TOP PHOTO: The stunning cake made by Culinary students Christine Nearen and Andria DePillo for the dedication of the Luce School field in honor of Billy Cravens. Photo by Judy Bass
LOWER PHOTO: BHR Culinary students Nina Wirta, left, and Andrea Eng represented the school at the dedication ceremony naming the Luce School field for Canton resident Billy Cravens. Photo by Linda Wirta.
By Judy Bass
Some cakes are truly works of art that are as lovingly and meticulously created as any painting or sculpture.
Such a cake was recently made by two Blue Hills Regional Culinary Arts students from Randolph, seniors Christine Nearen and Andria DePillo, whose expertise and artistic flair wowed everyone who saw their remarkable confection.
The large decorated sheet cake they crafted pays whimsical tribute to Canton resident Billy Cravens, a beloved figure in the town who is now battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, an incurable degenerative condition.
Cravens, 56, a longtime employee of the Canton Recreation Department, was honored on Sunday, April 13, when the field at the Dean S. Luce School in Canton was named in his honor. The cake, which depicted the school, its grounds, and Cravens himself, was featured at the event.
Linda Wirta of Canton, who is on the Advisory Board for the Culinary Arts program and has a daughter, Nina, who is a student in that program, was at the event, which she estimated was attended by approximately 200 to 250 people. Nina and another Blue Hills Culinary student, Andrea Eng of Canton, were there representing the school.
In the midst of all the hoopla celebrating Mr. Cravens, the crowd was buzzing appreciatively about the cake. “The cake was amazing,” Linda Wirta said. “The detail [on it] was really impressive. Mr. Cravens loved it.”
According to Chef David Green, an instructor in the Blue Hills Culinary Arts program who oversees the students’ pastry-making, the cake was chocolate, with a base coat of vanilla frosting, and “grass” made of vanilla frosting that was colored green.
The replica of the Luce School was constructed of Rice Krispies covered with fondant.
The crowning glory of this edible masterpiece was undoubtedly the miniature representation of Cravens sitting proudly at the wheel of a tractor pulling a lawn mower, trimming the school’s field while a shower of little red hearts emanated from the rear of the vehicle.
When three individuals from the Canton Recreation Department, including Recreation Director Janet Maguire and Recreation Dept. maintenance workers Jimmy Walsh (a 1984 Blue Hills graduate) and Mike Mitcheroni came to Blue Hills to take possession of the cake, they were clearly delighted with Nearen and DePillo’s handiwork and the quality of what they produced.
Calling them “talented young people,” Walsh said, “We were thrilled [with the cake]. I know the public’s going to be thrilled, too.”
Beaming, Nearen said she liked working on the tasty project. “I’m happy with it,” she declared.