You can eat it, too
Jerrie Mergan has launched a new business in which she teaches cake decorating for children as a party theme. As part of an effort to raise awareness about her new gig, she’s working on a promotional fundraiser with the Food Bank of Northern Nevada. Tickets are $1 and can be bought at Moana Nursery or by calling 391-1250. Tickets will also be sold at the South Reno Farmers’ Market at The Grove on Sept. 12.
You go to parties and teach kids how to decorate cakes?
Right, they get to decorate their own little cakes. I bring hats, aprons, cakes, icing, an airbrush, and they get to do their own little cake.
Oh, cool. And how many cakes can be made at a party like this?
I just did the Goddard school, and we did about 26 kids at one time, but I did them in groups of five.
What’s the name of your business?
How did you get started in that?
I’ve been decorating cakes for 25 years. And everybody has been telling me all those 25 years, “I wish I could do that,” and “I want to learn how to do that.” And I decided I was going to teach them.
And you work as a pastry chef up at the university?
And how long have you been up there?
About four years.
So you’ve been a pro for a long time. What kind of cakes do the kids want to make?
I do a little vanilla or a little chocolate. And then I have a menu, so they can do what they want. I have butterflies, bugs, flowers, fishies, all different kinds. … And while I have their attention, we discuss why we wash our hands and that we don’t eat cake every day. They promise me that they’ll share their cake, and they’ll get plenty of exercise. And I try to ask them not to play video games that day.
How old are these kids?
I’ve worked with kids as young as 3, but there’s really no age limit. They get to keep their hats and aprons, so they can cook in the kitchen with mom or dad, and they get to reuse their hats and aprons. So that’s always cool, just to inspire them to be in control of their kitchen and what’s going on with what they’re eating.
What’s the most interesting experience you’ve had teaching kids to make cakes?
It’s just that they think it’s magic, that only professionals can do it. And then they realize that wow, anyone can do this. They get excited that it’s not magic at all.
How do people get in touch with you?
I have a website. My website’s www.littlechefsparties.com. My business line is 775-391-1250.
And what are you doing with the Food Bank?
I am raffling off a two-tier special occasion cake. It’s valued at $350. I’m also partnering with Moana Nursery. They’re putting in a prize, as well. The tickets are $1; I’ll be collecting them through Sept. 29 at 6 o’clock.
What else should I know about you?
I’m a native, born and raised. I knew what it was like to struggle and ask for help when my kids were little, so I just want to give back to my community.