Lifetime Achievement Award – Fondant
Mercedes Strachwsky is a self-taught cake designer. She was born in Popayan, Colombia and came to reside in the United States in 1980. She has been married to architect and pastry chef Alex Strachwsky and has three children.
As a child Mercedes was always fascinated with art. Her love of nature inspired her as a young girl. She discovered cakes when she ordered a birthday cake for her son and was not happy with the results. She began a hobby in cakes and it continued to grow. As she discovered new techniques for cakes her passion grew into teaching.
She became an active member for the organization ICES and a few years later was asked to create the state show cake for the 1997 ICES Convention at Disney World.
Mercedes took on that challenge and worked on it for several months from her newly moved in home in Orlando. When completed the show cake proved to be the best of the best. It was recognized as a work of art and was transferred to the Orlando Science Center as a permanent exhibition. Today, many locals and children see the cake and see the beauty of Florida through it. The show cake was 9 feet in diameter and contained over 600 pounds of fondant. It was a true representation of the natural beauty of Florida and each section represented the endangered elements of her state.
In 2001, her husband’s dream of opening a small pastry shop coincided with Mercedes new passion. They opened up a shop called Bake Me A Cake Pastry Shop in Altamonte Springs, Florida. Still teaching on the side Mercedes and Alex spend many hours a week at the bakery. This husband and wife team work together. Alex is a pastry chef and creates many variations of fine desserts and bakes all the cakes that come out of the bakery. Mercedes and her team take each cake and decorate it with a fine attention to detail. It is this creativity and attention to detail that has placed her as one of the nations most recognized cake decorators.
In 2009, her son Michael entered Mercedes in the most prestige wedding cake competition of the United States. On October 1, 2009 Mercedes drove up this massive cake to the National Wedding Cake Competition in Tulsa, Oklahoma and was announced as the Grand Prize Winner. Mercedes, who started and finished the cake in just under a week, was known as a master cake artist. Kerry Vincent, show director and Food Network Star said these fine words, “Nothing was left to chance,” Vincent said. “Every detail was pretty much perfect, even to the embellishment on the edge of her cake board. Truly worthy of being in a museum.
Mercedes credits her husband with much of her success. He has always been my biggest supporter and critic, Mercedes says.
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