If you love cake—and we mean really, really love cake—don’t miss the delectable “Let Them Eat Cake” event on April 11 in Philadelphia. Forty-two pastry chefs will put their most creative frosting forward for the seventh annual fundraiser, which benefits the prestigious cancer center City of Hope. Harry Giordano, the senior director of development for the northeast region of City of Hope, is on a sugar rush just thinking about all the goodies to be featured. MLT caught up with him this week for his take on what guests can expect.
MLT: It’s ingenious focusing an event entirely around cake. How did Let Them Eat Cake come about?
HG: Eight years ago, I hosted a bridal event with Mark Kingsdorf, owner of Queen of Hearts Wedding Consultants. What we learned from that event was that the cake table was the table everyone visited. So, the next year, we came up with Let Them Eat Cake and made cakes the primary focus. We had seven cakes the first year, and this year we’ll have 42.
MLT: So this isn’t a bridal event?
HG: It started as a wedding cake competition and, although it has the bridal undertones, this event really appeals to everyone because you buy cakes for a variety of occasions. By having a theme, the pastry chefs can use their imagination and veer away from the standard bridal format. It’s a food event. Foodies love it. We’re expecting, easily, a crowd of 1,000 people. We’ll also have 30 vendors—gyms, salons, bridal and clothing—that you can visit in between eating cake. Brandywine Valley Talent’s band, the Strangers, will also be playing. They’re a really great ’80s cover band.
MLT: Should people expect to see a sea of white cakes?
HG: I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find a white cake. These cakes are very elaborate.
MLT: Sort of like the creations you see on TLC’s Cake Boss?
HG: It’s funny you said that because Dana Herbert of Desserts by Dana in Delaware is competing this year, and he won a competition held by cake boss Buddy Valastro.
MLT: Very cool. What is the theme of this year’s event?
HG: The theme is “Historical Romances: Love in Any Age.” It’s a perfect theme for Philadelphia. And who better to host with me than Ben Franklin?
MLT: Why is City of Hope so deserving of the event’s proceeds?
HG: City of Hope is such a wonderful place and deserves it for so many reasons. The entire 144-acre campus in California specializes in cancer, diabetes and HIV treatment research. It’s important to stress that 89 cents of every dollar raised goes directly to City of Hope; the money goes where you want it to go. On a personal note, my father had a bout with cancer, and he took Rituxan when he went through his treatment process. That drug was discovered at City of Hope. They’ve actually discovered many major cancer drugs. The hospital is also responsible for being a pioneer in bone-marrow transplants. They’re on the verge of curing Type 1 diabetes. City of Hope collaborates with the top three cancer hospitals in Philadelphia, which includes the University of Pennsylvania, Fox Chase Medical Center and Jefferson. We have over 85 collaborations in the Philadelphia area alone. We have more than 300 trials going on right now, with the majority cancer related; some are diabetic related.
MLT: What’s your favorite part of the event?
HG: Besides eating the cake? I’d have to say watching people come in who are seeing it for the first time. People don’t know what they’re expecting, and they really have the “Oh, my God” moment. The room is filled with these beautiful, artistic representations that are edible. That’s what’s really cool about it. I’m so proud of this event, and I’m very grateful to the many key sponsors who have been with us since the first event, including Brandywine Valley Talent and Sarah Doheny of YUBpr. I’m always asked what we do with the leftover cake, and I’m happy to say that we take all leftovers to St. John’s Hospice.
MLT: Any pastry chefs that you consider not-to-be-missed contestants?
HG: I definitely don’t play favorites, but Colleen Laky of Piece ’a Cake Bakery in Macungie was last year’s winner, so it will be interesting to see what she comes up with this year.
6 p.m. $40 in advance, $50 at the door. Loews Philadelphia Hotel, 1200 Market St., Philadelphia, (215) 627-1200. Click here for more info.