Ralph was 19 and falling in love.....with baking! As a young man, he had a passion to make beautiful things, leading him to his first business sewing European Cultural Clothing. His love of the peace and quiet of canoe camping led to building classic wooden canoes trimmed out in varnish and brass. But in 1979 he was making croissant and Danish pastries, mixing and rolling the different dough from scratch at the Kernel Bakery. He found his love making beautiful baked goods.
Soon after, he was the Bakery Manager at Super Place Supermarket enabling him to put his creative energy into the displays, winning several display contests in the Supermarket chain. He has always been cooking and catering. Every summer for 10 years he catered the Dublin Lake Club dinners and dances, and one summer he managed the Apple Hill Chamber Music Camp kitchen, listening to eloquent classical music drift through the air as he prepared meals. He has managed Christmas In Keene, a 325 seat prime rib steak house restaurant and made the donuts at Dunkin' Donuts as a second job when his children were babies.
His most recent business, Sweet Things, catered the local Contra Dances every weekend with delicious desserts. He offered an extensive dinner and dessert menu for the Contra "Dawn Dances", where 400 people dance from 7PM til' dawn at 7AM. Focusing on cakes for these large affairs is what inspired Black Tie Bakery.
Ralph has trained in all the Wilton Cake Decorating classes offered locally and has attended The Wilton School in Chicago IL. to learn the art of cake decorating, and the specialty of The Joseph Lambeth Method of Cake Decorating. The Lambeth Method is derived from a style of decorating that was popular in England, in which chefs and decorators would use layers of intricate piping to create 3-D scrollwork. It is frequently used by wedding cake designers to create ornate wedding cakes. In fact, Fiona Cairns used the Lambeth Method to decorate The Royal Wedding Cake for William and Kate. The Lambeth Method's unique use of overpiping to create lacey embellishments and ornate patterns on top of a fondant covered cake is still popular today and is the cake of choice for anyone who wants a traditional, elegant wedding cake. Ralph trained with Debbie Friedman and Sandra Folsom of The Wilton School, and with the renowned Kathleen Lange of Confectionary Chalet, San Diego CA. to learn the art of making stunningly beautiful wedding cakes.