A former Hollywood insider trades the Hollywood Hills for Green Acres—and lives to tell about it in this hilarious, poignant treat of a memoir.
As head of her celebrity sister’s production company, Gesine Bullock-Prado had a closet full of designer clothes and the ear of all the influential studio heads, but she was miserable. The only solace she found was in her secret hobby: baking. With every sugary, buttery confection to emerge from her oven, Gesine took one step away from her glittery, empty existence—and one step closer to her true destiny. Before long, she and her husband left the trappings of their Hollywood lifestyle behind, ending up in Vermont, where they started the gem known as Gesine Confectionary. And they never looked back. Confections of a Closet Master Baker follows Gesine's journey from sugar-obsessed child to miserable, awkward Hollywood insider to reluctant master baker. Chock-full of eccentric characters, beautifully detailed descriptions of her baking process, ceaselessly funny renditions of Hollywood nonsense, and recipes, the ingredients of her story will appeal to anyone who has ever considered leaving the life they know and completely starting over.
In this terrifically lively account chockfull of elegant, Old World recipes, Bullock-Prado, a former Hollywood film developer and sister to actress Sandra Bullock, recounts the joys and heartbreaks of running her own patisserie in Montpelier, Vt. Having fled the "soul-sucking" routine in Los Angeles with her husband, Ray, for the simpler pleasures of a small town near the Green Mountains, the author opened her own bake shop, Gesine Confectionary, in 2004, mostly on the fame of the macaroons she refashioned from her German mother's favorite almond treat, mandelhoernchen (and the casual mention in an interview her sister did for In Style). Although a law school graduate, Bullock-Prado always relished "playing with sugar, butter, and flour" and concocts an affectionate homage to her mother, who recently died from colon cancer, and grandmother. Her memoir follows one day in a busy baker's life, from waking at three a.m. to prepare the batter (croissants, scones, sticky buns) and bake before opening shop at seven; through the hectic lunch (focaccia); and the three p.m. tea time. In subtly compelling prose, the master baker conveys her touching sense of responsibility for the "emotional needs of patrons," and offers mouthwatering recipes.