Event - Yelp's Meet Blackmarket Bakery

What an honor it was to have been invited by the Yelp OC Community Manager, Ryan, to be the guest moderator for his super awesome "Meet the Owner" series this month. I was happy to give back in some way for all of the fantastic events he has been putting on since he took up the position. I was also excited because the owner for my particular event was Chef Rachel Klemek of Blackmarket Bakery, whoohoo! In an evening of demos, tastings, discounted shopping, and Q&A, all the Yelpers who made it into the full house event definitely had a good time.


It was all so super Yelp-tastic, as it always is. People checked in at the door at the tableclothed area with Ryan and also got an extra raffle ticket for checking in through the Yelp app. Mints and buttons were placed all over the bakery, and I think a few people even picked up the Much Ado About Fooding cards of mine (gasp!). I love the pictures snapped of Ryan at the registration table because they're so lively!


All around us people milling about and chitchatting with other Yelpers were awesome Blackmarket bakers like Brandon, Janet, and Tyler passing out samples of just about everything they had to offer. I saw the Pucker Up cookies (a crowd favorite), peanut butter blondies, brittle, and loads of sandwich bites being served. I didn't get a chance to snatch up everything but I'm pretty sure I've already given them tastes myself, haha. Chef Rachel herself was mingling with the crowd and showing Yelpers around, answering their questions prior to the official Q&A. I loved just how friendly everyone was, staff and guests alike! Also, there was no shortage of samples being brought out and we all know that happy tummies make happy Yelpers.


After stuffing our faces, it was time for the Q&A. Unfortunately Chef Rachel was just getting over being sick so her voice was still a little shot BUT fortunately, Ryan's always prepared and we had a nice mic & speaker system set up so all 40+ Yelpers could hear. We started off with the fairly basic (but of course long-answered) question of, "How did Blackmarket Bakery begin?" Breaking our hearts, Rachel told us of her non-foodie childhood growing up eating Swanson frozen dinners and whatever was around the house. However, upon marrying into her husband's family, the curiosity was sparked and exposure to food expanded. With young children all around (a family of 4 kids), she sought to find herself in doing something and at the time, that something was bread. Fast forward through culinary school came all of the hard work that came to make Blackmarket Bakery what it was meant to be - the way baked goods should be made with real sugar, butter, and flour. The new expansion to The Camp involved a lot of "sweat equity" as most of the design & construction was put together by her own family. Talk about being really family run! The audience then asked several questions too about gluten-free baking, the most popular items, history of the name, goods' effects on people with peanut allergies, and especially the creative process. I love how involved and interested everyone was, and boy was Chef Rachel just so animated and full of awesome facts!


After such a detailed Q&A that slaked the Yelpers' thirst for information for the moment, we proceeded with the grand raffle of boxes chock-full of baked goods. I'm talking about all the tarts and cookies and sweet goodness you can think of fitting into those heavy boxes. Congrats for the win!


But the fun wasn't over with the raffle! There was a fantastic cake decorating demo going on behind the glass with Courtney, expertly trained in Florence, Italy in her craft. Three cakes were deftly decorated in a short amount of time - I wish it was as easy as she made it look! Each one received a buttercream treatment but in different designs and accessorized distinctly. The coconut cake got some coconut flake loving all over while the citrus tang was scored along the sides before receiving frosting pearls. There was even a lemon berry cake that I just wanted to stuff into my mouth! While she was putting the scrumptious touches on her cakes, Courtney would explain to the crowd what the cakes were and what all was being added to them. What a great demo - it definitely looked like lots of people were excited. Those who weren't staring were busy taking advantage of their 25% special event discount by buying up the store!

If all of this has made you hungry for some Blackmarket Bakery yourself, you should drop by their Grand Opening this upcoming Monday from 5:30-7:30pm! You'll get samples and the opportunity to make your money count - 15% of purchases will be donated to Share Our Selves. My thanks go out to the Blackmarket Bakery team for being such fantastic hosts for the crowd of curious Yelpers, to Chef Rachel for answering all of our questions about her delectable bakeries, and to Ryan for organizing everything & asking me on!

Photography by Duc Duong. More photos available on Facebook.