Bakers Journal

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Pastry for royalty


February 2, 2012
By Cindy Findlay

You could almost taste the excitement inside the Calgary Zoo’s ENMAX
Conservatory as hundreds of guests eagerly awaited the arrival of Prince
William and his bride Kate Middleton, now the Duke and Duchess of
Cambridge, at a private reception hosted by Premier Ed Stelmach.

p21_Jay-platting2 
A SAIT student prepares for the Royal arrival. 


 

You could almost taste the excitement inside the Calgary Zoo’s ENMAX Conservatory as hundreds of guests eagerly awaited the arrival of Prince William and his bride Kate Middleton, now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, at a private reception hosted by Premier Ed Stelmach.

Next door, nestled in a small kitchen, six baking and pastry arts students from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT), guided by veteran instructors Victoria German and Ian Bragoli, made the final preparations on hundreds of intricate pastries while keeping a close eye on the window where the Royal couple was to make their grand entrance.
Many months earlier, after being sworn to secrecy by me, German was tasked with selecting an elite group of students to showcase the talents of the baking and pastry arts program – without being able to share who the VIP guests would be.

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After a week of extensive tasting with representatives from Clarence House, Prince William’s former official residence, his aid and the Royal Tour organizer, as well as representatives from the Government of Canada, a menu was set. It comprised a selection of five different pastries, from the lemon meringue beehive tartlet to the Cassis caramel bonbons, each intricately crafted with detailed care. From the marzipan bees to the raspberry coulis squirt, no detail was spared for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

As the big moment approached, the students and instructors prepared their station, anticipating the moment when Will and Kate would stand before them. That moment did not disappoint. The couple shook hands with the students, posed for pictures and listened as they described the pastries. Prince William was overheard mentioning to a guest that they “must try the one with the bee on top: it was delicious!”
The Royals departed shortly after; however, the work was not complete. There were still more than 900 pastries to be served to the rest of the guests. Former lieutenant-governor of Alberta Norman Kwong even requested a “to-go” box.

When all was said and done, the event passed by in the blink of an eye. It was an honour for SAIT’s Baking and Pastry Arts team to be asked to participate in such a high-profile event, and while the moment itself was fleeting, the memory of this incredible opportunity will remain fresh for all the participants.


Cindy Findlay is the academic chair of the baking and pastry program at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT)