Article: L'Art du Gâteau Graduation Showcases Edible Artistry | The French Pastry School

Article: L'Art du Gâteau Graduation Showcases Edible Artistry

L'Art du Gâteau Graduation Showcases Edible Artistry
The French Pastry School |
May 1, 2013
Students of The French Pastry School’s Cake Decorating and Baking Program Enter a Growing Industry

Chicago, Illinois (May 1, 2013) – As real Spring flowers were just beginning to bloom around Chicago, the kitchens of The French Pastry School of Kennedy-King College at City Colleges of Chicago were filled with a garden of sugar blossoms.  The multi-tiered wedding cakes that bore the gumpaste botanicals were the final projects of L’Art du Gâteau, the sixteen week Professional Cake Decorating and Baking Program.  On April 26th, eighteen students from all over the country and around the world celebrated their graduation from the full-time program and prepared to enter this ever-popular sector of the food industry.  Sophia Evanoff, owner of Chicago’s Vanille Pâtisserie and 2009 graduate of The French Pastry School, welcomed the alumnae into the cake decorating profession by encouraging them to embrace all the experiences that come their way.  The class of April 2013 will follow in the footsteps of other alumni by beginning their careers in bakeries and cake boutiques, gaining the experience they need to one day lead kitchens and open businesses of their own. 

The intimate ceremony and reception at The French Pastry School celebrated the eighteen students who dedicated themselves to learning the art of cake decorating.  For six hours a day, five days a week, for sixteen weeks, these career changers, recent high school and college graduates, and experienced pastry cooks learned to refine the techniques essential to creating edible masterpieces. 

From traditional cakes decorated with fondant, buttercream, royal icing, and gumpaste; to sculpted cakes that employed modeling chocolate, airbrushing, and stable internal structures to bring the designs to life, the graduates practiced skills that will allow them to make their clients' dream cakes a reality.   The students made cake toppers with chocolate and sugar sculpting techniques and worked extensively on their piping skills.  A wonderful cake, however, is not all about outer-beauty: the students also spent weeks learning how to build flavors and textures so that the taste of the cakes they make will be just as memorable as the designs. After constant hands-on practice, many of the recent alumni plan to work towards opening their own businesses by continuing to gain experience through internships and jobs. 

Emily Wheeler, a career changer who transitioned from human resources to cake decorating, represented the dedication of her classmates in the speech she gave to guests of the ceremony.  “We gave up our jobs, left our families, and entered a world that most of us are totally unfamiliar with, but I can say, without a doubt, that we have not regretted it for a second,” Emily explained.  “We are all here today because we made a choice to follow our passion, and make ourselves better at our craft.”

In her address to the graduates, Sophia Evanoff, owner of Vanille Pâtisserie, shared her experiences and the, at times, winding road she took towards owning a successful business.  Before owning the classic French patisserie in Chicago, Sophia was a Psychology Major, then a pastry student, then an employee at a candy manufacturing plant, then a pastry cook and marketer.  “With every person you meet, with every experience, and with every job, there is always something to learn,” Sophia advised.  “Find the value in everything, because it is there. You may not need that information now, but you never know when you will need it.  It is up to you to see things how they relate to your goals.” 

After the ceremony, guests were treated to a gallery of twenty-seven beautifully-decorated cakes, the original designs created by the graduates for their final projects.  Their fanciful Sweet Sixteen cakes ranged in themes from Social Media to Harry Potter to A Night at The Movies.  In addition, each student was prompted to make a Spring-inspired wedding cake and the interpretations were as diverse as the students themselves.  Neon peonies were displayed beside a realistic lemon topper and pastel garden scenes, all worked out of fondant, gumpaste, royal icing, and, of course, lots of luster dust.  With this excellent foundation, the staff of The French Pastry School looks forward to seeing what their students accomplish in the future.

The next cohort of L’Art du Gâteau students will begin their own pastry journey at The French Pastry School on September 3, 2013.  The school is still accepting applications for this program, as well as for the June 17th term of L’Art de la Boulangerie and the July 8th term of L’Art de la Pâtisserie.  For more information, please contact or call 312.726.2419.

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