Braise! Broil!

Four area chefs teach kids the ropes. Plus, Cake!

Cake — a church of the immaculate tart in Latah Valley - TAMMY MARSHALL
Tammy Marshall
Cake — a church of the immaculate tart in Latah Valley

Holy Guacamole, Batman! America has gone crazy for cuisine, elevating chefs to rock-star status. But one North Idaho organization sees them more like comic book superheroes.

St. Vincent de Paul’s Art on the Edge program has recruited four prominent area chefs to lend their culinary expertise (and some comic relief) to “Culinary Art with Chefs.” From June 14-18, the Fantastic Four — Adam Hegsted, Gabe Cruz, Troy Chandler and Travis Whiteside — will teach youngsters grades K-5 how to cook, superhero-style, by preparing food for the whole camp.

This isn’t the first time many of these chefs have been involved in the kids camp, nor are they strangers to Art on the Edge, says Ami Manning, AOE director. Hegsted, for example, was at Brix when he faced Cruz (formerly at 41 South and Dish in Sandpoint) in AOE’s original Cajun Cookoff fundraiser. Chandler (from Bonsai Bistro) won top props at the first-ever Martini Mixoff, an AOE fundraiser held last fall at Coeur d’Alene Casino (where Hegsted works). And Whiteside has been doing cooking classes at the Bistro since leaving Fisherman’s Market.

For many of the chefs, especially those who are fathers of young children, it’s a cause close to the heart and a great way to inspire the next generation — keeping the flame alive, so to speak. (Carrie Scozzaro)

Culinary Art with Chefs runs June 14-18 at the Harding Family Center, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Registration required. Cost is $10-$50, billed on a sliding scale. Visit or call 208-676-0917. 

Layer Cake

With the Gothic window and the cathedral ceilings, you’re tempted to look in the narrow space between buildings to see if the architect installed flying buttresses.

Cake, the new venture from ex-Bittersweet owner Gina Garcia and Chaps’ Celeste Shaw, is a cathedral to sweets. It’s sprung up as a bakery connected to Chaps, in the narrow space between Shaw’s country-chic restaurant and the Trading Company next door.

Though it’s an annex, don’t consider it undersized. The gabled peak of Cake’s roof is taller than Chaps’ and the footprint of the building itself seems slightly wider, if not as deep. And where Chaps is cut into two adorable stories of rabbit-warren rooms, Cake is a single periwinkle blue and black space with views into the bakery and 30-foot ceilings. Shaw’s eclectic, found-art aesthetic persists in Cake, though it’s more subdued — at least for now. Construction is ongoing. A local design firm, Deja Neu, repurposed vintage elements like pipes and gymnasia glass into fixtures and such.

Most of Chaps’ beloved side yard still exists, serving now as the jaunty preamble to Cake’s broad front patio and large entryway.

On a trip there last Saturday for the Farm Chicks after-party, a selection of Cake’s pastries were on display. We’d gotten there a little late apparently. The spread looked bombed-out, crumbs akimbo, like a war-torn Candyland. Garcia said, “Someone asked me, ‘Have you been to the dessert mosh pit?’”

Certain items remained, however, like the lemon cloud pie, which was a picture of simplicity: a creamy citrus floof atop a thin flaky crust. The tiramisu wasn’t immediately recognizable — until a bite unleashed a momentary hint of liquor. The entire confection seemed to disappear on the tongue like cotton candy.

Once the joint opens, pastries and slices will run from $1.25 to about $3.50, Garcia says, with full desserts ranging from $15 to $45.

Garcia says she’s not doing crepes to begin with, though she knows they were a customer favorite at Bittersweet. “They were very popular, but you don’t want to bite off too much,” she says. She’ll offer some savory tarts and croissants in case you arrive to find you’ve lost your sweet tooth.

There will also be a martini bar installed between the two businesses. The cocktails on display Saturday — bedecked with floats of sorbet from Brain Freeze Creamery— citrus-y and decadent as the cloud pie.

Garcia says she has about double the space here as she had at Bittersweet (3,000 square feet as opposed to 1,500), but the seating area seems much larger than that, as does the kitchen. We’re attributing all that spaciousness to high ceilings and the benevolent gaze of the pastry gods. (Luke Baumgarten)

Cake will soft-open on Sunday, June 13, and open full-on two days later. Operating hours are still being worked out. Call Chaps for the time being: 624-4182.

Freaks of a Feather Book Launch Party @ Spangle Service Club

Sat., July 31, 5-8 p.m.
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About The Authors

Luke Baumgarten

Luke Baumgarten is commentary contributor and former culture editor of the Inlander. He is a creative strategist at Seven2 and co-founder of Terrain.