (egg?) with his chocolate axe, and held out the large candy diamond inside. Johnson: “He is HOT!”

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