When visiting San Francisco a few weeks ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet the very kind and fabulously talented Richard Festen of Baking Arts!
Richard has a degree in cellular biology, and spent the first part of his career in the biotechnology industry. Later, he graduated from the California Culinary Academy Baking and Pastry Arts Program in San Francisco, and began creating beautiful wedding and celebration cakes. In addition, he started teaching culinary and pastry classes. Now through his business, Baking Arts, he offers an amazing array of classes at his studio in the city. You can learn the fine art of chocolate, croissants, choux pastry, petit fours, macaroons, artisan breads, puff pastry, cupcakes, souffles, tarts, cookie and cake decorating and more! Check out his current class schedule here!
Richard is also very experienced in working with chocolate modeling paste, and has perfected the art of using it to create stunning cakes like these:
Wrapped cake by Baking Arts:
Striped cake by Baking Arts:
He offers Master Classes in both the wrapped and striped techniques, and I cannot wait to get back up to San Francisco to attend both sessions! I have limited experience working with modeling chocolate, and am looking forward to learning how to use it in such a beautiful way!
The Baking Arts studio is a gorgeous space, and Richard works there with small groups of students to make sure everyone gets plenty of hands-on practice and a good understanding of the theory behind the process. He also works with private parties...which would be a great idea for a group of friends! He is kind, thoughtful, patient, calm, smart, funny, experienced and knowledgeable...all attributes of a wonderful teacher.
And I couldn't help but smile when I first walked in...the studio is absolutely beautiful, and lends itself to a very relaxed and positive learning environment:
More examples of Richard's work:
Sign me up for modeling chocolate, macaroons and croissants...just to start! My next trip to San Francisco will definitely include a few classes! You can read more about Baking Arts here, and you can contact Richard here.
Thank you, Richard, for your time and gracious hospitality! It was such a pleasure to meet you!
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