I work for Ritchie Bros. – the largest industrial auction company in the world. We are a pretty special, unique kind of company – the people I work with are truly the nicest, most honest, hard-working people you will ever know, but Pete Blake, our former CEO, is the probably the nicest, honest, most well liked individual of all of us. It was with heavy hearts, and some tears, that we gathered yesterday to bid Pete a fond farewell and wish him luck on his new adventures as he steps down as CEO of Ritchie Bros.
I’ve made cakes for Pete in the past – there are other blog posts here for a Yoda cake, a Paris-themed cake for Pete’s beautiful, amazing wife Leslie, and a camera cake for Pete’s brother. Pete and his family are truly some of the nicest, most appreciative people on the planet, and in my opinion, it would have been unacceptable to not say thank-you to Pete for his years of inspirational leadership in the only way I know how best.
I started with the hat – every team member at Ritchie Bros. wears an orange hat, so Pete’s hat was first. The hat is made from rice crispies, to hold the shape better than cake, and I hand-painted the stitching around the brim with food-colouring.
I’ve had this idea for a while, to create an auction theatre out of cake, but I wasn’t totally sure how to make it look like there were customers in the theatre – so I hand-painted the scene with food colouring and a little perspective and hoped it would work out. I’d be lying if I said I plan the whole cake in advance – at the end of the day, creating a cake like this is kind of a crap shoot, and I never really know how all the elements will go together until the final assembly. I have an idea, kind of hope it works, and then go from there. I wasn’t happy with the way the signage looked above the theatre, so I cut it off and re-did it.
When you register as a customer at one of our auctions, you are given a Listing catalog, with the items listed by Lot number. I thought my final nod to Pete would be to list his major achievements at Ritchie Bros., on page 2014, of his own personal catalogue. I love how this turned out – the page looks exactly like one of our bid books, and is such a great way to show off how awesome Pete is. The details are taken from an accompanying coffee table book that was created for Pete.
Earlier this week, when I was planning this cake, I said to Megumi (Pete’s assistant) “man, it would be perfect if we had time to make a bobblehead of Pete to put on the cake”. She reached under her desk, and pulled out of bubble-wrap a bobblehead and said “kind of like this one?!”. Yeah! The bobblehead of Pete took the cake, and at the end, once we’d filled up the yard with equipment and put a couple of excavators on the ramp, the cake was AWESOME.
There’s just one little detail I wanted to point out – at Ritchie Bros., safety is everything, and I wanted our EH&S team to know that our cake auction house has the proper safety posts in place on the ramp, however it does appear that one is crooked – I actually left it that way as a point for authenticity. 🙂