NOWFE’s Big Gateaux Show

In true New Orleans fashion, the folks over at NOWFE decided to celebrate their 20th anniversary in an unique way – with an international cake competition inspired by the performers of Fleur de Tease burlesque troupe!

Held in the Grand Ballroom of the Royal Sonesta hotel, guests were handed decandent chocolates as they entered along with a special NOWFE doubloon.  We were all given instructions to use our doubloons to vote for the cake that we thought had the best taste and presentation.  The Nicolas Feuillatte champagne was flowing, as well as the King Cake Vodka – yum!  Adding to our pleasure, the event was hosted by Sucre’s charming Tariq Hanna and Top Chef Just Desserts co-host, Johnny Iuzzini (Swoon!).

Utilizing Bella Blue’s Parisienne costume as inspiration, Chef Vanessa Fiorini of Toronto created a striped and tassled creation whose upper portion rotated when a crank was turned.  Trixie Minx in her trumpet dress was the muse for Dallas’ Bronwen Weber.  Bronwen’s elaborately detailed masterpiece earned the judges’ award and $5000 prize.  Perhaps the hats that Trixie had made for the chefs on Bronwen’s team pushed her over the top?

Winner of the People’s Choice Award was local chef Gonzalo Jimenez of the Hyatt Regency.  Inspired by Madame Mystere’s bullfighter costume, this was coincidentally the cake that won my doubloon as well!

Unfortunately the home team from the Royal Sonesta did not fare as well.  Solandie Exantus’ cake inspired by Roxie LeRouge’s Oriental ballet costume apparently encountered some difficulties on its way to the judging, and lost its head and arms!  Fortunately, it still tasted amazing and was a fierce competitor for my doubloon!

The evening wasn’t all fun and games, however.  Bringing an educational element to the competition, each team included culinary students from Delgado Community College, affording them with what I am sure was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.