Review: ‘Starting Over, One Cake At A Time’ by Gesine Bullock-Prado

This celebrity-sibling cash-in slash family history slash inspirational memoir is not as fluffy as one might expect.

Having trained in law and subsequently worked as a film developer, Gesine Bullock-Prado seemed to have it all in La La Land but something was missing and so, along with her supportive husband, she decided to up sticks to deepest Vermont to set up her own patisserie. With a few friendly pushes from big sis Sandy, Gesine found herself waist-deep in flour, butter and sugar as well as customers and mounting online orders.

Gesine contrasts her seemingly perfect life in fast-paced Hollywood, where she dined in the finest restaurants and lived among the beautiful and the successful, with her 4am starts and demanding workload in sleepy Vermont. However, no matter how tough it seems for her running her own business, she makes it sound as if it’s all worth it – because she’s happy.

If you’re looking for an expose of her sister’s life, a la Christopher Ciccone, you’re in the wrong place. Although Sandy is frequently mentioned, it’s only when relevant to Gesine’s narrative. I would have preferred a bit more information of what Gesine’s role in Hollywood entailed, all she really says is that it was unfulfilling and full of fakes.

Each chapter ends with a recipe for one of the mouth-watering treats Gesine has talked about. So not only is it an entertaining read, it’s an opportunity for trying out some beautiful pastries.

At times, Gesine comes across as childish and spoilt, as well as neurotic but the neuroses can be attributed to her perfectionist nature. I was really surprised that she talked in so much detail, sometimes scathingly, about her patrons and staff. Even if she has given them pseudonyms, with her descriptions, it won’t be hard to figure out who they are if you know them. However, her brutal honesty adds a certain authenticity to her writing. Knowing she is being so honest about her family and customers makes me want to trust more than your average published food-guru.

The book is dedicated to Gesine’s mother, who taught her the joy of eating in moderation. Her German heritage oozes from the pages as she talks about high jinx on both sides of the Atlantic and how her mother and grandmother’s rituals seeped into her own life. It is, quite clearly, a tribute to a woman who remains greatly loved and missed. The highlight of the book for me was the Oreo rampage teenage Gesine went on after her mother had banned junk food.

This book is about following your dreams but also understanding that nothing is perfect, even your dreams require a lot of effort and hard work, they’re still worth chasing after.

Vic x

Order your copy here:


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