“We joke I traded in my 50-hour a week job for 80 hours a week,” Lora Gookin says.
We assemble these (cakes) in 24 hours, not a week ahead . . . .There is an exorbitant amount of work that goes into this.
Hours of planning, designing and baking go into her decorative, detailed cakes.
Lora Gookin, owner of Gâteau (French for cake), specializes in custom cakes and desserts for weddings and other special occasions.
For almost five years, Ms. Gookin has developed recipes, created designs, baked and decorated cakes.
One of her slogans explains her passion: “Cake is so much more than a mixture of flour, butter, eggs and sugar. It is the marriage of high quality ingredients, the science of baking, thoughtful design and artistic execution. Cake is love.”
She uses high-quality organic ingredients, with no shortenings, preservatives or aluminum.
“How I am in my personal life, how I feed my family, that’s what I bring to my business,” she said. “That’s very important to me.”
Baked from scratch, the cakes take a minimum of four hours to complete.
“We assemble these (cakes) in 24 hours, not a week ahead,” Ms. Gookin said. “I think people don’t realize how much work it takes. There is an exorbitant amount of work that goes into this.”
She also has three full-time employees.
“We have done up to nine weddings in one weekend,” she said.
Ms. Gookin’s passion started as a hobby and turned into a business after she took a nine-month specialized course in baking and pastry arts from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Her previous job as a civil engineer ties in with her business through the construction, design and delivery of her cakes.
She runs Gâteau from her home near Vint Hill in a state-of-the-art kitchen, complete with a convection oven, mixers and more than 11 linear feet of countertop.
“I’m licensed, inspected and insured just like any other bakery,” she said.
Customers come by appointment to taste-test and discuss designs for detailed wedding cakes.
“I can spend a lot of time with customers one-on-one,” she said. “The reward is the reaction and the feedback.”
Catherine Slacum recently ordered her wedding cake from Gâteau.
“The quality of work that Lora does, all of the pictures and the samples she had were amazing,” Ms. Slacum said. “Her attention to detail was incredible.
“The entire process of working with Lora was so seamless and enjoyable. Lora made the process so simple, I felt like she knew our vision for the day without us having to explain it.”
Cakes start at $85 for non-custom and $250 for custom creations.
Gâteau also sells cookies, macrons, cheesecake and more.
Owner of Gâteau, LLC, for almost five years. The bakery creates cakes, cupcakes, cookies, macarons and other desserts from scratch for weddings and special occasions. Previously worked as a civil engineer in Nevada and Arizona for six years.
• Why do you do the job?
We joke I traded in my 50-hour a week job for 80 hours a week. Here I can control my hours.
I wish people didn’t go to the grocery store and buy those Smurf blue cakes. It’s really important to me that we spread (awareness). I think I would take sugar over aspartame any day.
Husband, Scott; children, Olivia and Vincent.
Certificate in bakery and pastry arts from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Scottsdale, Ariz., 2009. Bachelor’s degree, civil engineering, University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, 1995.
• Civic and/or church involvement
Member of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Warrenton.
• How long have you lived in Fauquier?
• Why do you live here?
We moved here from Arizona, because the economy was bad and my husband got a job in Warrenton as a civil engineer. I couldn’t have handpicked it better.
I moved from Toronto to Las Vegas to Phoenix . . . to Fauquier. This is what’s been calling me my whole life. It brought out the country girl in me that I never knew was there.
• How do you describe this county?
I would describe it as the little big town. It has that country feel, rural, but we have all the amenities. We don’t have to drive far.
• What would you change about Fauquier?
I just wish Fauquier could keep the charm it has forever.
• What do you do for fun?
I love to sew. I love yoga . . . arts and crafts. Recipe development — that’s the scientist in me.
• What’s your favorite place in Fauquier?
I walk the Warrenton Greenway with my friend. It’s beautiful.
• What will Fauquier be like in 10 years?
A lot more populated, but in 10 years it will still have the country feel.
• Favorite TV show?
• Favorite movie?
“Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas”
• Favorite book?
“The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael E. Gerber.
• Favorite vacation spot?
• Favorite food?
I love roasted red peppers.
• What is the best advice you have ever received? From whom?
“Duty makes us do things well, but love makes us do them beautifully,” from the author “Zig” Ziglar.
• Who’s your hero and why?
My hero is my grandfather, Onorio Vennettilli, who moved his impoverished young family from Italy to France, Brazil and then Toronto, Canada, to build a better life for them. He was a hard-working man with strong family values.
• What would you do if you won $1 million in the lottery?
Pay off debt. Definitely build a bakery. Donate money to charities — food banks and shelters. I think they are basic human needs, food and shelter.
Suggest a profile candidate