A Day in the Life:
Cake Decorating Student
I know I mention it each week, but we really do have a huge, loyal, and enthusiatic fan base here at Nicholas Lodge's International Sugar Art Collection (ISAC). There are people we see all the time in our retail gallery, customers who regularly call in their orders because they love talking to our wonderful customer service specialists (Yay- Molly, Gretchen, Anne, and Molly. Yes we DO have two Mollys!), our facebook page is very active with an innumerable amount of positive and happy comments from our fans, and of course- the students in our cake decorating classes.
The entire ISAC team continually strives to ensure that ALL of our customers, fans, and students have a positive experience when they are dealing with any aspect of our company. Before I became part of the ISAC team, I too was a regualr customer, coming in and buying supplies for all my cake decorating (and sometimes candy making) needs. Then I decided to come to their Grand Holiday Open House in 2009. I learned about a million new tips and tricks for holiday themed cookies, cakes, cupcakes, chocolates, and gingerbread houses! I was blown away. BLOWN. AWAY. Here's the crazy part, classes are even more amazing! I think anyone who has taken a class with Chef Nicholas will attest to how great and truly educational his classes are. Anyone who hasn't had the opportunity to take one of our classes yet- you get the total package when you take one of our classes. To give you a glimpse of what you're missing, I've prepared something special: A Day in the Life of a Cake Decorating Student, as well as a little Q&A with one of our repeat offenders. Oops, I mean, one of our most dedicated students, Linda Gayle B. (I think she has taken nearly all of Chef Nicholas' classes!).
When you arrive at the International Sugar Art Collection for your very first class, you are greeted by one of our customer service specialists. If it's not only your first class, but also your very first visit to our physical location, you are treated to a personal tour of our retail gallery, classrooms, kitchen and student lunchroom. Additionally, a personalized basket has been placed in our classroom retail section, should you want to make any purchases over the course of your class (all of the supplies used in class are placed in one location to make shopping easier. You can fill your basket throughout the class and make one purchase at the end). This is a wonderful way to get to know our team members, check out all the fun tools we have, and meet and mingle with your classmates. Before class begins you can enjoy coffee, tea, orange juice, and muffins or rolls in our kitchen and student lunchroom.
Most classes begin at 9:30am. All you have to do is sit down in your seat- EVERYTHING you need for the class is provided for your use. There is absolutely no need to bring or purchase any tools or supplies for ANY class you take with us. Each student will receive extensive and detailed notes prepared by Chef Nicholas, photographs of class projects, and an apron to use during class; these items are yours to keep. The class sizes are kept small, a maximum of 20 students; this allows each of our students to benefit from personal attention from both Chef Nicholas and his classroom assistant. No student needs to worry about inital skill level; Chef Nicholas is a wonderful teacher and has a unique ability to inspire each of his students to realize their true potential.
Around 12:30, class breaks for lunch. There is no need to pack a lunch or worry if you have enough time to run out and grab some fast food. Nope, I said total package didn't I? A delicious lunch is prepared fresh and in house by Scott (co-founder and co-owner of ISAC) for each full day of class. This is a great time to chat with your classmates; many of our students have formed life long friendships over our lunch table! Afterwards, students head back into the classroom to contiune their projects. Class doesn't finish until around 5:30 each day, so a mid afternoon break is provided at around 3:15. This is my favorite part of the day, and I'll tell you why: COOKIES! That's right, 3:15 is Cookie Break at ISAC; enjoy a cookie freshly baked by Scott or just stretch your legs before getting back to business! After munching on toasted almond, chocolate, tropical, lemon, or (my VERY favorite) butterscotch toffee cookies, it's back to work until class ends for the day. On your final day of class, you will receive a Nicholas Lodge School class certificate! We will also help you to properly pack your finished projects so that they can be transported back home with you. Even if it's a giant, three tier cake, we make sure it gets home with you safely!
So there you have it. A day in the life of a Nicholas Lodge student. Personal tours, one on one attention from instructors, scrumptious lunch AND cookies, new friends, amazing retail therapy, and of course, tons of new and amazing cake decorating skills. We really try to provide our students with the star treatment while they are taking our classes! Don't believe me? Well, then it's time for:
Ask A Cake Decorating Student!
One of our very best students, Linda Gayle, agreed to do a short interview with me about her class experiences here at ISAC. For the record, we did NOT pay her for her interview; all she is received in return was some of Scott's cookies because she took a class with us this week!
Stephanie: When did you take your first class with Chef Nicholas, and what class was it?
Linda Gayle B.: The first class was July 28, 2010, 5 -Day Ultimate Gumpaste Flowers Class. I will NEVER forget that day! In 2010 I took 8 classes, 2011 I took 8 classes, 2012 I took 7 classes, 2013 I took 2 classes, and the class I took this week will be the fourth this year. In all, I have taken 29 classes!!
S: How would you descibe Chef Nicholas' teaching style to someone who has never taken a class with him, or may be nervous to take a class with him because they don't think they are skilled enough.
LGB: Nick is the best teacher there is! He explains everything so well that even a Kentucky girl like me understands! He honestly could take someone off the street and they would go home with gumpaste flowers that you would swear are real. When you are in class and you ask a question he will give you his full attention; you would think that you were his only student. When you leave class you will also be given a detailed instruction book on how to make the class project again once home.
S: Do you love Scott's lunch and cookies, or what?
LGB: When you arrive for class in the morning, there is fresh coffee, muffins, and fruit. At 12:30 Scott serves lunch which is to die for; homemade bread is baked daily. You will get a full meal deal at lunch and dessert. At 3:30 he has fresh baked cookies right out of the oven! I usually try to get to the lunch room first just because of that!!!
S: What is your favorite part about taking a class with us at ISAC?
LGB: My favorite part of taking class is not just one thing. It is the whole package. From Nick's teaching, Scott's cooking, seeing old classmates, meeting new classmates, the ISAC family makes you a part of their family. It is my most favorite place to go! I tell everyone I have green blood and actually get goose bumps thinking about it and especially when it is time to travel to GREEN HEAVEN in ISAC, GA. I renamed the town cause I can!!! ISAC is not just a school it is a part of my family and I love them all!
THANK YOU LINDA GAYLE!
Are you interested in taking one of our classes for the first time? Or maybe taking a second, third, or fourth class with us? Our class calendar can always be found on our website, www.nicholaslodge.com, or by clicking here. If you don't live in the Atlanta area or in the Southeastern US, we have travel information here. There is still some availability in our upcoming classes. Chef Nicholas is teaming up with Chef Lauren Kitchens to teach a Modern Marie Antoinette cake class June 23-24, 2014, and visiting instructor Joshua John Russell will be teaching Along Came a Spider July 12-13, 2014. You can sign up for all of our upcoming classes on our website, or by calling us at 1-800-662-8925.
One final treat for all of our readers, because I love you all so much. Scott, our very own King of Cookies, has agreed to let me share one of his cookie recipes with you! No, it's not the butterscotch toffee ones (those are all mine, and I am not interested in sharing), sorry. These are a very close second favorite for me though: Lemon cookies!