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New Richmond Culinary Arts students try their hands at cake baking

New Richmond High School students Kalley Ladwig (left) and Talia Ficociello work on the Culinary Arts students’ New Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting and awards gala cake that was auctioned off during the event. (Submitted photos)1 / 3
NRHS Culinary Arts student Maddy Thibodeau gets help frosting the group’s cake auction cake from Jet’s Bakeshop’s Jonathan Timm.2 / 3
The New Richmond High School Culinary Arts students made this cake for the chamber annual dinner which was held on Wednesday, Jan. 25. The cake was made of red velvet, white sponge and white chocolate ganache. 3 / 3

New Richmond High School

One of the main attractions of the New Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting and awards gala is the live cake auction with a live auctioneer. Local businesses get the chance to bid on cakes donated by local restaurants and community members, with the money going towards a good cause.

Not only was this year's auction another big success, but it also gave New Richmond High School Culinary Arts students a chance to test out and refine their cake making skills.

"We were contacted by the director of the Chamber of Commerce to see if we would donate a cake for their cake auction," said family and consumer education teacher Laura Feyma said. "We have worked with other community groups before, like the Rotary and the Arts and Culinary Show. But we don't currently have an advanced culinary course, so I just have some students who have taken my classes before who are coming in after school to put together a cake."

Culinary Arts students Tyler Kauffman, Maddy Thibodeau, Maya Wood, Talia Ficociello, Kalley Ladwig, and Harmony Adler assisted with the cake baking process. The following is a description of the students' cake that was on display and auctioned off at the Chamber's annual dinner: "Old Hollywood Glamour — Laura Feyma and her talented Culinary Arts students from New Richmond High School bring you this classic and glamorous cake. The elegant décor will take you back in time, while each slice of red velvet, white sponge, and white chocolate ganache will remind you of all those great red carpet moments."

The high school currently only offers an Intro to Culinary Arts course, where students develop their skills in the culinary arts as well as the business side of the industry, but it does not offer any courses that teach baking or making pastries.

"We haven't done a whole lot of baking or any kind of pastry baking in the past," Feyma said. "Those kind of skills are a lot more specialized than most of the kids taking the intro class will need right away. But this project will give students a chance to work on their pastry skills to put this cake together."

Feyma admitted that she was a little worried about how the cake making process would go given that she doesn't have much experience with pastry baking herself, especially with the high level of expectations for the cakes that go for hundreds, if not thousands of dollars at the annual cake auction.

"But I know these kids can do it because they are talented," Feyma said. "And the nice thing about this experience for those kids is that they will also have the option to take the new baking and pastry class next year."

Feyma was glad to have the help of Jonathan Timm of Jet's Bakeshop throughout the planning process and with the actual baking come the day of the auction.

"One of the challenges for the kids was learning how to use the new airbrush kit I got to use on this cake," Feyma said. "Some of the piping and the actual layering of the cake to make sure that it is stable will also be a challenge for the kids. It is kind of like one of those baking competitions where you have to take the cake from your workstation to another table, but in this cake we had to get it to a car and then all the way to the venue."

Among the many lessons her students learned throughout the cake making process, Feyma feels that the leadership and responsibility the students showed by coming in after school to work on the cake was chief among them. Another lesson Feyma hopes her students took away from the experience was learning to be patient when learning new things, especially given how little knowledge or experience her students had with pastry baking or baking in general.

"It is wonderful that the community reached out to us to be part of this event, especially since it lets us get our name out there a little bit more," Feyma said. "I have some very talented kids as far as pastry skills go, and I'm always learning new things from them, too."

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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