THE SUGAR ARTIST
BLACK ROSE PASTRIES / GARY, INDIANA
Many bakers were first introduced to Maurice Shelton as one of the victorious pastry chefs on the fast-paced baking competition show Sugar Rush. But this wasjust one of the many golds he’s taken home in the sugar art department. Whether it’s crafting an edible likeness of Lady Gaga’s ensemble from the Met Gala or baking and decorating a 10-tier masterpiece covered in more than 70 sugar roses, Maurice treats sugar as the ultimate artistic medium. Affectionately called Chef Blaque (pronounced “blake”) by his friends, Maurice runs an online bakery, Black Rose Pastries, when he isn’t traveling the country competing and judging baking competitions.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Black Rose Pastries has been a sweet blessing to the Chicago, Illinois, area and neighboring communities, meeting the demand for celebratory wedding and birthday cakes as well as providing simple baked-to-order comfort. While Maurice is on the road for competitions, he’s often accompanied by his son, Pierre. “I made it my goal when I became a father to always be active in my son’s life. To me, that meant including him in my life in pastry,” Maurice says. On a recent competition circuit, Maurice took Pierre on a grand road trip from Austin, Texas, all the way up San Francisco, California, with stops in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Yosemite National Park, all the while nurturing his son’s precocious talent. Since Pierre’s first taste of the world of sugar art, he’s gone on to win first place in the Junior Sculpted Cake division at the San Diego Cake Competition in California. “Now, whenever I go to an expo, everyone is asking, ‘Where’s mini me?’ because Pierre has become my constant shadow. It’s amazing to know the sugar community has embraced him the same way they’ve embraced me.”