Few things command attention from the whole crowd at a wedding like the wedding cake. And now, more than ever, couples are looking to make the "cake" part of their wedding day more than a few posed photos for the album. If you're looking for something exquisite, made by a remarkable woman with an incredible life story, look no further. Rene Elkaslasy brings her impressive culinary background and artistry to Adirondack weddings and events. Read on to learn more about Rene's fascinating life story and how she became a sought after Lake Placid wedding cake baker. Also- be sure to follow Rene on Instagram and Facebook (links below). She regularly shares dessert photos and recipes!
Rene Elkaslasy, Enuf Chocolates
Why do you love what you do?
It’s pretty hard to imagine the best smell in the world, but that's what pastry is. It's the subtle reminder of some of the best times of my life. It is my whole life and continues to be my life's pursuit. It's your best friend and your nemesis, challenging at every turn. Baking helps me become cognizant of what was really going down in my life. It keeps me centered and allows time to reflect. It's the most inward of experiences and most satisfying. Everyday is also hard. Really hard. Hard mostly on my hands, as they are sensitive to all the flour, hot water, rinse, and repeat.
What life experiences led to you to what you do? In short what's your story?
Ahh, the story is long, but in short: I grew up baking with my Mum, who lives in Australia. She is a self-taught a-mazing baker who filled my life with freshly baked everything from sun-dried tomato bread to the exhausting endless apple pies. My first jobs were pretty classic to the culinary upbringing. I was a dishwasher and then a baker. After high school, I studied Artes Plasticas in La Plata, Argentina. I spent the year sculpting, drawing, and screen printing. Although, after about six months, I decided to hop in a van with 13 friends and head on the road, spending two months going down the border of Chile, and back up the other side. I finally settled in Mendoza, where I took night art classes in drawing and painting- mostly still life. As my visa was running out, I had plans to return to pursue higher education. Instead, I hopped to New Zealand, where I WOOFED for a year (willing workers on organic farms). The majority of the time I handled macadamias and kiwis. I skipped from farm to farm eventually covering both the North and South Island. After a year, I returned. I had not been college planning, as I had nearly no internet access in NZ, so I enrolled at North Country for basic liberal arts. From there, I went to Vancouver, on a whim, because my stepdad mentioned that I would like the city, randomly. I nearly missed it. I enrolled into Pastry Arts at the Art Institute of Vancouver. I have earned degrees, savory and pastry, but the majority of my education was with Chef Don. He would become the President of the CCFCC- Canadian Culinary Federation. That experience opened the door to basically baking and cooking 24 hours a day at many events outside of the school. I was hooked. Next, I moved to Brooklyn, where I worked in New York for a Michelin Star Restaurant, Aureole, at a pastry cook level, with half of my time exclusively on breads, and the other half...well for all the other stuff. Shortly after my first year in New York, my mum was...in no soft way of saying it, deported, so I returned to Keene, the site of many memories and right down the road from where I grew up in Keene Valley during my teen years. A year after my mum left, I too left. I spent a year working on a bee farm and test baking in Launceston, Tasmania where my mum resides. It was grueling work that nearly stripped all the skin on my arms from the constant water and stickiness. Yet I returned, strong muscle and strong-willed. I had plans of selling my hand-tempered chocolate bars at farmers' markets. But, upon my return, I was offered to inhabit the space, Cuppa Joe. There I ran an ever rotating sandwich menu, featuring $4 sandwiches and speciality coffees. During that year, I basically taught myself how to run a small scale business. I was also learning what not to do in many ways. I left that venture to work at Lake Placid Lodge, eventually running their pastry department. From there I took a pastry sous position at The Whiteface Lodge. Now with more time to focus on myself, I restarted my freelance business- Enuf Chocolates. I currently make occasion and wedding cakes and desserts for Great Adirondack Steak & Seafood. Next, I am working on product creation that has yet to be revealed.
Fill in the blank. When I'm not at work I'm....
I have basically loved any art-related hobby. There was a span of 3 years where I was making and selling my own line of beaded and crocheted jewelry. Which, ultimately, bailed me out of money problems that I was in whilst in culinary school. I sold the lot to a boutique art gallery as a "new york artist" line. She ate it up. I also have spent many, many long nights with acrylic paints. Now I spend my time with my puppy, Bell, and my loving partner, Danny. My free time is very calm -usually consumed by literally nothing. I enjoy what I do so much, and I do it constantly, so I can't separate life and work anymore. I can't imagine myself without pastry.
Where can people learn more about your services?