Just Make it Pretty
SMARTBOWL | March 25, 2017

It sounded like fun a few days earlier when Chef Art said, “let’s make smartbowl chocolate cakes for my party this Sunday.” He offhandedly added, “Just make it pretty”. Yikes!

Let me begin by assuring you….I can cook. In fact, I LOVE to cook- and I don’t scare easily in the kitchen.  I’ve tackled Christmas dinner with beef wellington and roasted beets with chestnut puree and cooked for parties at 9 months pregnant making three different ceviche’s and homemade empanadas. It’s not the cooking that I find challenging… it’s the presentation. So, when I found myself preparing dessert for a South Beach Food & Wine Festival party hosted by not one but two celebrity chefs and The James Beard Foundation, I’ll admit… I panicked. I can make delicious desserts, but let’s be honest, Chef Art’s impression of pretty is much different than mine- my house full of boys love great food (and LOTS of it), but presentation- especially of this caliber is not the norm.

I dressed while the party started and got to socialize a little bit, when Chef Art came up to me and said, “It’s time.” I remember saying those same words to my husband when I knew it was time to head to the hospital after timing my contractions. This felt similar. That was when Chef Dagan Stocks (or as I now refer to him- an angel from heaven) immediately said, “would you like my help?”

Miami Party Header 1

LEFT: Lisa with smartbowl helps test the batter. CENTER: Celebrity Chef Art Smith, Chef Dagan Stocks and smartbowl founder Tricia plate up the goodness. RIGHT: Chef Dagan Stocks “makes it pretty.”

Miami Party Pics

LEFT: Celebrity Chef hosts Art Smith and Lorena Garcia. CENTER and RIGHT: Delicious food with wonderful people. What a night.


Chef Dagan said, “OK, you’re going to cook the cake- that’s the hard part. I’ll plate them- that’s the easy part.” I smiled and told him, “I think you have that backwards” (especially when you’re using a smartbowl, I thought). When I told him the cake would be ready in 1.5 minutes, I thought I would have to pick his jaw off the floor. But when I pulled the Ooey Gooey Chocolate Cake out of the microwave and turned it out onto a plate, his face was priceless. Then… he tasted it. He looked Chef Art in the eye and told him this smartbowl cake was BETTER than the molten lava cakes he made when he used to work at a FAMOUS not-to-be-named restaurant (where they sold about 50-60 molten lava cakes every night)… We know food made in the smartbowl is chef-quality, but it’s always fun to watch the “NO WAY” moment when a chef new to smartbowl tries it for the first time.

I watched the talented Chef Dagan plate servings of cake, strawberries, whipped cream and a drizzle of hot fudge. YUM! I quickly realized that it was beautiful, but not complicated. I totally could have done it myself. With the toppings I had- it really was a no brainer, but I panicked early on, and lacked the confidence I needed to think clearly. I can do this (one of my favorite mantras). Actually, I have done this before at some time in my cooking career. What I really needed to do was take a deep breath, trust myself, and let the cake speak for itself. That’s the miracle of smartbowl… super-easy to recipes that cook in minutes with chef-quality deliciousness.

The party continued, the cake was a HUGE hit, I loved watching people came back for seconds.  I had the best time- what can be better than new friends mixed with great food and wine?


PS- At the end of the night, I didn’t have bowls, mixers, and cake pans to wash. Just six smartbowls… that was the favorite part of my night.  🙂


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