On Thursday, April 10, 2014, anyone in the Chicagoland area with a sweet tooth would have benefitted from a trip to Lexington College for the first annual Baker’s Dozen event. The name Baker’s Dozen derived from the idea of exhibiting twelve decadent desserts followed by a chocolate cake competition. Lexington’s very own Pastry Instructor, Chef Cheryl Brookhouzen (Executive Pastry Chef of the Marriott Magnificent Mile in downtown Chicago) designed and crafted each dessert with assistance from her team of pastry students. There was plenty for guests to explore during the event, as there have been numerous updates to the college within the past year. The student commons has expanded, classrooms have been renovated, and new specialization programs have been implemented such as Baking & Pastry and Gastronomy: Food & Culture.
During the event, Beth Nielsen, Chief Culinary Officer of Nielsen-Massey Fine Vanillas & Flavors, held a vanilla tasting showcasing three varieties of fine vanilla products. In addition, Nielsen-Massey generously provided complementary vanilla samples for each guest to take home. Guests were also invited to meet Joe McCormack, author of Brief and founder of Sheffield Marketing. His recently published book highlights the significance of brevity in everyday communication, whether on a personal or corporate level. Guests were able to enjoy the desserts provided while having an insightful discussion with McCormack.
All were captivated by the array of desserts to sample including Maple Pinwheel Butter Cookies, Red Velvet Cookies, Vanilla Cheesecake Bites, Coffee Toffee Parfaits, Orange Blossom Profiteroles and Chocolate Peppermint Tarts. Eight contestants competed in the chocolate cake competition including Lexington College and high school students. Meg Aldrich ’15 was awarded both first and third place with her two entries and Skylar Fowler ’17 was awarded second place. Aldrich’s Vulcan Death by Chocolate (1st) incorporated chocolate mousse and was an instant a fan favorite. Her Gimme Samoa (3rd) was a variation of Girl Scout’s Samoa cookie complete with a rich blend of coconut, chocolate and caramel. Fowler’s second place entry had historical significance as it was recipe of Ana Maria Boza, founder of Lexington College.
The spirit of delight, hospitality and of course – sugar – was in the air when the event ended. Guests received a true taste of Lexington among the refreshments, atmosphere and encounters with a variety of students.
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