By Tom Santorelli
Chef Charles Laurent Bakes Sinfully Delicious Desserts
Charles Laurent left Paris for New York City to chase his American Dream. He landed his first job as a door mannequin at Abercrombie on Fifth Avenue, where he was scouted by a major fashion agency. Soon, he was walking the catwalk for some of the top fashion ateliers in the world, including the MT Costello runway at New York Fashion Week.
But his real dream was to create art, based on his life experience and passion for whimsy. While modeling, he enrolled at the International Culinary Center in Soho to study French pastry.
Since becoming a full-time cake baker, some of his most prized designs have been cakes that celebrate the LGBTQ community and his experience in fashion. He has also distinguished himself for his low-calorie, vegan and gluten-free cakes.
“I look back at that young boy I was in France and I smile,” Charles laughs. “He didn’t travel the typical road to his American Dream, but somehow he found his own.”
It just happened to be paved in butter crème. We spoke to him from his NYC home.
How did you find your way from the runway to the pastry kitchen?
I always knew modeling couldn’t last forever and that I would have to find something else to do as a career. Baking has always been a passion, so when I was accepted to culinary, I jumped at the opportunity.
Have you always had a sweet tooth?
Unfortunately, yes. I have the worst sweet tooth! Seriously, a bag of candy will not last a day with me. I also never skip dessert, which, of course, means I can never skip the gym.
What are some of your favorite desserts to bake?
Cupcakes, because they’re super easy, and it’s fun to add a personal touch to them with creative designs.
What have been some of your most outrageous designs?
My Purse Cake has to top the list. It was inspired by a bag from Gucci’s last collection. I realized the decor entirely with fondant, so it is all edible.
What is the best pastry for spring?
Spring is all about new beginnings. We’re finally leaving behind the cold and heavy food and preparing ourselves and our bodies to be ready for the summer sun. Fruit desserts are my spring go-to. They are beautiful, full of flavor and naturally sweet and healthy. A wonderful way to get the sugar fix without too much guilt.
You’ve become known for your vegan treats. What’s your favorite these days?
I have to say my lemon pineapple coconut crack bars. They’re easy to make, and in addition to being vegan, they’re Keto and sugar free! You can find them on my website.
If we order a cake from your website, will you jump out of it?
Cakes are my favorite things to jump out of! Just be sure to call all your friends on the delivery date… or don’t, and keep the special treat all for yourself.