Friday, September 12, 2008

Gold Coast's newest addition, MORE, tempts guests to indulge in cupcakes

Cupcake lovers have long awaited the opening of MORE, a specialty retail cupcake boutique and wholesaler, which opens its doors today at One East Delaware Place. MORE is the upscale creation of charming, energetic owner Patty Rothman, who has teamed up with culinary leaders, consultants Gale Gand and Henry Adaniya. Gand, winner of the James Beard Foundation Outstanding Pastry Chef award, designed some of the recipes for the unique, extra moist cupcakes, while Adaniya developed the business concept of MORE."We wanted to create a business that was upbeat and fun, and what could be more fun than cupcakes?" says Rothman. "Not only are they delicious, but they are also small enough to fit in one hand, so we can all indulge in cupcakes and not feel so guilty."

Rothman, a successful entrepreneur and business woman, credits her number one role, as mom, for the inspiration behind MORE. After years of making cupcakes for her five children, who range from ages five to 16, she began to see greater possibilities. With the support of her close friends in the culinary world, she made the decision to open the all-cupcake boutique.

MORE offers a rotating collection of more than 50 varieties of rich, flavorful cupcakes. The collection is noteworthy for its unique savory flavors in addition to its wide variety of sweet recipes and classic favorites. The cupcake menu changes often, and includes special holiday and seasonal flavors.

Offering an extensive list of both sweet and savory flavors, MORE aims to please a broad array of customers. Rothman and her team have worked to develop all elements of their cupcakes, so as to accommodate different palates. The cupcakes showcase a combination of bold and subtle flavors, with twists such as Ganache filled chocolate, Passionfruit Poppyseed, Pink Grapefruit, and Creme Brulée. Savory flavors include Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato; Fig, Blue Cheese and Port, and a Madras Curry cupcake, which is layered with mixed berry jam, slathered with goat cheese and yogurt frosting and then garnished with puffed wild rice. Traditional flavors such as chocolate, white, yellow, red velvet, carrot and lemon are also among the 50 varieties.

"There are two types of people: frosting people, and cake people," according to Rothman. "We’ve customized the frostings to complement each cake flavor, so that both types of people are satisfied."

Joining the stellar MORE team is Executive Pastry Chef Todd Maturatai, who creates unique cupcake combinations of his own. After graduating from Kendall College, Maturatai took an internship opportunity at the esteemed Trotter’s To Go. The young chef credits the eight months he spent there in shaping his skill in the culinary arts. Maturatai comes to MORE after a five month stint as Executive Pastry Chef at Powerhouse Restaurant and Bar. With a philosophy that cupcakes are more than what meets the eye, Maturatai is enthusiastic about tackling the more challenging savory combinations.
Todd Maturatai, Patty Rothman and Liz Adamski

"In regards to developing savory recipes, I’ve worked to put my thoughts into an entirely different perspective," says Maturatai. "My creative approach is to look at everyday items and apply them to the cupcakes I create."

Showcasing this creative way of baking, Maturatai found himself dining at fine restaurants, looking at diverse ingredients for inspiration. MORE’s Caramelized Onion cupcake, which features an olive oil buttermilk cake, topped with caramelized onion frosting and candied pine nuts, is evidence this practice works.

During the planning process, with so many wonderful cupcake creations in the works, Rothman’s focus turned to store’s location and design. MORE found a home in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood, a perfect fit for the chic cupcake boutique. Rothman’s vision was to transform the retail space so as to evoke the essence of a cupcake.

The store was designed by 2008 AIA Chicago Firm of the Year, David Woodhouse Architects, LLC. It is a warm and comfortable feast of the senses. Customers are immediately greeted by a glass wall filled with suspended cupcakes. The ambience is inviting with rich textures and colors, and offers, in essence, material abstractions of the ingredients like butter cream and chocolate. The store’s unique backlighting illuminates the walls, to give the illusion of frosting throughout.

Rothman expects many customers to buy cupcakes by the dozen, with a good portion of MORE’s business coming from special orders for cupcakes at private events—weddings, birthdays, bar mitzvahs and so on. Special signature packaging is available for gift giving. As a wholesaler, MORE also supplies restaurants, hotels and corporate clients.It’s no secret that cupcakes are the nation’s hottest trend. With the huge success of Magnolia in New York and Sprinkles in Los Angeles, Rothman and her culinary team are confident MORE will have the same type of impact on Chicago.

"New York has Magnolia, but we’re bringing MORE to Chicago, in every sense of the word," states Maturatai. MORE, located at One East Delaware Place at the intersection of State Street and Delaware in Chicago, is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Sunday. For more information, contact MORE at (312) 951-0001 or send an e-mail to info@morecupcakes.com. Please visit http://www.morecupcakes.com/.
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