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Chef Catherine Beddall prepares for Valentine’s Day

For Chef Catherine Beddall, Valentine’s Day means some sweet business.

Beddall is a sugar artist and a baking and pastry teacher at Algonquin. She is preparing for the grand opening of her new business, The Honour Roll Bakery, where most of her baked goods will be Valentine’s Day themed and sold at Savoir Fare in the E-building.

“Valentine’s Day means what every big holiday means; a lot of baking, a lot of hours and a lot of preparation,” said Beddal. “It’s also a chance to do something different and fun. What I like about Valentine’s Day and baking for seasonal occasions is that it always changes.”

Baking for different occasions allows bakers to use their creativity in many different ways. One of Beddall’s favourite Valentine’s Day creations was when she made a “surprise cake” for a valued client. It was a chocolate cake with a red velvet, heart-shaped cake inside.

As she has done in previous years, Beddall has done a lot of preparation in anticipation of Valentine’s Day. Baked goods are made weeks in advance and only pieced together in the final days. This ensures maximum freshness.

Beddall started baking and decorating her sugar cookies by early January. Over 100 individually packaged sugar cookies have been made ranging from lovebirds to heart-shaped cookies.

Beddall is also excited to share her creation of about 40 sugar cookie gift packs. These packs contain four to five chocolate and vanilla sugar cookies. There are four different pack themes including you’ve got a PIZZA my heart and I’m DONUTS about you.

“There’s always trends, there’s always evolution in what’s popular. Right now, sugar cookies are huge, they always have been, but there’s a resurgence in that art,” said Beddall.

She anticipates that sales of the gift packs will be good because of the attention they have received over social media.

The Honour Roll Bakery will also provide a variety of Valentine’s Day themed cakes including her signature Cup of Cakes which come in four unique flavours.

“In the past, I’ve done mostly larger cakes and now I’m seeing a trend towards smaller, individual stuff, or cakes for two that can be shared between a couple, so that’s perfect for Valentine’s Day. We’ll have a couple of those in the bakery, for sure,” said Beddall.

Can’t choose just one sweet treat? Beddall has solved that problem too, with a gift pack that would solve any indecisive person’s problems.

“I like to think of them as dessert tapas because I personally love tapas and I can never decide on what I want to eat,” said Bedall. “I like to have a little sample of everything so I thought it would be a great idea to have a little sampler of our squares, that we offer, packaged together. They’re called Sweet Bites, so you don’t have to feel guilty about buying six different dessert squares.”

Valentine’s Day treats can be purchased when The Honour Roll Bakery is launched on Feb. 1. Second-year baking and pastry arts management students will be helping out for the grand opening. The students will have the opportunity to work closely with Beddall and The Honour Roll Bakery in the coming months.

When Valentine’s Day baking is said and done, Beddall estimates that she will have used approximately 45 pounds of flour, 45 pounds of sugar, over 30 pounds of butter and a couple hundred eggs for these seasonal goodies.

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