We just wrapped up another week at Little Feet in the Kitchen summer cooking camp with a field trip to the Montage Beverly Hills, hosted by the incredibly charming and talented Chef Richard Ruskell, winner of Food Network’s “Last Cake Standing” — also known as The Best Cake Artist in America.
Chef Ruskell first gave us a tour of the luxe Montage Hotel, including the rooftop garden…
…the lobby, tearoom, the ballroom and the outstanding open kitchen, which boasts a special chef’s table for the very lucky.
Though the enormous open kitchen boasting shiny copper pots, luscious marble countertops and state-of-the-art equipment was awe-inspiring, our favorite room was the special Pastry Room, the door of which is closed tightly to the public for various reasons. Entering this room was like entering a sanctuary… a sugar sanctuary, that is, as this is where cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies, French macarons, chocolate dipped strawberries and every possible treat are born.
Our stomachs growled as Chef Ruskell explained various buttercream techniques and the delicious cakes, cookies, desserts and pastries made at the hotel.
Luckily, Chef Ruskell was not only generous with his time and baking secrets, but also with his desserts! He and one of his sous chefs surprised us with a cupcake decorating lesson, as well as some of his famous chocolate chip cookies… the best!
If campers hadn’t impressed the chef with their knowledge of kitchen terms such as mise en place, they definitely surprised him with their piping skills.
We love Chef Ruskell’s trick of reusing cupcake crumbs as sprinkles (below)… we’ll sign up for that recycling program anytime!
But enough about cupcakes… we wanted to see just one more cake created by the master, and we were not disappointed! Just look at the sculpted chocolate details on this very special cake, which was made for a top secret celebrity…
After those delicious cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies & all of those wonderful tips from a celebrity pastry chef, the last thing we wanted to do was leave, however, Chef Ruskell had to get back to his sweet confections, so we said goodbye, and headed back to Studio City, visions of sugar still dancing in our heads.