10/13/2012 03:10:00 PM

NYCWFF: Gettin' Sweet with Sandra Lee

Sandra Lee; photo by Hernan F. Rodriguez 
Last night, in a sprawling Soho loft, the semi-homemade love child of Sandra Dee and Sara Lee hosted one of the signature events of the New York City Wine and Food Festival. Yes, we speak of New York state’s first fiancĂ©e herself, Sandra Lee.

A cake, cupcake and ice cream theme pervaded the evening, as stars came out to give some sugar to their favorite pastry chefs. Spotted at the dessert debauchery: Bobby Flay, Robert Irvine, Geoffrey Zakarian, Marcus Samuelsson, Debi Mazar and hubby Gabriele Corcos, indulging in the creations of Ace of Cakes’ Duff Goldman; Next Iron Chef-in-training Elizabeth Falkner; Sweet Genius Ron Ben-Israel, and dozens of others.

The bar was high, set by culinary artists like Hedy Goldsmith of Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink with mouthful creations like “bittersweet chocolate cake with curry, coconut and cardamom, served with cherry chutney and cashew brittle.” But it was Hill Country’s Elizabeth Karmel who took home the evening’s prize for her simple PB & J cupcakes.

It was an event so dipped in candyland cheer that we spotted couples, including Spike Mendelsohn and his tall, blonde sweetheart, smooching around every corner, proving once again that the way to a lover’s heart is through chocolate.

Other highlights: A roving “Lady Godiva” with a huge table “skirt;” helium balloons dropping from the heavens; and pastry powerhouse Jacques Torres confiding in us about his dislike of some current dessert trends. “I like innovation but not at the price of doing things that are against the classics I respect,” he said. “It has to be good but it has to make sense and my customers have to love it. I will not, for example, put chicken in my chocolate.” Don’t sugarcoat it, Jacques, tell us how you really feel!"


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