What began as a simple cake walk soon transformed into a sort of sweet vision quest for WCCO newsman Jason DeRusha. "I just don't know how I'm going to get this thing home," he remarked as the cake he'd won from event organizer and James Beard Award-nominated pastry chef Michelle Gayer loomed behind him. It was the end of a long, fun-filled night as guests danced off the end of their collective sugar buzz.
If you couldn't make it to the recent event at the Fine Line, here's what you missed:
Best of all, it was all to benefit Share Our Strength, an organization who fights to end childhood hunger. The line snaked out the door and the Fine Line was packed with the area's best pastry chefs, bakers and the people of this town that love them.
Gayer greeted guests, stunning in a white blazer and newly acquired tan, having just returned from the South Beach Food & Wine Festival, where she cooked for the Charlie Trotter dinner and participated in a food truck rally with Andrew Zimmern. Zimmern was also in attendance, seen catching up with Zoe Francois.
The main floor held chefs like Heidi Woodman, namesake and award-winning pastry chef of Heidi's. A whole Tim McKee crew with Mike DeCamp, Bill Summerville, and Diane Yang of La Belle Vie, as well as Niki Francioli of Sea Change, were lined up in front of the stage. Behind the bar was North Star Bartenders Guild frontman and author Johnny Michaels, along with many others whipping and shaking together sweet alcoholic treats, like the bourbon-spiked milkshake topped with whipped cream.
Upstairs held pastry chefs like Sheela Namakkal (assisted by the foxy Erica Strait of Foxy Falafal), Solveig Tofte of Sun Street Breads, Carrie Summer of the Chef Shack (serving adorable white chocolate and pretzel "egg and bacon" bites), and Dan Oskey of the Strip Club Meat and Fish behind the bar. Guests were packed in and faced with more delectable sweets from many more participants at every turn.
Downstairs the Cake Walk was narrated by emcees Stephanie March and Stephanie Hansen of My Talk 107.1's Weekly Dish. Participants bought raffle tickets and numbers were drawn. Two of the first numbers selected were Jason DeRusha and his wife. Other lucky winners filled the circle, each standing by a balloon. As the music played, they walked slowly around the circle until the DJ cut the tunes. The winners found themselves by an orange balloon, they then got to choose their cake. DeRusha was the first winner selected and picked Gayer's impressive confection.
The party raged on long after the winners had chosen their cakes and most were boxed up for a safe travel home. The floor was littered with plastic wrappers, chocolate pearls, and cookie crumbs. Revelers buzzed with sugar and full stomachs, knowing that hopefully a few more kids will also get to go to bed with that same happy, full feeling.