Now, I wasn't kidding when I said that Mike is my "cake hero". There are many cake artists in the industry that I admire and draw inspriration from but Mike's work is seriously jaw-droppingly AMAZING. The level of detail and realism in his cakes are incredible and definitely something that I strive to achieve in my own work. So you can see, there was no way I was going to pass up the opportunity to meet and learn from the best in the business (literally).
I've seen all his appearances on the Food Network Challenges and even own his instructional DVD on sculpting car cakes and from what I can tell, he seemed like a nice guy but I was surpised by how down-to-earth and genuine he is. He was patient with those of us who needed a little extra help, answered all of our questions candidly, and even regaled us with some behind-the-scenes tales of the Food Network cake challenges. The class itself was organized, well-thought out, informational, and above all FUN, FUN, FUN!!!
Let me share with you a bit of what we learned in class.
Day 1 we learned everything there is to know about modeling chocolate (MC for short), including how to make it, how to store it, what chocolates to use, it's qualities and limitations, etc. We also learned about approximately 10 different techniques on how to use modeling chocolate in cake decorating. Below are 4 of those techniques (can't give away everything, 'ya know).
MC takes impresions really well - this one is an impression made from lace.
......and the finished cake.