Friday, May 29, 2009

Q&A with Sami Laskos

On April 22, there was a special surprise waiting in the LBCC Commons for students. Sami Laskos, a Culinary student at LBCC had made a cake depicting zombie's eating Chef Scott Anselm's head. I had the chance to see the cake with my own eyes, and speak with Sami in an email interview for a short Q&A.

Laskos, a second year culinary student, had made the cake because she had signed up for a bakery display rotation.

Culinary student James Scales has had plenty of experience working with Sami and really enjoyed her creative cake, "The best part about working with Sami is she has the ability to get the work done. No matter what it is, she can motivate a group, organize people, or getting through any of the work that needs to be done, and she'll do it in a way that's fair to everyone involved."

Sami Laskos proudly looking over her completed cake.

Thanks for taking the time to speak with me the other day about your cake. Why did you make this cake?

The cake was a project for my Bakery Display rotation. As a second year
culinary student, there are 6 mandatory rotations and 7 "elective"
rotations; each rotation is 8 or 9 school days. Bakery Display is an
elective rotation with a pretty simple goal: create something that
demonstrates at least 3 bakery skills. It's incredibly open ended. There
have been sugar sculptures, chocolate sculptures, even a Rice Krispie
castle... But I think cakes are the most popular because the basics are
familiar, but a cake can transform into almost anything.

At the end of your rotation you display your project in the scramble area.

What was your inspiration?

As a first year culinary student I said I'd never do a Bakery Display
project... I'm not good in the Bakery. Cooking and Baking lay at opposite
ends of the culinary spectrum. Cooking is pretty "free-form" and there
aren't a lot of rules: some of this, some of that... Baking is more
scientific and exact, and I think it requires more patience.

Over the summer I watched an episode of "Ace of Cakes" that lit the fire. A
woman wanted a cake for her husband with zombies sucking his brains. Simply,
I liked the idea of a zombie cake much better than I liked the idea of a
traditional wedding cake. School started a few weeks later and I signed up
for the rotation. The decision didn't really catch up to me until 6 months
later when the rotation came up and I went "Oh shit... I guess now I have to
do it."

How long did the cake take to make?

Not including the hours I spent hammering out the idea and mapping out a
game plan... I'd say somewhere around 30 hours in the kitchen. At one point
I fell behind (the zombies were trickier that I'd imagined) and I was coming
in before school and staying after to get it done...

What was your favorite part about making the cake?

Truely, I didn't know what I was doing. I just kinda went for it... and I
suprised myself.

Little things like lips and eyes took forever. Where things like carving
facial features out of cake seemed to almost happen on their own. Each small
accomplishment boosted me for the next challenge.

It's a great feeling to work really hard on something and then have it turn
out better than you'd imagined (the silly thing actually looked like chef
scott!). The cake is actually still sitting the classroom because I just
can't bear to get rid of it yet : )

What did the other students think?

I tried to keep the identity of the head a secret until the last minute- but
Chef Scott knows everything that happens in that kitchen and I'm sure he
knew before I did. Chef took it in good humor, though he says he'll get me
back : ). As for students, there was a lot of "you're doing what?!" and
"they're letting you do that?" I'm still in shock that I got away with it.
throughout the whole project I was kind of waiting for someone to put a stop
to it. But they didn't, and I just kept pushing. The blood was the "frosting
on the cake" if you will... the head looked much more innocent before the
blood. It even dried like real blood! Overall, the kitchen got a kick out of

Chef Scott Anselm, noted that "Sami's cake was very creative and incorporated many sound culinary techniques. Sami is skilled and has a good sense of humor. I think she and the other students enjoyed poking fun at me. We all have a good tome together in the kitchen."

1 comment:

denezeh said...

i love that zombie cake!!! It feels like something you, me, jc, and alexis, would go crazy for.

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