June 25, 2011: The new Miss Universe Canada is crowned!

Last night in Toronto, Chelsae Durocher, was crowned Miss Universe Canada 2011! She will be representing Canada at the 2011 Miss Universe pageant to be held in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on September 12th.

L to R: Miss Universe 2005 & Miss Universe Canada 2005 Natalie Glebova, newly crowned Miss Universe Canada 2011 Chelsae Durocher, and outgoing queen Miss Universe Canada 2010 Elena Semikina. 🙂

Top 5:

Miss Universe Canada 2011: Chelsae Durocher, Tecumseh, ON 
1st Runner-up: Elishia Sahota, North Delta, BC
2nd Runner-up: Brooke Boyle, Edmonton, AB
3rd Runner-up: Emily Kiss, Windsor, ON
4th Runner-up: Krystal Bedard, Pointe Claire, QC

Top 5.

Top 12 Semi Finalists
Celine LaFlame, Toronto, ON
Ivanna Tarnowecky, Kingston, ON
Kim Savard, Chicoutimi, QC
Linsay Willier, Burnaby, BC
Maxime Mastrojoseph, Saint-Bruno, QC
Pablita Thomas, Mississauga, ON
Victoria Volkova, Thornhill, ON

Top 12.

Top 20 Quarter Finalists
Anastasia Florin
Jennifer King
Linda Wang
Mannu Sandhu
Mariah Dixon
Rana Khaled
Sarah Gheisari
Sonia Judge


Floodwork Border and Fondant Cake

In last night’s Cake Decorating #2 we rolled out fondant and covered a round styrofoam cake and board. We added floodwork dot decorations to the collar that we made last week, then once dry, we attached the floodwork collar to the cake. We decorated the cake board with a royal icing border design mirroring the floodwork collar. I then piped a fine point border around the bottom of the cake where it meets the board.

Floodwork Border and Fondant Cake.
Floodwork Border.

We also covered a small decorative board with fondant and attached the floodwork penguin that we made last week. We added additional detail work to decorate the outer border and and the background. I chose to make a purple and yellow point border and purple snowflakes, all done with floodwork. Before the snowflakes were dry, I sprinkled granulated sugar on them for an add effect. 🙂

My Floodwork Penguin! 😀

June 19, 2011: A New Miss USA Is Crowned!

The 2011 Miss USA pageant was held Sunday June 19, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Theatre for the Performing Arts at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino. And this year’s 60th Miss USA winner was Miss California – Alyssa Campanella!

The 21-year-old New Jersey native beat out 50 other hopefuls from the States,  plus Washington D.C. Campanella was crowned by 2010 winner Rima Fakih and will represent the United States in the Miss Universe pageant in Sao Paulo, Brazil on Sept. 12.

Top 4
Miss USA 2011: Miss Califonia – Alyssa Campanella
1st Runner Up: Miss Tennessee – Ashley Durham
2nd Runner Up: Miss Alabama – Madeline Mitchell
3rd Runner Up:  Miss Texas – Ana Rodriguez.

Final Two!
Alyssa Campanella, Miss California, reacts as she is announced as the 2011 Miss USA as Miss Tennessee, Ashley Elizabeth Durham looks on, Sunday, June 19, 2011, in Las Vegas.
Top 4!

Remainder of the Top 8:
Miss Maine – Ashley-Lynn Marble
Miss South Carolina – Courtney Turner
Miss Hawaii – Angela Byrd
Miss Maryland – Allyn Rose

Top 8 in Swimwear.
Top 8 in Eveningwear.

Remainder of Top Sixteen:
Miss Georgia USA – Kaylin Reque
Miss Arizona – Brittany Dawn Brannon
Miss Utah – Jamie  Lynn Crandall
Miss Indiana – Jillian Wunderlich
Miss South Carolina – Courtney Turner
Miss Florida – Lissette Garcia
Miss Missouri – Hope  Driskill
Miss New Mexico – Brittany Toll

Top 16.

Miss Arizona – Brittany Brannon. The general public voted  for the delegate who  exemplifies beauty through the lens of a camera. She was awarded a $1,000 cash  prize as well as a pair of Asteria earrings from Diamond Nexus Labs.

Miss Kentucky – Kia Hampton.  The award reflects the respect and admiration of the contestant’s peers, who  voted for her as the most congenial, charismatic and inspirational participant.  She was awarded a $1,000 cash prize as well as a pair of Asteria earrings from Diamond Nexus Labs.

The MISS USAÂŽ 2011 prize package includes:
– a custom diamond tiara and jewelry  designed by Diamond Nexus Labs;
a one year scholarship  (including housing) from the New York Film Academy;
a year’s worth ofhair care products and tools from Farouk Systems;
– an assortment of  high fashion bracelets made in Rwanda by women of the Same Sky Trade  Initiative;
an eveningwear wardrobe by Sherri Hill;
– a swimwear wardrobe by Kandy Wrappers;
– a shoe wardrobe from Chinese Laundry;
– a year’s supply of nail care products from OPI Products, Inc.;
– a year’s  worth of sun care products from Australian Gold;
– luxury accommodations in  a New York City apartment for the duration of her reign, including living expenses;
– a year-long salary as Miss USA; personal services  including membership to Gravity Fitness and hair services from John  Barrett Salon;
– a year’s worth of cosmetics from Rain  Cosmetics;
modeling portfolio by leading fashion photographer Fadil Berisha;
– dermatology and skincare services provided by Dr.  Cheryl Thellman-Karcher;
– professional health and nutrition consultation by Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD and dental services by Dr. Jan Linhart,  D.D.S.;
– casting opportunities and professional representation by the Miss Universe Organization;
– extensive travel opportunities representing sponsors and charitable partners; access to various New York City events including movie premiers and screenings,  Broadway shows and launch parties; year long consultation with Miss Universe Organization’s Official Fashion Consultant, Alisha Crutchfield and access to a personal appearance wardrobe;  professional media/public relations training and representation by Rubenstein  Public Relations in New York City and the opportunity to represent the USA at the  2011 Miss Universe pageant this September in SĂŁo Paulo, Brazil.

Former Miss USA Titleholders pose on stage with the newly crowned Miss USA, at the conclusion of the 60th Anniversary Miss USA 2011 Telecast.

Walnut Japonaise, Marquise, and Caramelized Banana Cake

In yesterday’s Chocolate Desserts class we made a Walnut Japonaise, Marquise, and Caramelized Banana Cake. We also made mini tart versions as well! 😀

Japonaise can be a very versatile item in a pastry chef’s repetoire. It adds crunch and can be made with just about any kind of nut. A marquise is somewhere between a mousse and a ganache. It is a great option when you want a filling more stable than mousse yet not as rich as ganache.

Mini Tarts Versions of the Walnut Japonaise, Marquise, and Caramelized Banana Cake. Some dipped in White Chocolate. 😀
Walnut Japonaise, Marquise, and Caramelized Banana Cake.
Top View.
Close up shot of Slice. You can see the caramelized bananas! 🙂

Cake Collar

In last night’s Cake Decorating #2, we made two cake collars for next week’s cake, and a cute little penguin using flood work. What we did was first pipe the outlines with royal icing. Then we filled them in using flood work.

So what did I learn?

I learned that firstly, it looks easy and simple, yet its very time consuming and precise. And secondly, if I choose to do this kind of technique in the future, I will need to be seated with my work on a raised platform, because boy-o-boy does that hurt your back! 😛

Cake Collar.

Rugalachs and Sugar Cookies

In last night’s Art of Cookies class we made Rugalachs and Sugar Cookies. 🙂

Okay, so I’ll be honest, I had no idea going into last night’s class what on earth a Rugalachs was. Even as we were making the cookies, there were steps that made me think of other foods, like cinnamon buns. And then when they were finshed (both before and after they were baked), I looked at those cookies and thought “pigs in a blanket”. Huh? Um, yeah, not exactly what you want to think about when you make cookies, but I did. Well, until I ate one! The dough was like a pastry, not a traditional cookie dough. And the filling was similar to a cinnamon bun because of the chopped pecans, raisins, cinnamon, and brown sugar. So much tastier than they look! Ha! 😀


The other cookie we made were Sugar Cookies. We cut out both tops and bottoms with the same shape. I chose to use a flower shape, for both the size of the cookie, as well as the ‘cut-out’ in the top cookie. We then filled them with raspberry jam, and sprinkled them with icing sugar. You can also finish them by dipping them in chocolate, or drizzling them chocolate.

Sugar Cookie Sandwiches with raspberry jam inside and sprinkled with icing sugar. 🙂


In yesterday’s Chocolate Desserts class we made Macarons! 🙂

The French Macarons has been around in shape or form for hundreds of years, but has had a recent renaissance. What used to be only chocolate or vanilla is now created in many vibrant colours and any number of “untraditional” flavours. Though seemingly simple, the macaron can often be tempermental and troublesome to make.

I actually was expecting them to be difficult. I always had the impression that they were not the simplest cookie to make, and based on the fact that many people struggled to make them in my class, I was surprised at how easily I found them. I made them so easily and quickly, that I ended up making two batches. Yummy! 😉

Just baked Vanilla Macaron cookies ready to be filled with buttercream.
Vanilla Macarons with Vanilla Buttercream.
A yummy close up shot of my Vanilla Macarons with Vanilla Buttercream.