In the fall, Nancy Weiss Malkiel, Princeton’s Dean of the College for the last 24 years, announced her plans to retire at the end of the academic year, and as that departure nears, people around the University have started to bid farewell. April 29 included perhaps the most unusual stop on the goodbye tour: Dean’s Bake, a cake contest in which students and confectioners from Princeton’s dining services aimed to give Malkiel a sweet and memorable send-off.
The event had the look of a Food Network show, with three cameras providing streaming Web video from the Frist Campus Center. Stu Orefice, the director of dining services, emceed the contest with a stream of foodie puns (including a promise that there would be no “bake inflation”), while chef Rob Harbison added commentary (“Real men do wear aprons”). The panel of four judges included Malkiel and her husband, economics professor Burton Malkiel *64.
Seventeen groups of students applied to compete, and organizers selected three promising teams to pair with experienced pros from the University bake shop. By the time the teams arrived at Frist, their cakes had been baked, cooled, and coated with one layer of icing. The challenge was to finish intricate decorations, carry the cake to a display table, and serve tasting samples to the judges in 45 minutes or less.