Award-winning ICE Chef Instructor and Master Cake Decorator Toba Garrett makes decorating look incredibly easy. She has been practicing the art of cake decorating for over 30 years and teaching classes for almost 20 of those years. She literally wrote the book on cake decorating with her book Professional Cake Decorating. Her book, Wedding Cake Art and Design, won the 2011 International Association of Culinary Professionals Award in the Professional Kitchen category. Her classes on decorating are incredibly popular with professionals and students, as well as serious-minded bakers.

Yesterday, she shared some of her decorating techniques and secrets in a demo for ICE students and alumni where she covered how to make a stunning Venetian mask entirely out of gumpaste. Venetian Masks are traditionally worn during the Carnival of Venice. They come in various colors with lots of gold details, relief work and lots of feathers. Chef Toba demonstrated how to mold a mask and how to airbrush and decorate it to perfection. She walked the audience through how to make two different masks with different techniques such as airbrushing, piping, painting with edible gold paint, and crafting details such as ribbons and feathers.

During the demo Chef Toba encouraged the students to be creative and take risks. She suggested that they play with ideas and see how they came together, but cautioned that sometimes you need to walk away from a project for half an hour and then come back with fresh eyes to see it in a new light so that you can see details you would have missed before. She told the students to have confidence in their choices and said that if they deviate from the original design, “clients aren’t going to know. They are just going to think that’s what the decorator meant to do.”

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