Some helpful tips and other musings from Graham...

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Cake Tasting

Each cake tasting visit will be conducted with Graham and will last for 1 hour. Our comfortable setting located at 718 N Cleveland Street, Richmond Virginia, has everything you need to help you select your cake. We encourage you to bring any photographs or ideas with you. The bride’s room will seat you and 2 guests most comfortably, enabling us to cover everything within an hour. It is recommended that the decision makers attend the visit. Up to 4 guests can be accommodated; however, this typically results in an incomplete visit.

The purpose of the visit is:
To introduce you to the easiest way of selecting a wedding cake that meets your needs.

We do this because you may not have ordered a wedding cake before and your cake is the centerpiece of your reception. This visit will be the best use of your time and you will be a knowledgeable consumer about a very important investment you are about to make.

By the end of the visit you will have an idea for your cake and a realistic budget to work from, both of which are flexible. You will be given an information folder which includes your personalized cake concept, your initial budget and some samples to take with you to enjoy.

The CAKE has 4 characteristics to be considered…they are:

CONSTRUCTION
Artistic decoration and DESIGN
Kind of FROSTING
Eating quality, FLAVOR

PRICING – Once the characteristics are known, this allows a cost per serving which is used in calculating the cost of the cake.

Number of servings X Cost per serving, plus tax (5%), plus delivery (starts at $50)
= TOTAL COST

An initial investment of one half secures the date, with the final investment due 2 weeks before the wedding. Updates to your agreement can be made at any time up to 15 days prior to your wedding day. Checks and cash are accepted.

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Helpful hints with time lines

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A couple came in to select their wedding cake recently and the bride appeared to be very rushed. She sat upright on the edge of the chair, frowned a lot and in the first few minutes of speaking with them the bride hurriedly talked about what she had found, like, considered, not liked, what her friends cake looks like, and what her bridesmaids had like, the flowers and her rehearsal dinner. As she spoke she appeared to be panicking, so when she took a breath I asked, “So tell me when the wedding is?” She replied, “It’s next year and I only have 11 months left.” “Oh we have plenty of time then” I said. She appeared confused and after talking with her some more I discovered she had read a timeline somewhere that the cake had to be ordered a year in advance.

 

After reassuring her that she had plenty of time to pick out the cake she sat back relaxed into the chair and appeared as if a weight had been lifted from her shoulders. She had taken the timeline literally and was thinking she was behind schedule. Soon she began to smile and was able to relax, answer questions calmly which resulted in us making great progress and picking out the perfect cake.

March 009 

It’s understandable when planning a wedding for the first time you will believe what you read and are told, but unfortunately not all guidance is good guidance. You could read four different timelines and they will all tell you a different time when the cake has to be ordered. When you take into account different regions wedding seasons and vendor availability not all timelines are applicable to all regions or all vendors.

 

No two published timelines are going to be identical. My advice would be find a time line you think is realistic and comfortable for you and stick to it… But only use it as a guide.

Location, Location, Location!

Why do we need to know if the wedding and reception are in the same location?

Realtors, whether here in Richmond, Va. or elsewhere like to say it’s all about location and they’re right, it is. But it’s also important to bakers for a totally different reason…it affects the wedding cake delivery time, let me explain.

049_Slater-EdelsteinS-1Let’s say a wedding begins at 5pm with the reception following at 6pm. With minimal finishing touches and set up required for the cake, the delivery time could possibly be an hour to an hour and a half before the reception, therefore between 4.30 and 5pm. That delivery time would be perfect to allow plenty of time for set up, finishing touches and an adequate time cushion for any unexpected delays before guests arrive at the reception site at 6pm.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHowever, if the ceremony and reception were at the same place and we used the same time line, the cake would be being delivered as guest were arriving for the ceremony. Not the best idea, as we would want the guests to see the cake finished in all its glory, not being carried in undecorated and then being finished on the cake table.

If the ceremony and the reception are at the same place then the cake would likely be delivered a little earlier, possible 3.30- 4pm – so the cake is complete finished before guests arrive. Also vacating an often much coveted parking space close to the reception area. So providing that it’s not a butter cream cake served outside when it’s 95 degrees the 3.30-4pm delivery is appropriate if the wedding and reception are at the same place but 4.30-5pm if they are in different locations.

So, that’s why do we need to know if the wedding and reception are in the same place?

Jagger-Sniffin wedding

1 Reason why cakes by Graham is “More Then Just The Icing On The Cake”

ShowImage.aspxRICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – A Museum District baker didn’t knead his own dough to be threatened in order to rise up against a sticky fingered suspect Wednesday morning, making it a piece of cake for Richmond police to return the suspect to the cooler.

The action began cooking shortly after 9 a.m. on Cleveland Street.

Michaela Duck, the Girl Friday at  Cakes by Graham, was a few minutes late to work and pulled by the business, right in front of the neighboring floral firm’s delivery van.

“I actually pulled in front of the van and saw a gentleman jump in and shut the door and start rifling through. I kept watching because I didn’t recognize him,” she said.

When the stranger got out, she checked with Tommy Autry, owner of Tommy’s Garden, to make sure he hadn’t hired a new driver.

He hadn’t.

The police were called and Michaela went in and told her boss what was going on.

 

“I went out there,” said Graham Haddock, “got a description from Michaela and then somebody from Tommy’s business had come back saying ‘he’s running up Franklin!’ So I walked around the corner and starting running up Franklin and then I caught up with him.”

You see, Graham isn’t just a baker.

He’s a chef. A longtime chef for the British Army. A chef who grew up in a conservative, hard-working neighborhood in England.

A trained military chef who doesn’t care for thieves. “No, I don’t,” he admits frankly.

So he ran down the suspect, dragged him to the ground in front of Peter Kauffman’s house in the 3300 block of W. Franklin Street and pinned him there until police arrived.

Kauffman said there was no contest.

The suspect was whimpering and declaring his innocence, Kauffman said, but he wasn’t getting out of the grip of the British baker, along with back-up from Tommy’s Garden.

Despite his protestations of innocence, the suspect’s goose  appears to be cooked. There were good witnesses. And it didn’t help he was on house arrest for similar escapades.

Claude Jay Centanni, 30, of Richmond has a lengthy rap sheet for vehicle larcenies and other crimes, court records show.

He also has outstanding fines for previous convictions dating back several years. He is jailed on an outstanding warrant with other charges pending.

A “Service To Law Enforcement Award” is already pending for the baker Graham Haddock, Michaela Duck, Tommy Autry and Chris Cothcan, according to Richmond police Capt. Emmett Williams.

While they don’t encourage citizens to get into physical confrontation with suspected criminals,  in this case “it turned out fine for us,” Williams said.

“Citizens are the best asset we have,” Williams added. “You don’t have to (get) hands-on. But get involved.”

Kauffman said vehicle break-ins may seem small, but they leave people feeling violated and can drive people away from a neighborhood.

Capt. Williams said those caught for these kinds of crimes are often frequent fliers. “If they’ve broken into one car, you can bet they’ve broken into 50 or 100.”

The baker said he didn’t think about the possibility of the suspect having a knife or a gun. He knows now it could’ve turned out differently, but he doesn’t think that thought would’ve stopped him.

Michaela said she’s not the least bit surprised that her boss chased the suspect down. “He just has no fear,” she said. “He’s all about Richmond and protecting the neighborhood.”

Graham said the icing on the cake his neighbor didn’t lose any property, the bad guy went to jail and he was able to come back work  and have a nice, full day of baking.

True love

 An old English rhyme says “Marry in September’s shine, your living will be rich and fine.”

I am not sure about that, but I do certainly do love the beautiful history and lovely customs of my country, England. Today, I am sharing with you a very special vintage English wedding. It is one that I did not attend, or do I have any first hand information about. All I have are a couple of pictures and periodic comments from the bride. You see, that bride is my mother.

 scan0001When I look at this picture, I see, like everyone else…..a young couple just starting out in life. Much like the fashion here in the US at the time, my Mum was wearing a white wedding dress that covered most of her, a little jewelry, and was carrying a bouquet of flowers. My Dad was dressed in a nice coat and tie. When I look beyond the clothes, however, I believe I see what people in all cultures and at all times see; two young people ecstatic to be beginning their new life together!

I also think that while it may not have been a large and grand affair, it probably was a wonderful family affair. You see, both of their families had lived through the two world wars. It had been very difficult for everyone in Europe. They learned how to do much with little, how to save, and what was really important for families.  I like to think that I learned some of that from both my Dad and my Mum, and I try to apply it to my business every day.

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My Dad passed away a few years ago and I miss him every day. My Mum is now 82 years young and I treasure every minute I have with her. And by the way, her smile is just as beautiful as it was on the day she married my Dad.scan0140