After a fire tore through his famed Hicksville bakery a week ago, Francesco Guerrieri vowed to keep alive a streak more than three decades in the making: Filling every order.
With nearly 90 wedding cakes to be made, Guerrieri redirected operations to his second location in North Massapequa, where the crew of about a dozen bakers and coordinators got the job done.
“We had to start from scratch on everything,” Guerrieri said. “Now we had to recreate and rebuild everything we had for this week. We didn’t have anything ready, but every wedding cake went out.”
The family business of 33 years, Francesco’s Bakery in the Broadway strip mall, was gutted by the fire last Sunday.
Firefighters have since deemed the building unsafe to enter and have been unable to further investigate the cause of the blaze, although it is not deemed suspicious, fire marshals said.
Preparing for weddings usually takes about 10 days, Guerrieri said, but bakers had to redo the nearly 90 cakes by Friday with pieces including flower petals and other decorations. He further faced the challenge that the Massapequa operation is scaled down to one machine instead of the three that were in Hicksville and a smaller oven, Guerrieri said.
He said he called every bridal party to tell them their orders would arrive on time.
“I had a little doubt we might get some complaints, but everything is working out great,” Guerrieri said.
Brianne and Chris Bjerkholt of Oyster Bay got married Friday night and their custom-made cannoli cake was delivered for their ceremony at The Somerley at Fox Hollow in Woodbury.
Brianne, 27, said she was filled with dread after hearing of the fire, but was reassured by the bakery that her cake would arrive on time.
“You feel guilty because you don’t want to be too upset,” she said. “You know it’s life changing for the owners of the bakery.”
She said she followed updates on Facebook and remained in touch with Guerrieri after the fire. They remained in contact through the week and he called when the cake was done.
They saved the top tier of the cake to eat for future anniversaries and may go back to buy an anniversary cake next year.
“As much stress as this week was, I knew the cake was done and it was such a relief,” Bjerkholt said. “The cake was breathtaking and so stunning. It was absolutely perfect.”
With Chau Lam