Tag Archives: Sweet Love

Giveaway: Tickets to Tomorrow’s Signature Chef Gala for March of Dimes

23 Oct

Kellis courseNote: This post is a giveaway of two tickets to tomorrow night’s Signature Chef Gala for March of Dimes, valued at $150 each. See the end and follow directions to win tickets!

About this time last year, I tagged along with Kelli Marks of Sweet Love to help her with a fun event, the Signature Chef Gala for March of Dimes.

At this event, chefs from the top restaurants in Arkanasas serve small plates from stations surrounding an elaborately decorated, festive ballroom at the Statehouse Convention Center. It’s quite the soiree.

Back at the bakery, Kelli had already prepared three desserts for the event: a pumpkin latte cake, a chocolate panna cotta with cocoa nibs, and a spice cake. My job was to help plate, garnish and describe the goodies to the crowds.



I love working at this kind of event, where you get to interact with attendees. I cut cake and slung sauce like a mad woman. Okay, so I tried to help loosen up that caramel sauce by putting it in some hot water and turned it all crystally…that was my bad. But Kelli never got frazzled, getting everything out and working the crowd like the pro she is.

Kelli Marks of Sweet Love describes each dish to a Signature Chef Gala patron.

Kelli Marks of Sweet Love describes each dish to a Signature Chef Gala patron.

And, of course, her stuff was delicious. People came back several times saying hers was the best table of all.

This year, the event promises to be just as awesome (probably even more so, since I won’t be working!). The chefs scheduled to participate are:

  • Stephen Burrow, Clinton Presidential Center
  • James Hale, Acadia
  • Kelli Marks, Sweet Love
  • Donnie Ferneau
  • Kent Walker, Kent Walker Cheeses
  • Dan Capello, Little Rock Country Club
  • Titus Holly, The Pantry
  • Rachel Boswell & Sally Mengel, Loblolly Creamery
  • Marshall Smith, SO Restaurant
  • Chris Bray, Bray Gourmet
The Signature Chef Gala is known for elaborate decoration, great music and amazing food.

The Signature Chef Gala is known for elaborate decoration, great music and amazing food.

Tomorrow night (Thursday, Oct. 24) is this year’s Signature Chef Gala, and I have an opportunity for you and a date/friend/whoever to attend! 

Just comment saying which chef’s table you would visit first and why. One comment will be chosen at random tonight (Wednesday, Oct. 23) at 6 p.m. You can get an extra chance by sharing this post on Twitter or Facebook; just let me know you did so in your comment. Please only comment if you will be available to attend tomorrow night. 

Good luck!

March of Dimes Arkansas
Signature Chef Gala
Statehouse Convention Center
Thursday, Oct. 24
6 – 9 p.m.

Random numberUpdate: Turns out our earlier winner is unable to attend, so we did a second randomizer. The winner is Shannon Riley! As before, I counted the comments, counting twice for people who shared on another platform and not counting duplicate comments. (I know, it’s confusing when I have to approve it before it appears. Sorry!) I put the total number in a random number generator and counted down to that number.

We’ll do something like this again when we have more time to build up to it. I didn’t give you much time to get the word out, but I’m so glad to be able to share tickets to this great event! 


Valentine’s Gifts for Foodies — Salted Caramels from Sweet Love Bakes

5 Feb
Vanilla Salted Caramels from Sweet Love Bakes on Cantrell.

Vanilla Bean & Sea Salt Caramels from Sweet Love Bakes on Cantrell.

In November, I finally made good on a several-month threat to haunt fellow ad-agency-escapee Kelli Marks for a day at her adorable Little Rock bakeshop, Sweet Love Bakes.

For most of a day, I followed her around and made stuff. Or, I at least watched her make stuff. She did let me at a few things, like the French macarons (not to be confused with American coconut macaroons) and some of her famous red-velvet cupcakes. I also totally messed up some fondant figurines I attempted to make for a gingerbread house competition she was entering.

While I’ll dish more of my experience in a writeup on my Stage Project page (hey, get off me, I’ve been busy!), I wanted to tell you about something. Something really sexy, melty, sweet and salty. Something incredibly appropriate for your Valentine, I promise.


Salted. Caramels.


Because I have to be gluten-free, there wasn’t much at the bakeshop I could sample for myself. On the day I hung out, I bought a handful of the two things I could have: the aforementioned macarons (made with almond flour, if you didn’t know), and the caramels. The macarons were delicious, especially the pink champagne flavor. They are a lovely, rich pink color that’s perfect for a Valentine’s gift. Get some of those, too, in a lovely pink gift box.

Did I mention the caramels?


I’m out of control.

They have just enough structure to unwrap them and get them to your mouth, and yet they have a bit of chew. One or two chews in, they start to melt into a salty-sweet pool of awesome on your tongue. If you enjoy an even more toothsome bite, you can put them in the fridge.

They don’t stick to your teeth. How does she do that?

While you chew the caramel, your teeth crunch against tiny pieces of sea salt, which, as any good foodie knows, magnifies the flavors of anything and pairs surprisingly well with sugar. Flecks of vanilla bean add a fresh, floral touch. Sweet Love also offers caramels in honey/almond and coffee varieties. I can’t seem to get past the awesome of the original.



Okay, I’m done now.

Go by Sweet Love Bakes and get a cute little pink box full of them. At just 50 cents each, they’re incredibly affordable, so load up. You might have her tape it shut, lest you are tempted to eat them all before that sweet gifting moment.