2004 International
Food & Wine Festival

Sweet Sundays


Keegan Gerhard
Executive Assistant Pastry Chef
Wynn Resort, Las Vegas

Hosted by Lisa Smith


Chocolate Lava Cake with "Whoppers" Malted Ice Cream

Almond Financier, Roasted Apples, and Caramel Cider Ice Cream

Lavender Almond Milk Panna Cotta with Strawberry Sorbet

Wine: Inniskillin Ice Wine

Sweet Sundays Review


by Becky Ashley

This was our third and last event of the 2004 Epcot Food & Wine Festival. We checked in at the Odyssey at 6:45 p.m. and were seated at 7:00 p.m. While in line, our Cast Member told us that whenever Keegan used the word "Chocolate" we were to do an "ohhhh-ahhhh." This is apparently a little something they have been doing for the past few years. We practiced several times before we were admitted into the dining area. For the evening's events there were 6 to 7 tables with 6 to 8 people per table facing the demonstration stage.

Our host for the evening was Lisa Smith who was acquainted with Keegan Gerhard. Lisa did an adequate job, however she was not as practiced at keeping the chef and the audience moving along as Pam Smith had been during our Lunch and Learn class.
Our chef for the class was Keeghan Gerhard, assistant pastry chef of the soon to be opened Wynn Resort in Las Vegas. Keeghan has worked at a number of different restaurants and has appeared on a variety of cooking shows. Keegan was very informative and gave a lot of interesting advice, however his delivery is somewhat hyper and scattered. Maybe the fact that he was drinking Mountain Dew should have been a clue.

Chocolate Lava CakeA small serving of Inniskillin Ice Wine was provided when we were seated. Unlike the other Food and Wine Festival events we attended, the beverage selection at this event was limited to this one serving of wine and one very small cup of coffee. I would have enjoyed some other type of after dinner or dessert beverage offering.

The first dessert was a Chocolate Lava Cake with "Whoppers" Malted Ice Cream. During the demonstration, Keeghan tended to give directions different from those in the printed recipes. For instance, the recipe called for buttering and flouring the molds while Keeghan said he uses a Pam type spray with sugar instead of flour and butter. The recipe calls for melting the chocolate and butter over a double boiler, while Keeghan used the microwave. Small changes, but it still made it a bit difficult to follow the recipe. The dessert was very good with a lot of chocolate flavor, but not too sweet.

Almond Financier with Apples and Ice CreamThe second dessert consisted of Almond Financier, Roasted Apples, and Caramel Cider Ice Cream. This was my favorite of the three. The Almond Financier is a cake-like cookie made of almond and all-purpose flour, powdered sugar, egg whites and brown butter. The cookie was covered with caramelized apples topped with caramel apple cider ice cream. Crunch was provided by an apple chip made by drying a very thin slice of granny smith apple in the oven.

Our last dessert offering was the Lavender Almond Milk Panna Cotta with Strawberry Sorbet. While my husband enjoyed this, I didn't care for it for several reasons. I'm not a big panna cotta fan -- there's something about the texture that I don't really like. And no matter how hard I try, even a hint of lavender in my food reminds me of soap. Keeghan did mention that the over-use of lavender or rose geranium in food can make it taste soapy, but that if the flavor wasn't overwhelming he was in favor of it. The base of the dessert was a Sable Breton cookie covered with the Panna Cotta and topped with the strawberries.

Lavender Almond Panna Cotta with Strawberry SorbeThe cost of the Sweet Sunday was $55.00 per person. Compared to the other events we attended, I think the price for this was rather high for what we received. Also, the presentation was rushed and scattered. Two of the desserts that were made were available the night before at the Party for the Senses. Unless some upgrades are made to this event, I would not recommend it.

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