Memoir of the Cream & Gold Illusionist / Sheikha’s A.A’s wedding cake

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Mounted on the highest step of a tall ladder given to him by one of the royal guard, the maestro took out a very thin silk brush from his sleeve and was now putting the final touch of edible gold glitter onto his chef d’oeuvre.
And as he slowly stepped down, armed with the meticulous eyes of the perfectionist that he had become in his thirteen years in Arabia, he would review every single details of what he was yet again, about to offer to the world.
The fifteen members of his kitchen fleet had stepped aside as per protocol and were now observing him, all ready to step in by the sight of his hand or a word. Tough deep inside, none of them were feeling any less proud than the Chef commander himself about what had just been accomplished.
“C’est finit! (its ready)” did the chef finally utter in a broken English accent and at the relief of all.
Electricians, carpenters, designers, decorators and all of those who had their role to play in the birth of the masterpiece, gathered their tools at once. Handshakes shook with emotions and the crew departed, leaving the Head Chef handle the rest of the evening, as tradition goes.

A majestic seven-meter golden and white icing wedding cake was now powerfully standing tall in the large green grass and palm trees estate of a popular Sheikha, as if almost reaching to the desert sky.
Its posture was magnificent and even more, when the connoisseur of renaissance would recognise with enthusiasm the garden of Versailles daringly imprinted on it.
By a small breeze that reigned over the theatrical ambiance, the smell of Madagascar vanilla that emerged from the cake was softly embalming the entire space.
And since in the land of the Thousand and One Nights, nothing ever exists that is too big for extravagancy, a small water fountain had been built in on top of the masterpiece and was now glowing a vibrant blue light at the approach of sunset, whilst the royal personnel afar was patiently awaiting for the three thousand five hundred guests to arrive.

Six months was the time it took its creator to visualize, sketch and give birth to this unique and memorable nuptial element of a day.
A cake which challenged all known rules related to layered pieces and which due to its edible as well as its non edible structure required a maker that would not only be arising from an elite group, but one who would also possess the dual and combined knowledge of food and architecture. A world class to whom very few belong indeed.

Dressed in a black chef jacket that had been embossed in gold with his initials O.A along with his favorite number 4, the handsome middle age chef was now contemplating on that achievement of his that stood strong in front of him, as if almost defying him.
In a moment of peace, away from all eyes, he then took a deep breath and the same inner voice that had never left him since he departed from his motherland Morocco whilst he was only seven years old, was now telling him to finally let go. For indeed, all dices had already been thrown.
And thus, all that was left in the royal park was now the conductor, his Magnus opus and the invisible dialogue between the two and which usually occurs at these precise moments.

“This is such a big cake!” did suddenly state a young girl coming out from the side garden of the royal palace.
“What is your name?” did the chef reply with a smile, amused by the remark.
“I am Sophia” said the girl.
By the look of her outfit and posture, the youngster firmly belonged to the ground onto which the same cake was now standing.
The chef took a natural approach and whilst taking her hand, he brought her near the object of her curiosity.
“ My name is Omar and I am like a magician of sugar and gold. My mission in this life is to allow people who dream of having the biggest wedding cake of all, to render their wishes. So perhaps when you are older and you have such a desire, I will, in turn, make such a cake for you?”.
The girl satisfied with her enquiry simply smiled back, whilst a guard was coming to fetch her.
“Good bye for now” she said.
‘Good bye and see you perhaps in a few years” did he reply.

This small encounter had subtle the nervousness of the evening and everything that had yet to occur. Though, for now Omar was all thoughts about the cake, the small girl, the past and perhaps even the future…

Once, when he was not much older than the girl he just met, he too used to gaze at the cakes that deliciously presented themselves within the glass displays of Parisian pastry stores and boutiques. There he thought, they were the most respectfully, elegantly well bestowed sweets he had ever witnessed till date and which perhaps he was now simply trying to replicable and sublime, in all possible grandeur.
Paris, a city where he grew up and stayed for so many years and that remained till date, very dear and near to his heart.
And as fate will have it or ‘maktoob’ as what it was called in this part of the world, wouldn’t it be for a well-established woman whom he met by no existing chances at the age of thirteen, the world’s tallest wedding cake that was now rising in the garden would simply cease to exist. Her name was Suzie. And Suzie simply had been the tool employed by life to give him the finest pastry education and ultimately, the wings to fly higher than that which destiny had set for him at the time. Hence a life without Suzie meant no life at all as he realized years ago…
That is not to say though that all achievements are simply won. On the contrary, Omar was now remembering that one particular time when he tried to quit the game. But this is when Suzie, who was never too far from him, would firmly reply: “How would we to walk if all the brave shoemakers were to become braver travellers of unknown worlds? Where would we to live if all the worldly architects were to abandon pens and drawings to worldlier feasts? What would we to eat if all the hunters and fishmongers of every corners were to worship more than to kill the beasts? Hence, my dear old friend, what will become of a world where passionate ones are to deny their own passion?”
And as he was now recalling this unusual episode, he smiled and promised himself to call her the next day, in order to give her the tale and details of this present memorable evening.

The chef was suddenly brought back to the purpose of his being here, once the horde of violin suddenly decided to play and in the same manner, the large main glass door of the palace on looking the garden opened.
In the front row, carefully dressed for the occasion in the most sumptuous garments made out of rubies and opal stones, were now standing the young bride and groom who were proudly going to present their wedding cake to the assembly, as tradition dictates.
And following them intimately were the guests who had not spared any less on their formalwear. Whilst slowly dispersing themselves throughout the garden that was glittering a thousand lights braced within the majestic palm trees, astonishment and surprise at the immensity of the cake was all one could read on their facial expression.
Meanwhile, the fifty photographers, tired of waiting indefinitely for the main attraction to arrive, were finally given the adequate time to let the roll capture the pictures of the wedding of the year. And in the same manner as the guests, all were now startled at the beauty which the cake presented to them and which in their long career, for some, had never been witnessed before.
A fairy tale brought to life was now happening somewhere in the land of Arabia on this fine evening.

The chef stood aside whilst the Sheikh and Sheikha paved their way ahead and as they reached to the optimum moment of the night, a silver knife engraved in their initials was handed to them.
The chef d’oeuvre was at last cut and Omar would leave shortly afterwards, whilst knowing he was still the greatest cream and gold illusionist of all.

Sophie Parou

Stories of the voyageurs of Libanos

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That a man from the ancient Libanos and renowned throughout the whole land of Al Kut for his glorious and even more sumptuous wedding dresses – but who had merely made his fortune by the simple yet so meticulous algebra of being at the right place and at the right time – should have to close down his prestigious empire, would seem impossible on the face of our earth!
Yet, just as kings and queens will born, rise and die , times had changed and people had ceased longing for the white dress of a day and thus the poor but by now very prosperous man who had sold the last dream of a dress in his life, retired to his land to begin his new talent , that of a legend.

Credit: pic by Sergiosilvan