A world of cake, candy and chocolate supplies await you at Baking Arts in beautiful downtown San Mateo. This cooking school and retail store are dedicated to baking, decorating and confectionary arts.
“I love it! It’s a bakers dream in there! I’m so happy I have a place to go to close to where I live!” – Suzy D., Yelp.
The classes are Baking Arts are designed to accommodate the novice chef as well as the avid home cook looking to master new techniques. They offer a relaxed, friendly teaching style that encompasses theory, demonstration and full hands-on participation. Classes are designed so that each student completes their own recipes and projects from start to finish to ensure a true learning experience.
Richard Festen of Baking Arts has lived and worked throughout the United States and Europe. After graduating from the California Culinary Academy Baking and Pastry Arts Program, he has settled into the bay area and has been teaching at Baking Arts for the past 10 years as well as creating wedding and whimsical celebration cakes and cookies for children of all ages (even grown-up kids).
We caught up with Richard to get the sweet scoop:
What do you love most about being located in San Mateo?
I absolutely love the people I’ve met and work with in San Mateo. It is the best part of my job. Our customers feel like family to us. We know them on a first name basis. I know what cookie they want before they even ask and we get to see their children’ getting taller each time they come into the shop. We often hear that our recipes and the classes we teach get inserted into our customer’s family traditions whether it is the apple pie their relatives now insist they make every year for Thanksgiving or our Christmas cookies that everyone in the family looks forward to.
With our new retail location, I now have the time and opportunity to work with people to find the right ingredient, the best tool, provide technical advice for the wedding, birthday and school baking projects and help budding new food businesses get their projects in motion. The very best part of my day is when our customers send in a photo of something they created that we were able to assist on.
Your favorite class to teach?
Oh my, it is so hard to decide. I’m a pastry lover at heart, so any of the croissant, puff pastry, kouign amann and other dough classes are always dear to my heart, but my new absolute favorite class is the French Gateaux Workshop. It is a from scratch, start to finish workshop where I teach students to make a classic genoise sponge, espresso Swiss buttercream, chocolate ganache and soaking syrups and put the whole thing together into this amazing multi-layer gateaux. The students seem to be shocked that they were able to make a cake with such incredible flavors and textures.
What’s the most popular class at Baking Arts?
There would be a tie between our French Macaron and our Floral Buttercream Cupcakes class.
“Five stars for the macaron baking class! I didn’t know what to expect but this class is amazing! I made the most perfect shaped macarons and they were delicious too. Tried to replicate the success at home and also turned out perfect! Do not hesitate to take this class!” – Sarah C., Yelp.
Name your favorite sweet something:
Every year for my birthday I make a praline cake that has three 1/4 inch thick layers of hazelnut sponge cake soaked with a Grand Marnier syrup and is layered with hazelnut praline buttercream and extra bittersweet chocolate ganache. It transcends the idea of rich and intense. I didn’t get this belly by eating salad.
We’ve listed below a few classes coming up that offer sweet skills to bring home to your Bay Meadows kitchen. You can also explore other classes and enroll online.
Biscuits and Scones on July 1 at 10:30am. Only minutes to prepare and bake, Sunday mornings just got a little bit nicer. Biscuits, light and rich and tender scones come down to the right recipes and good technique. They’ll have plenty of butter and jam on hand to devour these fresh baked goodies.
Croissant and Pan Au Chocolat on July 8 at 3pm. Learn how to prepare melt in the mouth all butter croissants and pan au chocolat in the classic French method. Students will make croissant dough from scratch and create the paper thin layers of butter that make croissants so light and flakey.
French Macarons on July 15 and July 23 at 10:30am & 2:30pm. Short on ingredients and long on technique, these addictive little treats, crunchy and chewy at the same time, are simply irresistible. A fully hands-on class, every student will make up their own batch of macaroon batter following the demonstration and practice exercise.
Perfect Bonbons on July 16 at 10:30am. Learn how to make exquisitely perfect filled truffles using professional hollow chocolate shells. Class is fully hands on and will cover various decorating techniques. Take your finished box of truffles home with you at the end of class in one of our handsome candy boxes.
Sweet and Savory Soufflés on July 19 at 6:30pm. Soufflés never fail to bring delighted looks from your dinner guests. Learn how to prepare soufflés bases ahead of time and pop them in the oven at the last minute for easy and elegant entertaining.
Special Occasion Cookie Decorating on July 29 at 10:30am. From colorful whimsey to simply elegant, you’ll learn how to create those gorgeous cookies just like in the magazines. They’ll cover piping, color flow and other techniques in class. Cookies designs change with the season.
“Never baked in my life but after one macaroon class and one pie class I’ve been nonstop! Baking Arts has created a safe and fun environment that even the inept, like myself, can feel secure.” – Ricardo M., Yelp
Experience Midurban life. Bay Meadows is a family-friendly neighborhood with lots of open space to enjoy all year long. Whether it’s growing your own vegetables in a gorgeous community garden with expert guidance, playing a game of pick-up basketball after work, team building over bocce, picnicking with family on warm summer nights or getting fit with pop-up fitness and yoga classes curated just for you, there’s no shortage of green space to explore. If you have little ones, don’t miss Momdays on Mondays in Paddock Park! Check out life out and about at Bay Meadows by following us on Instagram.