Paul’s Stories: A Trip to Monaco

Never judge a book by it’s cover…

One of my favourite parts of being a cake maker are the cake consultations / appointments. I love the buzz on a Saturday when you know all the cakes are finished and the new customers are here to talk CAKE…!!!

We built a lovely wedding room in our shop so we could give the VIP treatment to all our customer no matter who they were…! And they loved, loved it so much that we had to whoooosh them out so we could get ready for the next Bridal party!

Quite often we would work along side a wedding planner, which usually made life easier, with less contact with the customer and so my story is born.

Every weekend and Thursday evening we would run back to back wedding appointments in our wee boutique style wedding room. I would see so many brides its hard to remember them from Adam (or Eve)!!! (unless they were a nightmare or very, very rich…lol).

On this day the phone rings and I have a wedding planner from Edinburgh who only deals with the “creme de la creme” of the market so the posh voice is switched on straight away!

Planner- Hi Paul I believe you ran a wedding appointment with Mr Blah the other week? ME- (not got a clue) Oh yes that’s correct how are they doing are the plans coming together? (i’m now flipping through all the paperwork bearing in mind back then we were making around 15-20 wedding cake a week! )

Planner- Paul they loved your rich fruit cake and want you to make their wedding cake…in Monaco…! I’m now laying flat on my back with little yellow birds flying around my head…!

ME- Oh wow that’s wonderful, Can you email over all the details and I will work out a price!

Planner- Can you give 2 quotes please one to ship over just the fruit cake… The other for you to fly over and make the cake in Monaco.

ME- Yes not a problem one will check one’s diary and get back to you asap!

Well at the age of 24 this was a big ask and my instant reaction is I can’t do it, it’s to big a responsibility and I’m not good enough! Enter David… Yes you’re bloody going work out a price… Think of the publicity and future story telling…! mmmmmm! So I work out the price for me to fly over for a week and make the cake, we decided not to quote for the fruit cake on its own, it’s the full package or nothing (David’s words not mine)…!

So we hear nothing… Then a call weeks and weeks later to say that they had been trying to get the hotel to bake the rich fruit cake but the Chefs just couldn’t make as good as our’s…! (get in there lol). Can we still make the cake? YES off course we can, what’s the dates again please? (Bearing in mind this is over months not weeks since the original appointment)

Planner- It’s the 8th October…

ME- Oh the 8th……! yes not a problem!!!! (it’s only the same weekend as the biggest wedding show of the year in Glasgow!!! aaaahhhhhhhhh).

Anyway we say yes and start the planning, we bake the fruit cake, all 12 tiers of it!!! Ship it to Monaco (The cost alone to do this was more than 4 average wedding cakes put together). I think in total we only had 3 weeks notice of this wedding cake…! So we have 3 weeks to prep for Monaco and design and make all 12 new wedding cakes for the show… IT WAS MENTAL. I MEAN MENTAL! Our baker was having a break down as she had to bake all the fruit cake plus the day to day cakes PLUS 100 10″ square cutting cakes for the show!

I fly into Nice, France wearing jeans, a pair of brown shoes and a short sleeved shirt, nothing fancy put it that way!

I walk outside the Airport and a man all smartly dressed is holding a sign with Chef Bradford on it! (This is heaven, that was it, I felt famous)…!

The car is a blacked out Merc and off I go to Monaco……….. :-0

The car pulls up out side the Hotel de Paris in Monaco’s golden square… All I can see is James Bond cars everywhere and ladies looking like they’ve just walked off the catwalk!

I walk up the grand stairs the man at the top opens the mega shiny doors and BANG I instantly “sugar” myself its out of this WORLD… The table in the middle of the room about 4 meters wide and has a vase of fresh flowers the same size on top…! It’s unreal… My eyes are taking everything in, the celling is just spectacular with gold everywhere! To my left a lady is sitting on her own drinking tea, it just looks like a movie set, she reminds me of Audrey Hepburn she has a wee dog with a bling collar sat next to here on the floor!

My heart is beating so fast … I walk up to the reception and the man just looks at me like you’re in the wrong hotel… The Premier Inn is round the corner… lol!

I’m staying in the Columbus Monte-Carlo. I’ve only packed my chef whites and a few jeans and t-shirts… So I’m not dressed up enough to have dinner in the restaurant so every night I have dinner sent to my room. I look for shops in my price zone but they don’t exist…! lol

So my car collects me on the first of only 3 days as I need to fly back, to work on the show cakes. I’m dropped off at the workers entrance round the back…! (by the way they wanted me to stay for a week so I could make cakes for the after wedding in the villa but had to say no)

I’m now being shown the amazing kitchens, where no one speaks a word not one single word…! All you hear is the bubbling of the pans the tapping of the knifes and the pounding of my heart as we walk through the endless rooms! They have a booth where you can pay to have dinner in the kitchen its stunning like a throne all in gold with a stunning chandelier.

The head chef is French and not so smiley with me but I assume it’s just the job!

I’m then taken upstairs away from the kitchen and now walking through the main hotel we stop at the top of the side stairs and just like magic the wall slides open to reveal my very own kitchen where all cake and all my tools are, the chef just points to the phone and walks away! The door closes and i jump up and down and do a wee Paul dance! I have a window that looks on to the square its the best view ever!

The cake needs to be marzipanned, iced then stacked on a what I can only describe as a old fashioned medical stretcher painted white. It’s now lunch time and I decide to go for lunch I walk to the door then realise there’s no door handle….. how the feck does one get out…! I had to call the not so happy Chef to come and open the door… It turns out you stand on one of the floor tiles…silly me!

It’s now the last night and every night I just walked around the port watching all the mega rich have dinner on their boats for all to see with butlers standing by their side, it was beautiful but also a different world.

The cake is made and I’m really proud of it. I have no idea how they will move it, but I’m off…! As I walk down the stairs I see a face out side that look familiar… OMGoodness its the top florist from Edinburgh unloading a van, a van that has driven all the way from Scotland with all the flowers and tools! I rush out and have a chat, it turns out the customers met in Edinburgh at uni so decided that all the wedding stuff like cake, flowers etc would come from Edinburgh. I couldn’t believe it… how much money did these guys have? I also found out they had hired every limo car in Monaco and Nice for the week as well as helicopters and so on WOW and I had to leave and go home…! What an experience it was… So I’m now being driven back to the Airport and the phone rings… Its David sounding a little stressed… Paul, the baker has just walked out! WHAT, OMG! At this very second a car passes that I’ve never seen before, a BMW X6 I instantly fall in love with this car as I’m also sugaring my self at this devastating news about the baker… aahhhhhhh What a nightmare thank goodness I’m heading back and not staying on at the villa! (inside I really don’t want to go back to the mad house)

I get back around 9pm on the Thursday night and straight to the bakery to find David up to his elbows in cake batter and some cans of Red Bull ready for me. I literally had no sleep until the Saturday night, which was half way through the show.

As always, we muck in and the wedding show goes great and we take loads of order and David and I sleep for the whole of the next week…!

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