Aren’t these cookies exquisite? This is what happens when you state your theme, then give a talented baker carte blanche. That baker is my friend Elsa Rodriguez-Walsh, who made them for a little girl’s (Zoe) most important birthday: her first.
When inspiration strikes, you take it all the way, and that is when Elsa went beyond the cookies and also created the mini standing village with the adorable pumpkin house and pathway. I would love to see what she would do with a Christmas gingerbread house, wouldn’t you?
Indeed the cookies start with a cookie cutter, but all the decorations on top are done freehand, one by one, down to the tiniest detail. She had posted one photo on Facebook, and I knew I had to photograph this set. I quickly rescheduled my morning and drove to her home, where, given the woodland theme, we improvised a photography set in her garden.
Born in Cuba, Elsa has always been passionate about good food, baking especially. In her former life, she had career as a software engineer (which she hated) before giving in to her true passion and artistic talents. Because when done right, cooking and baking are an art form. In the past few years Elsa has attended and graduated from Santa Rosa’s Junior College, majoring in Culinary Arts, and mentions Chef Shelly Kaldunski as her biggest mentor.
Though baking is her greatest passion, Elsa is, of course, also an excellent cook. I hear her paella has people lining up for it, and her Cuban sandwiches are the best in the Bay Area.
Elsa and I met the way so many people meet these days: on Facebook, introduced by another virtual-but-real (virtual because we have yet to meet in person, but real nonetheless) friend who lives on the Big Island, Sonia Martinez, herself a talented cook with three cookbooks under her belt. I still cannot believe Sonia and I never met while I lived in Hawai’i. But that is how things go sometimes. Elsa and I got to know each other virtually for a while, until we finally met in person for a scrumptious meal at Farmshop Restaurant in Larkspur.
Elsa is based in Marin County (north of San Francisco for those unfamiliar with the area), and is hoping to build her passion into a full fledged business. I believe she has all the numbers, don’t you?
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