I never thought that my education in Fine Arts in Aix-en-Provence, France, could one day be useful in the food business here in the US. The visual aspect of food – the composition, the construction, the creative transformation – follows the principles common to all visual arts. But being able to hold a brush, mix colors, and trace lines on food is still surreal to me. Cake painting is one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen, and I enjoy it even more when the theme is inspired by a picture book.


Once, I was asked to design a cake for a one-year-old girl. The cake I created had candied oranges, cardamom and orange blossom syrup, and it was inspired by the little girl’s favorite picture book that is shaped like a train. When you flip the pages, you move from one car to the next, like a passenger discovering the bright, colorful, and happy faces in the train along a journey.


When I arrived to deliver the dessert, I had the impression that I was entering into the book’s world. There was an Indian food truck with bright doodles all over it, colorful tablecloths like the train cars of the book, large bowls of fresh, round oranges dotting the landscape, and of course, beautiful smiling faces everywhere. My cake was where it belonged.