The moment we arrived to Boston, I started feeling foolish. My ears flushed and my temples started to thump as I anticipated intruding on someone else’s kitchen. Sierra and I were traveling to our best friend’s wedding and I was bringing the cake. Armed with extra buttercream, a bouquet of offset spatulas, and even extra cake batter, I had thought of every disaster scenario – except one. I had overlooked an important detail – what I would look like when I arrived to set-up the cake at the reception site. I had brought neither whites nor slip-resistant clogs. I’d even forgotten a bandana or hat to cover my hair. Instead, I sported a scoop-neck blouse, in which any dishwasher, chef, line cook or server could ogle my cleavage. I felt the shamed presence of every female chef who had cooked, sweat and fought for an iota of respect.
I called the chef’s cell to alert him of our arrival and tugged upward on my poor choice of travel-wear. Feeling like a second rate Giada, it is no surprise that the chef was dark and handsome. After finding parking, I picked up the largest tier of the wedding cake. Resting on my tense, 90-degree forearms, the cake’s placement perfectly framed my bosom.
Of course it did.
Breast next to cake and cake next to breast, I took a reluctantly, voluptuous, breath and stepped carefully and confidently into the underbelly of this Bostonian Brasserie. While I may not have looked like a qualified pastry chef, it would take more than tall, high-heeled boots and puddle of melted ice to take this professional down.
The kitchen was a truly fantastic, city kitchen. Intensely focused cooks cut French-fries in time to the saucepans that sizzled like the percussion section of an orchestra. The precision of this kitchen only highlighted my wardrobe folly. Alas, there was no going back now. I clopped though the kitchen in my heels and began to set-up the cake. One tier after the next, I hoped that the quality of my work proved that I was more than just a nice pair of cupcakes. I shoved a side-towel into the belt-loop of my skinny jeans and ignored the judgmental stares of other two women in the kitchen. Didn’t they understand that they were witnessing an act of unyielding female sprit?
When the cake was complete, I was relatively pleased with it. Methodically, I cleaned up. I returned dirtied bowls to the dishwashers and thanked them, saluted the cooks and shook hands with the chef. He looked shorter than when I first met him, or maybe the weight of the cake had been lifted from my own shoulders. I was a true pastry professional — my baker’s rack and all.