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Posted at 5:52 PM ET, 05/ 7/2009

Chocolate Fashion Show? Sweet.

By Julia Beizer

Chocolate dresses at last year's event were pure sweetness. (Adam Clark)

Chocolate dresses and sugar tiaras seem like the stuff of little girls' dreams, but at Sweet Charity, the fantasy becomes reality. As part of the annual soiree, fifteen local chefs create costumes out of confections for a runway fashion show. I caught up with three of the chefs -- 2941's Anthony Chavez, Co Co. Sala's Nisha Sidhu and the Bourbon Steak's Jerome Colin -- to ask them about their creations for this year's theme: literary classics.

Before we get into all that, we should mention that tickets for the event are still available. They cost $95 in advance ($115 at the door) and include samples from 40 participating restaurants. Of course, it's all for a good cause: Sweet Charity raises money for The Heart of America Foundation's Books from the Heart program, which provides reading material for underprivileged kids. Check out the Reliable Source's report from last year for more intel on the event.

The chandelier that inspired a set of fairy wings. (Courtesy of 2941)

Anthony Chavez, Pastry Chef at 2941
Chavez and his assistant Tressa Wiles found inspiration in Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" for this year's competition. Their model will evoke Titania, the queen of the fairies. The dress is all well and good, but the true engineering feat of this costume will be the wings. Inspired by one of the restaurant's chandeliers, shown at right, the five-foot-tall clear sugar wings will include winged light bulb flourishes. "Part of the fun of the experience is challenging yourself to do something great," says Chavez, who's been tinkering with low-voltage lights all week. He estimates that they'll spend 40-50 man hours making the costume.

Nisha Sidhu, Co-Owner of Co Co. Sala
"It's truly like taking Cinderella and dipping her in chocolate," says the Sidhu of her creation for Monday's event. The dress will echo the classic cartoon dress -- albeit in a darker shade -- and the earrings, tiara and choker will be made of sugar that has been heated and molded to look like glassy crystal. Sidhu, 39, a pastry chef by training (after she left the biomedical engineering field, that is), has been involved with the event since its inception and has had her share of mishaps. One year, jewelery for an Indian bride costume melted under the heat of the lights. But for this year's show, she already has one fan. "I have a little daughter and she said, 'Mommy, when you're done, can I eat the chocolate?'"

Jerome Colin, Pastry Chef at the Four Seasons Hotel and Bourbon Steak
Colin chose Dulcinea del Toboso, Don Quixote's imaginary love, as his inspiration. His model will wear a yellow and red tutu embellished with white sugar. "I wanted it to be very vibrant," says the 30-year-old, noting that the belt and shoulder straps will also be yellow. The model will carry a bright fan and wear earrings and necklaces made out of sugar.

-- Julia

By Julia Beizer  | May 7, 2009; 5:52 PM ET
Categories:  Events, Restaurants  
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