Chicago (CBS) — It’s Foodie Friday. Today’s spotlight is for dessert lovers. At Bon Vivant Cakes, baker girlfriend Emily Nejad puts a creative twist on every cake she makes and shares her love of baking with others.
Her colorful yet understated storefront on Spaulding Avenue in Chicago’s East Albany Park neighborhood is also where Nejad teaches Chicagoans how to hold and eat cake.
Nejad had a lot of creative work before he started decorating cakes. After her parents got her a KitchenAid stand mixer, she started learning the art of baking.
“I’m self-taught, right? So for me, I had no one to teach me how to do these things. Failure was my only teacher,” Nejad said. “In the process of baking a cake, in a span of 4, 5, 6 hours, we use very regular ingredients, such as flour, butter, sugar, and perhaps some sprinkles, so much so that we can vary it. It felt like magic to me, something so beautiful, so creative, something I could share with others.”
She started out ordering custom cakes, but a few years later she turned to teaching lessons and opened her shop, Bon Vivant Cakes.
Emily and her team host cake and cookie decorating classes, modeled especially for beginners.
“I know everyone who comes to my class comes from different levels of experience, different backgrounds, and different levels of trauma with baking and cake decorating. There is, but it’s a real beginner class,” said Nejad.
For a beginner class she covers a very wide range. Students will learn a variety of skills and techniques such as how to stack and pack a cake, how to do a crumb her coat, proper pastry her tweezers technique, and how to use a piping bag.
“We go on a three-hour, three-and-a-half-hour cake journey together. It doesn’t look like cake,” Nejad said.
Nejad said she encourages students to come to class with friends or on their own. Her goal is for her students to create more than fancy cakes.
“My personal mission is to be a place where people can connect and make friends with other creative or creatively curious people. [and] Put your phone away and stay there for exactly three hours. Because it is different from cake decoration. You really have to be present for it,” said Nejad.
She proves the relaxing, almost therapeutic effect of working with one’s hands and being intentionally creative.
“It’s like hypnosis, just asking you to be fully present in the moment. One of my philosophies is that people need to make things with their hands. , I think is very important to being human,” says Nejad.
Emily’s classes fill up quickly, but sign up for updates on her website, bonvivantcakes.com, and follow her on social media to stay up to date when new classes open .