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Starting Over One Cake at a Time [Hardcover]

Gesine Bullock-Prado
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
RRP: £12.99
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Book Description

21 Mar 2011
As head of her celebrity sister's production company, Gesine Bullock-Prado had a closet full of designer clothes and the ear of all the influential studio heads, but she was miserable. The only solace she found was in her secret hobby: baking. With every sugary, buttery confection to emerge from her oven, Gesine took one step away from her glittering, empty existence - and one step closer to her true destiny. Before long, she and her husband had left the trappings of their Hollywood lifestyle behind, and opened their dream bakery Gesine Confectionary in the stunning Vermont mountains. And they never looked back. "Starting Over, One Cake at a Time" follows Gesine's journey from sugar-obsessed child to miserable, awkward Hollywood insider to reluctant master baker. Chock-full of eccentric characters, beautifully detailed descriptions of her baking process, ceaselessly funny renditions of Hollywood nonsense, and recipes, the ingredients of her story will appeal to anyone who has ever considered leaving the life they know and completely starting over.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 270 pages
  • Publisher: Allison & Busby (21 Mar 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0749008636
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749008635
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 817,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'In this terrifically lively account, Bullock-Prado, a former Hollywood film developer and sister to actress Sandra Bullock, recounts the joys and heartbreaks of running her own patisserie. In subtly compelling prose, the master baker conveys a touching sense of responsibility for the emotional needs of [her] patrons, and offers mouthwatering recipes' Publishers Weekly

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A tasty book 20 Mar 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Gesine Bullock-Prado is the sister of film star, Sandra Bullock. For nine years she ran her sister's film production company but became increasingly disillusioned with Hollywood and decided to move to Vermont and open her own bakery.

Warning: this is not a good book to eat if you are hungry, or if you are a complete and utter cake and pastry addict like me. Her descriptions of food are delicious and the recipes made me want to try them out.

This is quite a charming book. Gesine's passion for pastries really showed, and it seems that it dates back to her childhood and her German grandmother. I loved her stories of life in the bakery, the people who work there and her customers. It's not a book with any real substance, but it's a very pleasurable read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars one cake at a time 14 Feb 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I enjoyed this book and finished it in a day. It's not a very long book and it's not great literature but I enjoyed reading about Sandra Bullock's less famous sister and how she left her 'phony' Hollywood job and lifestyle and opened a bakery in Vermont (Gesine Confectionery)and started making cakes instead. I loved the nostalgic feel of the book and the sweet stories about her childhood and her mother and grandmother and her Austrian/German heritage. It's also very nice that she's included quite a few of her recipes in the book although I'm pretty sure she says somewhere in it that she always alters a recipe she gives out so whatever is made is never quite the same as what she makes (or was that someone else?) I haven't tried any of the recipes yet but I no doubt will soon. Worth reading if you like baking, people who change their lives, or just reading about famous people or the relatives of famous people and have a few hours to curl up and drool over the cakes.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly sincere... 24 Mar 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm a cake, pastry and general sweet fiend, so I couldn't resist giving this book a go, but I was braced to set it down very quickly after skimming through for recipes. I assumed (stupidly - not the first time) that it would be rather luvvy-ish and peppered with gratuitous Hollywood name-dropping and sickly anecdotes.

I was totally wrong. And very glad to be! Gesine B-P (the double surname is the only jarring thing about her, seriously) writes immediately engaging prose, the secret of which is her absolute honesty. She hides nothing - her self-confessed freakiness, 'misanthropy,' and neuroses, her unhappiness working an empty job in movie production, right through to her greatly enthusiastic and infectious raptures about the joy that a simple little cake, lovingly prepared, can bring to someone's day. I think it'd be impossible not to warm to her, she comes across as so sincere and so human. She freely confesses her many cock-ups, is honest about not wanting to share her bread-and-butter best recipe, but generously provides recipes for just about everything else, comprehensively detailed with plenty of tips and useful pointers. As usual, there's the slightly sticky wicket of the American 'cups' issue, which will drive you mad very quickly, but Gesine often uses European measurements, too, and she also includes conversion tables at the back of the book which help take some of the hair-tugging frustration out of it.

It's tempting to skim through and focus on the recipes, but if you start reading each chapter in earnest, it's very hard not to be drawn into the world of her Vermont bakery and taken up with all the daily trials and dramas and triumphs she shares, not to mention many very funny stories - look out for the heavy-breathing phone pest with a fetish for pastries anecdote!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do you really want to own a bakery? 10 April 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I liked this little book. Having seen people I know failing to succeed in cafés and bakeries, I found it was refreshing to discover how someone can press through the upheaval of a complete change of life-style, from bored glitz in a cool movie-studio to the hard slog before dawn in a hot bakery, and come out on top smiling and happy.

Better still her writing is light and humorous, engaging, and yet still honest and punchy. Best of all, the icing on the cake, she gives us some real recipes that seem to work, (well all those we tried did). And all this is encompassed in the neat device of relating a single day of reminiscences wrapped around those eighteen recipes. It is American, but for the rest of us there is a short appendix in the back with conversions for the quantities.

This is true idealism, a picture of a kind of good-life attempt that eventually succeeded. Yes, there are tasty, tempting recipes, but her story is probably more interesting. There are some cautionary tales in here as well. Don't try this adventure yourself until you have read the book.

And be warned, if you search out a recipe, you might find yourself reading why it is there, and becoming engrossed in the book again instead of doing some baking!

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Delicious Treat of a Book 17 Mar 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed reading this book: it is, for the most part, very engaging and quite lyrical in the way it's wriiten - you can tell how passionate the author is about baking. She's a self-confessed perfectionist who wants `nonstop brilliance' everyday.

I confess that what initially drew me to the book was the fact that it's written by Sandra Bullock's sister - I guess it's easy for people to forget that celebrities have siblings and I was intrigued I might get a glimpse into the sisters' childhood and maybe learn something about what Sandra's like as a 'regular person'. I've also always been partial to baking myself, so I thought I'd give the book ago. I have to add that this just doesn't feel like a biography to me, which is just as well really as biographies aren't really my thing.

The book manages to be easy-breezy in style but eloquent at the same time. There is plenty in this book that will make you smile and I reckon Gesine is a very talented lady, both as a master baker and as a writer. In the book, she reveals how she became the successful baker that she is by recalling snippets from her life. She tends to paint a very black & white picture: her life running her sister's production company in Hollywood where she was overworked (not by Sandra, but by the industry!) and unhappy - and then her all-together quieter (happier) life in Vermont where she opens up her own bakery/coffee shop. The stories are neatly woven together: past and present, punctuated with a recipe at the end of each chapter (18 recipes in total).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars mouth watering receipes
Enjoyed reading about how the author connected each product back to her childhood and her family. Bakers of "sweet things" will enjoy this.
Published 4 months ago by Margaret
4.0 out of 5 stars Unlikely good read
on the face of it nothing to recommend it, a celebrity linked book about setting up a bakery, but this was a real surprise. I bought it on the strength of the positive reviews. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Alison Young
5.0 out of 5 stars I'd definitely recommend this book
Although I haven't actually tried any of the recipes yet, but I'm sure I will do as they sound really tasty! Very readable.
Published 7 months ago by KMO
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite good
Nothing startling
Writing is ok
Some interesting recipes and a good description of the reality of setting up a quality bakers
Published 8 months ago by Cakefairy
4.0 out of 5 stars More than a recipe book
Wonderful story of a woman following her dreams, being honest with herself and with us, the readers, I really enjoyed this bbc easy read, and will be trying out the recipes soon,... Read more
Published 9 months ago by AngelRachel
5.0 out of 5 stars lovely book
Well written and lets you see the difficulties as well as the joy of running a bakery. A great insight into a change of life styles
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Follow your dreams
What I liked about the book was that I felt it was very honest, she laid bare all her hopes and fears and I felt bonded with the author and her story because of this. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Dinah85
5.0 out of 5 stars yummy!
I love cook books.

I also love biography.

What better to do than to combine a biography with recipes so you get a biography cook book?! Read more
Published 24 months ago by kimatSafkhet
4.0 out of 5 stars Autobiography with cakes
The author was caught up in the Hollywood machine and not enjoying it even though she was living the sort of life which many people might envy. Read more
Published on 10 Dec 2011 by Damaskcat
4.0 out of 5 stars A little gem
I have to be honest. This was the second of my books to review & I wasn't sure what to expect.
I have to eat humble pie (!) and say that I loved it. Read more
Published on 13 April 2011 by katseyes
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