Live Theater Reviews


Posted: January 5, 2021 at 9:35 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

With the final installment of Cooking, Carols and Cocktails, making a mess has never tasted so good. Presented by The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis as a four-part web series highlighting local musicians and chefs, this final bite features a revered local favorite, gooey butter cake.

Sprinkled in for flavor are the jazzy and funky sounds of Fresh Heir, whose set from Delmar Hall shakes away the winter blues. Opening with the spiritual Go Tell It on the Mountain and then moving onto the boppy keyboard groove of Believe and the inspirational You Can Make It, the band’s nod to Steely Dan and Stevie Wonder sounds contemporary and fresh. Ending with O Come O Come Emmanuel, Fresh Heir shows a softer side with a rendition that remains solemn yet soulful.

The jovial Pascal hosts the main event, a demonstration on making good gooey butter cake. Joining him is owner/chef Chris Phillips of Perfectly Pastry Bakery (located inside Urban Eats at 3301 Meramec) who combines smooth batter, cream cheese and yellow cake to make a tummy tingling gooey butter cake.

Originating in South St. Louis during the Great Depression, a proper gooey butter cake takes about 50 minutes to make and relies on the baker’s precision in synthesizing a yellow cake with a cream cheese topping. Other ingredients like chocolate or cinnamon can be added as needed to give it some punch. In addition to being just plain yummy, gooey butter cake can be made in any size baking pan to accommodate serving needs.

Keeping things casual but informative, Pascal and Phillips discuss how Perfectly Pastry has pivoted during the pandemic and built up a following from their Dutchtown retail space. Talking with Pascal, it is obvious that Phillips loves her day job. Quitting her career in accounting to pursue her love of baking, she is in her happy place baking sugary goodness for her customers.

Supported by her daughters and family, she also discusses how she successfully opened her retail space amidst challenging times in November.

Once again, mixologist extraordinaire Heather Sharpe closes things out with another great drink. Here she chases away the cold with a Hot Toddy, a perfect drink for keeping warm on chilly nights.

Unable to perform with live audiences, The Rep’s web series Cooking, Carols and Cocktails celebrates the creative spirit of St. Louis’ finest chefs, musicians and mixologists.

Presented in collaboration with Once Films, Cooking, Carols and Cocktails screens online through January 31st. Tickets are $15 per episode or $50 for the entire series. For more information, visit or call The Rep Box Office at 314-968-4925.