Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Frosted Tarts and Petit Foremen

Well here it is the holiday season, and it sure isn't a holiday! Frosted Art is busy, really busy, and I am loving every moment of it. There is nothing like the smell of a bakery in the fall.

Just who the heck are we anyway?

Well I'm Bronwen, the chef and GM and I make cake.

Heather Williams (Weeyams as we call her) is our Sales Manager. I am her number one fan. She is from Louisiana and is about as friendly a person as one can be. She is a beautiful person (former beauty queen), excels at everything I am horrible at, i.e., organization, computers, and anything with wires. She can bake you a cake, fix your computer, and install your stereo equipment simultaneously while showing off her famous dimples. She was a student of mine from the Texas Culinary Academy. Heather travels with me and helps with classes and has watched the last three challenges in person. She makes an incredible cheering section.

Heather Collins. Wow! What a lady! She is our Business Manager. She takes care of all the money, she pays people, takes their money, and is about the best shopper around. She came here last summer straight from Heaven. I am convinced she has wings. She is getting married on March 1st, and will make the most gorgeous bride. She takes care of everyone here and is one of the most thoughtful people of all time. She has an incredible knack for knowing how you feel before you do.

Katie Kennedy (KT) is our Kitchen Manager. Katie was also a student of mine at the TCA. (One of the best!) She joined the 'tarts' last Thanksgiving, and I have been thankful for her ever since. Katie is our sugar landscaper, figure modeller and can ice a perfect cake. She has an incredible eye for design and can use a grass tip 101 ways. She has a fondness for chocolate fondant and little black Chihuahuas. Katie is getting married next Memorial Day to a wonderful man, and we couldn't be happier for her.

Ryan Coffey. (Decaf) What he lacks in volume he makes up for in patience. Ryan is our baker. He can make the most delicate butter cake you've ever tasted and can stack a cake perfectly in the center every time. (He even measures, KT and I are amazed!) Ryan, another fantastic former student of mine, spins records on the side and can sit for hours making the necessary buttons for a mixer board groom's cake. He excels at details and is our backseat cake decorator, able to tell the difference between great and good enough with a single glance. (Good enough, just isn't, never will be.) And ladies, he is a single man, sensitive, likes long walks on the beach etc.

Dora Martinez. Our fiery fondant queen. Don't stand still or she might cover you too! Dora has been here four years, preceded all but Ruben and can decorate a cake with record speed. She has two beautiful daughters, Gloria and Victoria, who work here on school holidays. Dora helps keep everyone in line in the kitchen and can make the best tamale I have ever eaten. Dora is the master at topsy turvy so much that we refer to them as "Doras".

Ruben Espitia. (Rubes) Ruben has been here since before the dawn of time. (Almost 15 years) Ruben is responsible for bakery upkeep, delivery coordination, icing production and well if you ask him his job description be prepared, it will take at least fifteen minutes to describe everything he does for us. He knows the city by heart and is our own personal GPS system. The bakery wouldn't run without him, we just wouldn't want to. "Talk to me!" You will here this often if you are lucky enough to know the Rubes.

Ashley Atkinson. She is the cutest little pastry person! She came from Austin too; we snagged her right out of Culinary school (ACC.) She is responsible for all the little dainty things: cookies, cupcakes, petit fours, truffles. She has a tendency to talk with her hands and is always getting teased for it (because we just love her!) Ashley is incredibly talented and has a bright future in pastry. (I hope she remembers me when she writes her first book.)

Mark Flores! Mark is responsible for making us laugh. His wit keeps us all rolling. He also makes the dessert cakes for Neiman Marcus. You can find his handiwork at many restaurants around town too! He came to us from California where he went to the California School of Culinary Arts (CSCA.) He trained to be a savory chef, but quickly moved to the unsavory side of life! He can carve a mean pumpkin, make a delicious brisket, and ice a cake in less than a minute!!

Candice Weber. Chief Yule Log Lumberjack. Sister in Law extraordinaire. She can handle an axe, a spatula and is wicked with a cake knife. Candice runs our Christmas 'buche de Noel' department. She can roll a log, gild poinsettias, and border the cake in less time than it takes to eat a piece of Christmas itself. She is the mother of my niece and nephew, a fantastic person and a genuine asset to this bakery and my life.

Bobby Bender. (Bob) Bob is a hoot. He is one of our delivery drivers and about the most polite gentleman I know. He came to the bakery with ten years of cake delivery experience; to a cake lady this is better than finding oil, striking it rich, and winning the lottery all at once. Bob is responsible for cake scrap removal, unless it is orange blossom cake. (Bob doesn't like orange) Bobby is always coming up with the best phrases...."I don't mean to be a buttocks.... but"(or is it Butt Ox?!) He is also responsible for any necessary attitude adjustments of others. Kidding, or am I?

And that's it. My team, my peeps, my family.