THE PALACE HOTEL — A Ten-Tier Chocolate Cake for 100th Anniversary

Chef Jesse Llapitan, Duff Goldman (the “Ace of Cakes”), and Chef Russell Costa create chocolate dream masterpiece

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

This year San Francisco celebrates the historic Palace Hotel’s 100th Anniversary. On December 15, 1909 the Palace Hotel re-opened its doors – completely rebuilt after the devastation of the April 18, 1906 great quake and fire. Since its 1909 re-opening the Palace has remained the Grand Dame of San Francisco sharing its many treasures with the loyal citizens of San Francisco and visitors from around the world. This past Thursday night Chef Duff Goldman of the TV Food Network’s Ace of Cakes teamed up with Palace culinary experts Executive Chef Jesse Llapitan and Pastry Chef Russell Costa to unveil their magnificent 100 Year Anniversary Cake in the hotel’s spectacularly beautiful Garden Court.

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Pay attention to that cake behind the curtain! Photos, Seán Martinfield

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CHEF JESSE LLAPITAN and DUFF GOLDMAN (“Ace of Cakes”)

The inspiration for the cake comes from the beauty of the historic Palace Hotel itself. The ten tiers represent each decade and reflect elements of the hotel’s exquisite interior created with the 1909 reopening and admired over the years.

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Chef Jesse Llapitan, Duff Goldman, and Chef Russell Costa

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The cake was made from 129 pounds of Chocolate, 115 pounds of Butter, 106 pounds of sugar, 301 eggs, 7 pounds of cocoa butter, 35 pounds of sour cream, 1 pound of salt, 29 pounds of cake flour, 17.5 pounds of Water, 336 egg whites, 6 vanilla beans, 21 gallons of cream, 56 sheets of gold leaf and, by the way, a ton of talent.

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Presenting a Proclamation from Mayor Gavin Newsom declaring August 27, 2009 as
Palace Hotel Day in San Francisco
FRANCIS TSANG and DAVID MIREE, Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services

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BRIAN HACKNEY

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JAN WAHL

About The Cake
First Tier – The Garden Court 1909 vintage Austrian crystal chandeliers
Second Tier – Crests from Maxfield’s stained glass ceiling
Third Tier – The rare carved wood work in the Pied Piper and Maxfield’s
Fourth Tier – Domed stained glass ceiling in the The Garden Court
Fifth Tier – The Garden Court entrance
Sixth Tier – The Pied Piper of Hamelin mural
Seventh Tier – The Garden Court filigree and architectural detail
Eighth Tier – Intricate details in the corners of the Garden Court
Ninth Tier – The Garden Court’s Italian Marble columns
Tenth Tier – The patterns of Maxfield’s interiors

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DUFF GOLDMAN and SEAN MARTINFIELD

PROCLAMATION FROM MAYOR GAVIN NEWSOM:

WHEREAS, the majestic Palace Hotel in San Francisco is hailed as the “Grande Dame of the West” – designed as the American counterpart to the grand hotels of Europe; 2009 marks the historic Palace Hotel’s 100 year anniversary; and

WHEREAS, the Palace Hotel, built in 1875, envisioned by William Chapman Ralston and William Sharon and designed by architect John P. Gaynor, purportedly the largest, costliest, and most luxurious hotel in the world with its 7,000 windows, 14-foot high ceilings, and unprecedented opulence; and

WHEREAS, after the devastation of the 1906 earthquake and ensuing fire that swept most of downtown of San Francisco, the majestic building was decimated; the Palace Hotel re-opened its doors on December 15, 1909, completely rebuilt after three years of under the supervision of New York firm, Trowbridge and Livingston; and

WHEREAS, leaving its mark on the 20th Century, the hotel has hosted a number of U.S. Presidents including Harrison, McKinley, Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, Taft, Harding, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Clinton, and Woodrow Wilson in support of the Versailles Treaty, has catered the banquet honoring the opening session of the United Nations in 1945, and has since continued to attract dignitaries, business moguls, and celebrities alike; and

WHEREAS, for 100 years, the iconic Palace Hotel has remained the landmark hotel in San Francisco with such timeless creations as the historic Garden Court’s stained glass dome with Austrian crystal chandeliers and the 1909 Maxfield Parrish mural of The Pied Piper of Hamlin located in the Pied Piper Bar; and

WHEREAS, with its fabled past and historic significance, the renaissance-baroque Palace Hotel that had opened to the public in December 1909 celebrates its Centennial with a seven month long celebration “100 Years of Tradition”; now

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that I, Gavin Newsom, Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco, do hereby proclaim August 27, 2009 as…

PALACE HOTEL DAY
In San Francisco!

About Chef Llapitan
Jesse Llapitan comes to the Palace from The Houstonian Club & Spa in Texas where he worked as Executive Chef since June 2003. Prior to his appointment at the Houstonian, Chef Llapitan was the Executive Chef for three years at the St. Regis Los Angeles where he was instrumental in the hotel’s grand opening. His extensive resort experience also includes serving as Executive Chef at the four-diamond Vail Cascade Resort and at the four-star, four-diamond Whitehall Hotel in Chicago. Jesse’s first appointment as Executive Chef was at the Harborside Hyatt Hotel in Boston. Prior to becoming an Executive Chef he worked as the Executive Sous Chef for the Hyatt Regency in Washington DC and as the Garde Manger Chef at the Grand Hyatt Wailea Resort on Maui Hawaii. 

Chef Llapitan graduated from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and completed his internship at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris France in 1989. He is a recipient of the prestigious Distinguished Chef Award from the American Institute of Food and Wine.

 Chef Llapitan prepares dishes influenced by his appreciation for classical French technique and his own modern style. Jesse’s unique blend of cuisines and use of the finest seasonal ingredients result in a creative signature menu with fresh California flare exclusive to the Palace.

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The Garden Court of the Palace Hotel

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

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