June 3, 2015

It’s not unusual when you make a cake for a celebrity that you will get a few odd calls from different sources, the celeb’s agent or management, testing the waters before someone finally comes clean and tells you who the cake is really for.  Therefore I did a double take when I received a phone call from the best friend of René Angélil, Celine’s husband, casually requesting a 40th birthday cake for Celine Dion for a surprise birthday party for that Saturday night.

HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 27:  Rene Angelil (L) and his wife, singer Celine Dion, arrive at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre February 27, 2011 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

We were given a brief for the cake design, Celine is very family orientated; she had been performing in Vegas for the last five years in a Colosseum purposely built for her and she was in the middle of a world tour, could we please factor all of these elements in the cake? We designed the cake featuring all of these elements with Rene and her son René-Charles as figurines and her mother Thérèse poking her head out of one of the windows of the Colosseum.

The cake itself was amazing, without a doubt one of the best cakes we had ever created and it took at least 40—50 hours to make. Therefore everyone was pretty devastated when we were told a few hours before the cake was to be delivered, that Celine’s surprise party was cancelled and the cake was no longer required. Celine had a sore throat and needed to rest, the feeling of loss was palpable, and we all went home very disappointed, a wonderful cake was wasted.

Diane 29.3.08. design 4
CELINE DION 40th BIRTHDAY

The following morning at around 7am while I was sitting around in Daffy Duck pyjama’s with a noisy five year old in the background,  I received a phone call. It was Celine’s Agent. Although they were no longer having a party could I please bring the cake over immediately?  Rene thought it would be nice for Celine to at least have a birthday cake even if she couldn’t have a party, would we mind? I galvanised the whole family into gear, threw the kid and the cake in the back of the car and zoomed over to the Intercontinental Hotel. Rene was waiting for us in the lobby, I couldn’t believe it, and he looked exactly like he did in magazines, immaculate. He was absolutely charming, thanked us for the cake, and with that he and the cake were whisked away, a job well done.

Just as I sank into a Sunday afternoon of nothingness the phone rang again, it was Rene’s friend, apparently Celine loved the cake, would the team who created the cake like VIP tickets to her concert that evening? So I rustled up the gang, we all jumped in our car’s and raced over to the Entertainment Centre. We all conferred and none of us had ever heard Celine Dion sing before, however we were excited. Our seats were amazing we were almost on top of the stage; she came out and sang her first song. We were all floored, her voice is amazing, her presence is overwhelming, and she is much more beautiful in real life, we were genuinely blown away, it was an amazing concert. However by the end of the concert we were all exhausted, it was a big week and we were all ready to crawl into bed.

Just as we were getting up to leave, a man in a suit approached us, he said that Celine had asked for us to come back stage, she thought the cake was absolutely amazing and she wanted to thank us personally. Good grief and stone the crows, what a shock!!  We were then escorted into the bowels of the Entertainment Centre where we were ushered into a smaller room, full of her entourage and guests waiting for her to appear. It was here that I learned that Celine usually travels with an entourage of at least forty people, mainly French speakers.  She is completely nocturnal, usually rising at 5 pm and going back to sleep in the wee hours. The room was laden with fruit and snacks, we were checked upon a few times to make sure we were okay and everyone was exceptionally polite and lovely to us.

After an hour or so of waiting I was very tired and exhausted, it had been a long and stressful week. All my makeup had rubbed off and I must have looked awful. It was at this moment Celine appeared. Surrounded by minders with Rene close by, she was wearing a fur and dripping in diamonds she was incredibly beautiful and very tall!!! Quite quickly she was handed a microphone and in a beautiful French accent started to address the small audience in French and English.  She thanked her dancers and the staff and everyone who supported her that evening. She then turned to us; I have never felt so plain and underdressed in all my life as she thanked us for the most beautiful cake she had ever received. She then said that she loved the cake so much that she would like to sing to us. At this point someone started playing the piano, Celine lifted her microphone and started singing in French and I couldn’t understand a word, however someone decided to put a spot light on me, so it was just me and Celine Dion, I have never felt so overwhelmed or awkward in my entire life with Celine Dion looking into my eyes singing, however it was one of the most incredible and bizarre moments of my cake career. I am still recovering to this day!

Celine Dion

It goes without saying that Celine Dion is everything a super star should be, gracious, kind, polite, beautiful and extraordinarily talented. The way she and her husband treated us was exceptional and it was one of the greatest experiences of my career. I would like to thank them and their amazing staff for the care and respect they showed me and the Planet Cake team, a rare experience in today’s world.