Confections of a Closet Master Baker

Confections of a Closet Master Baker

by Gesine Bullock-Prado

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Overview

A former Hollywood insider trades the Hollywood Hills for Green Acresand 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780767932721
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 09/08/2009
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 1,144,729
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

GESINE BULLOCK-PRADO’s delicious confections have been featured on the Food Network's hottest new show, Road Tasted with the Neelys and in such publications as In Style, People, Vermont Life, and Boston Common. Gesine still lives in Vermont and is preparing to open another bakery in Austin, Texas.

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Confections of a Closet Master Baker 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
mandersj More than 1 year ago
Once a high-powered Hollywood movie executive, Gesine Bullock-Prado was never very happy with her career. She used to sit in meetings and create recipes and grocery lists. Eventually, Bullock-Prado took control of her future by taking the plunge out of Hollywood and into Montpelier, Vermont, where she opened her own small bakery. However, being sister to the famous Sandra Bullock, Gesine's bakery, Gesine Confectionary, didn't stay a small little sweet shop for long. In "Confections of a Closet Master Baker" Bullock-Prado explains her decision to leave glamorous Hollywood for hippie-land, as well as give out recipes that go along with her tales. Gesine grew up the daughter of an American father and German mother, whose parents did not always live on the same continent. Sometimes Gesine would live in the southern U.S. with her father, sometimes in Germany and Austria with her mother and that side of the family. When living with her mother, her diet was very restricted, including a ban on sugar of any sort unless her mother was in a generous mood. Her mother loved to bake, however being a famous singer, she couldn't afford to gain any weight by eating the things she created. She therefore didn't want any kind of sugar temptation in the house, inadvertently creating a sugar hound out of her deprived daughter, Gesine. Gesine tells a story about going to a friend's house and sneaking an entire bag of Oreos out of the house only to eat them all, then go on a sugar-infused rampage to rival nothing else seen. Now the Gesine is all grown up, she and her husband took on the job of refurbishing the only shop available on main street Montpelier, making it the place where people go to get breakfast, lunch and snacktime in town. She talks about getting up before dawn, working like crazy all day, going for a run after work, then dinner with her husband and early to bed so she can start all over again tomorrow. At times she sounds like an over-exhausted, over-worked, under-paid be-careful-what-you-wish-for, but she claims even though the bakery is just beginning to break even financially, she wouldn't have it any other way. She punctuates each chapter of storytelling with a recipes, often one she relates to her authentic German childhood. I personally cannot wait to try out the Espresso Cheesecake recipe, perhaps over the holidays this year. Not really a cookbook, more than just a novel, really an entertaining story, however Gesine found time in her busy schedule to get this book written, I'm glad she did.
megan ann stidham More than 1 year ago
this is one of my favorite books. Not only is it a look at a business woman turned baker, which is inspiring. There are some amazing recipes including her wonderful homemade apple pie. So good!
Frisbeesage More than 1 year ago
This is Gesine Bullock-Prado's memoir of leaving the rat race in Hollywood to open a bakery in Vermont. It comes complete with the usual funny mishaps and quirky characters. I think what I liked best about this book is Gesine herself. Far from the fat, jolly baker, she is impatient, caustic and sometimes not too sure she actually likes people all that much. What she does like is baking. She lives and breathes it, obsessing over the perfect cherry pie or macaroon. Opening a bakery she learns she can love people from afar with her beautiful pastries. I really love that Gesine is not the typical baker. Somehow her tart personality perfectly balances out all the sweetness of the book. The recipes recipes, like Espresso Cheesecake and Raspberry Meringues are creative yet accessible to the home cook.
ChemChick on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have one rule for memoirs: it has to be clear why I should care to read the author's musings about his or her life. As far as I could tell, there was really only one reason to care (or not) about this memoir: the author is Sandra Bullock's sister. This is not enough reason for me.Gesine is an entertaining enough writer, even if she does use near-identical sentences when talking about Hollywood and her mother on numerous occasions throughout her book. However, she failed to sell me on why I should care to read about her story, and that, for me, means that the exercise was a failure overall.
leadmomma on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was a delight to read. I loved the feeling that I was having conversations with a old friend, and I loved the way she described her work in the kitchen. I shared this book with a pastry chef at my work, and he loved it too. He's used several of the recipes in the book with great success. One unexpected outcome of the book has been that I like Sandra (or Sandy as she's known in the book as) even more and see her in a new light. Overall, if you like food memoirs, I think you will enjoy this book a great deal.
frisbeesage on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is Gesine Bullock-Prado's memoir of leaving the rat race in Hollywood to open a bakery in Vermont. It comes complete with the usual funny mishaps and quirky characters. I think what I liked best about this book is Gesine herself. Far from the fat, jolly baker, she is impatient, caustic and sometimes not too sure she actually likes people all that much. What she does like is baking. She lives and breathes it, obsessing over the perfect cherry pie or macaroon. Opening a bakery she learns she can love people from afar with her beautiful pastries. I really love that Gesine is not the typical baker. Somehow her tart personality perfectly balances out all the sweetness of the book. The recipes recipes, like Espresso Cheesecake and Raspberry Meringues are creative yet accessible to the home cook.
JackieBlem on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book had me at it's very short but very memorable first paragraph: 'I saw the devil at the age of three and he gave me chocolate. It changed my life forever.' Gesine (pronounced geh see neh--don't mess it up because it makes her crazy when you do) had a glamourous Hollywood life running a production company with her sister Sandra Bullock. Red carpets, 'doing' lunch, meetings and schmoozing made up her daily life. And she was miserable. To make herself feel better, she turned to an old love, pastries. Specifically, making, even inventing, them. When, in a meeting, she referred to casting a movie as being like finding the right spices for an apple pie, she knew it was time to get out. She and her husband Rick Prado (a movie illustrator and barista extraordinaire) fell in love with Vermont and decided to make it their home. They found an old general store, gutted it and it became 'Gesine's'. It opened on Aug 4, 2004 to lines longer than anyone could have imagined thanks to a casual mention of the fabulous French macaroons Gesine makes (which are almond, not coconut) in an interview in In Style magazine. Well, that and the fact that Sandy manned the register that first day. Gesine stayed in the back, being a self proclaimed 'socially retarded misanthrope', and followed her passion for baking. They might have come the first time to see a movie star. They kept coming back because Gesine is a magician with flour and sugar and chocolate. Her passion comes through in her book as well. There are fantastic recipes in it, but it's the reasons and rememeberances, the stories and the history that really make this book something special. Gesine is rather blunt at times, but I actually admired her for her honesty and her wit. This is a book about the importance of baking, the love and intention that goes into it all. It's also about the importance of sitting down with people, especially people you love, and enjoying fine things with one another in the middle of our too hectic lives. It's both a fantastic read and a fantastic cookbook--I highly recommend this book!
bookstar on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A light, fun read with delicious looking recipes at the end of the each chapter.
mountie9 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Good Stuff * Fantastic recipes included!!!! * Self deprecating and honest * Beautifully written * Her love of her family and what she does is wonderful to read about * Drool worthy recipes * Her chapter entitled "Crunch Clouds" is a must read for anyone with kids - we definitely have the same idea on kids and sweets * Hilariously funny at time * The passage on her criminal Oreo spree is wonderful * Love the chapter on her unusual customersThe Not so Good Stuff * I constantly wanted to eat baked good while reading, luckily I was camping and had no easy access to that kind of food * I want to order her macaroons but I live in Canada and they don't ship here -- hmmm I think I see a road trip in the near futures * Damn I really want to bake now and I have no time for itFavorite Quotes/Passages"I think it really does more harm than good to place severe restrictions on kids' diets, as evidenced by my criminal Oreo spree. Moderation, education, and a healthy dose of respect for what you're chewing makes for healthier children, not an all-out-ban on sweets.""It's not as showy as the shiny, chocolate-dipped horn; it's pretty much the Ethel Merman of pastry. Doesn't look like much, but damn it's good."What I Learned * I love self deprecating people * I love memoirs by self deprecating people * I love reading books about baking * It really sucks to be in the movie industry unless you are a highly paid actorWho should/shouldn't read * Those trying to lose weight should not read, as you really really want to eat yummy baking * Those whole love to bake will enjoy * Pretty much anyone will enjoy this4.5 Dewey'sReceived it at a Dewey Diva's presentation at the Ontario Library Association conference. Don't have to review, but want to because I LOVED it!
quzy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gesine Bullock-Prado gave up the designer clothes, the Red Carpet walks and life as a Hollywood executive for her true calling- Baking! Gesine comes out of the closet in her book Confections of a Closet Master Baker to share with us her journey from being "head of her celebrity sister's production company" to opening her own bakery in Vermont and it is simply delicious!The writing, the recipes, and Gesine Bullock-Prado's wry sense of humor is all delicious! Chapters are arranged by hours, as we weave our way through a typical day of baking with Gesine, starting at 3:30am the witching hour. Sprinkled between the wonderful stories of Gesine's adventures in baking and the interesting cast of characters that make up her world, are the the wonderful recipes for treats such as Apfelkuchen and Raspberry Meringues, Devil Cream Pie and her signature Starry Starry Night cookies! Along with tidbits for baking perfection! We spend tender moments with her mother, share glimpses into her complicated relationship with her father and we learn about Gesine growing up. And of course there is the occasional knife sharp word here and there about the Hollywood left behind. This is a memoir, a recipe book and the story of one woman's journey to finding passion and peace in her life. The writing is engaging and uplifting.Roll up your sleeves and crack the spine to enter the world of flour, puff pastry, and Hollywood! Gesine shares the perfect recipe on how to follow your passions and the secret Golden Eggs recipe!
Aimala on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Publisher: 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.My review: "I saw the Devil at age three and he gave me chocolate. It changed my life forever."The opening sentences of Confections of a Closet Master Baker guarantee this book will be a humorous, delicious and interesting story of a woman and her love of pastry. Gesine Bullock-Prado relays her life story and her history with sweets from a young age up until she is the master baker of her own shop. Every chapter details a part of her life and the significance of a special baked good. The author writes with humor and honesty, drawing readers in to her story and rewards them with the gift of a recipe at the end of each chapter. However, be warned: if you read this book while hungry, you may regret it. But you have the opportunity to try out your baking talents using the author's recipes, complete with details and extra instructions gleaned during the times she baked them. The author adored sugar as a child. She was shy, awkward and quiet, not overly fond of people but extremely fond of sweets. If they were offered to her by a relative or caretaker, she would do almost anything they asked with little objection. Confections in the form of beautifully wrapped chocolates, gummi bears, marzipan and even store bought Oreos made her happy and for the first five years of her life, sugar was a regular part of her diet. But at the age of five, when Gesine moved to Arlington VA with her family, sweets were relegated to special occasion status as her now retired professional opera singing mother put the family on a vegan diet. In the author's words: "whole-grain tofu-laced, sucrose-free hell". Complete hell for a sugar-loving child, except on holidays and birthdays when her mother, the master baker, created wonderful sweets from her cookbooks. Goodies better than anything the stores had to offer.The sugar-obsessed little girl grew up and moved to be near her sister, the actress Sandra Bullock, in Los Angeles. (I was unaware of this relation when I started reading the book.) Gesine went to law school and upon graduation took a job heading her sister's film production company. She doesn't flaunt her famous family connection but couldn't avoid mentioning it because of their close relationship and importance in each other's lives. Although Gesine met her husband at a production meeting, made very good money and traveled first class to beautiful places, over the years the grown up woman was reminded of the self-conscious and awkward little girl, the one who generally disliked bi-peds. And eventually she came to resent and dislike the vapid, materialistic, self-centered, arrogant and unkind people in Hollywood she came in contact with on a daily basis. She was floundering , wanting to be happy and to like and understand people. But how?A painful tragedy signaled Gesine's life on the road to change, a change that came about slowly, beginning the day she pulled out her long-ago abandoned cook
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
More than hollywood gossip; this book illuminates the connection between food and family, food and community.
sukie More than 1 year ago
I found this book as an ebook on my library website and tried out the carrot cake and the scone recipe and was knocked off my feet at how fantastic the food came out! I usually try to find cookbooks that work to my style of baking and cooking and this one fit the bill. I can't tell you how terrible I am when it comes to making desserts from scratch. I'm not totally useless, just give me good directions and tips and I can do it, so I ended up loving this book and buying it from b&n. It has inspired me to try more complicated recipes. Thank you Gesine!
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DGreenThumb More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book! Gesine's book is witty, funny, and inspirational. I admire her for taking charge of her life and leaving a high paying, high profiled career, and doing something that she is truly passionate about. I recommend this book to anyone that loves to bake, cook and has fond family memories that are tied to food or traditions!
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