Sugar art, or cake decorating, is the star of the 38th annual convention of the International Cake Exploration Societé, or ICES, at the Lexington Convention Center through Sunday.
Members will attend classes on sugar techniques, and the public may visit the Sugar Art Stable on Saturday and Sunday, where they can admire hundreds of cake displays created by designers from around the world.
Sugar as art involves using fondant, buttercream and cold porcelain to make decorations for special-occasion cakes. (Cold porcelain is a non-edible, air-dry clay used to make delicate shapes, such as flower petals.) The displays at the convention will not be edible, as the decorations will be on faux bases, which are basically canvases from which to work. Because many of the cake artists are traveling great distances, a fresh cake would not stand up well. The show will offer plenty of unusual ideas for creating cakes for a lavish wedding reception centerpiece or a show- stopping birthday celebration.
Ellen White, owner of Cakes by Ellie in Richmond, is making the show cake. The theme of the convention is Kentucky and horses, and White's cake has a Derby theme. Her creation begins with a hat box, topped with jockey silks and rose garland.
Hours for the Sugar Art Stable are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10. Proceeds go to Old Friends and Mom's Closet. Go to Icesconvention.org.
A one-day shopper's registration is $50 for Saturday or Sunday, and includes entry to the Sugar Art Stable and the Trackside vendors, who will have tools and equipment for sale.
Thai food hits the street
Thai Orchid Café is celebrating its seventh anniversary Saturday with a traditional Thai Street Food Festival that benefits FoodChain, a nonprofit indoor urban farm. The party, 5 to 9:30 p.m., will be in the parking lot at the restaurant, 1030 South Broadway.
"Nothing compares to the aroma of fragrant curry and noodles, the sound of juicy meat hitting the grill and the atmosphere created by dozens of Thai street food vendors. We're so excited to bring the Thai street food experience to Lexington," chef and owner Toa Green said. "My favorite part about visiting Thailand is eating at the local street markets. The food is so fresh the atmosphere is unmatched."
Vendors will serve fresh curry, noodles, salads and grilled meats, plus Thai Orchid's new Crank & Boom craft ice cream will be available.
Advance tickets are $40, $70 for couples, $20 for ages 6 to 11, free for age 5s and younger. Tickets at the door are $50. Call (859) 288-2170 or go to Thaiorchidcafe.net.
Tie-dye one on
Country Boy Brewing, 436 Chair Avenue, will host a T-shirt tie-dying party at 2 p.m. Aug. 31. Participants may put their own creative touches on a white Country Boy shirt with a black logo. Shirts will be available for $10, including tie-dying supplies.
Country Boy's owners, brewers and bartenders will be available to help create the wearable masterpieces, and a food truck will be on site.
Country Boy taproom sells craft beers such as Shotgun Wedding, a brown ale brewed with bourbon-soaked vanilla beans; Papaw's Red, an imperial red ale aged in 20-year Pappy Van Winkle bourbon barrels; and Jalapeño Smoked Porter, brewed with locally grown jalapeños. Call (859) 554-6200 or go to Countryboybrewing.com.
Classes for the cook
The beginning of the school year means returning to the kitchen for family dinners and other occasions. If you want to brush up on your culinary skills, here are two classes to consider:
■ Stuarto's Olive Oil Co. and The Club at Spindletop Hall are offering a class on cooking with flavored olive oils, vinegars and sea salts from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday. It will be at Spindletop Hall, 3414 Ironworks Pike. The cost is $38. Call Stuarto's, (859) 263-0088.
■ August classes at Williams-Sonoma will inspire you to be more creative. The store is at Fayette Mall, 3473 Nicholasville Road. Topics and dates are: Perfect pizza on Sunday; Cooking with wine, Aug. 18, and pasta pronto on Aug. 25. Classes are free and begin at 11 a.m. Call (859) 272-5856.
A canned event
Jarden Home Brands, makers of Ball Brand home canning products, will hold its third annual National Can-It-Forward Day on Aug. 17. The event celebrates the joys of fresh preserving with a live webcast featuring canning, crafting and entertaining demonstrations at Freshpreserving.com.
National Can-It-Forward Day will broadcast live from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Union Square Greenmarket in New York City and feature demos from Food Network's Chopped host, Ted Allen; FamilyFun Magazine's Rick Fields of Rick's Pickles; and Taylor Davis from Mason Jar NYC, who will be mixing cocktails in Ball jars. Consumers may participate by tuning into the webcast, hosting their own home canning parties, participating via social media on the Ball brand Facebook and Pinterest pages or by tweeting with the hashtag #Canitforward.
Healthier choices for kids
The National Restaurant Association's Kids LiveWell Initiative has expanded to more than 41,000 restaurants.
The voluntary program provides parents with a growing selection of healthful children's menu choices at restaurants including Wendy's, Red Robin, Dairy Queen and Moe's Southwest Grill. Other restaurants are listed on Healthydiningdinder.com.
To join Kids LiveWell, restaurants agree to offer and promote a selection of qualifying menu items based on leading health organizations' scientific recommendations, including the USDA Dietary Guidelines. The initiative focuses on increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and low-fat dairy, and limiting total calories, unhealthy fats, sugar and sodium.
Sharon Thompson: (859) 231-3321. Twitter: @FlavorsofKY. Blog: Flavorsofkentucky.bloginky.com.