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updated: 12/16/2011 3:12 PM

How Central Continental bakes love into its treats

How Central Continental bakes love into its treats

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  • Cake decorator Chris Kowalczyk busily assembles an order for 200 gingerbread houses for a client.

       Cake decorator Chris Kowalczyk busily assembles an order for 200 gingerbread houses for a client.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Joanna Ontiveros uses an air brush to create a winter scene on a cake.

       Joanna Ontiveros uses an air brush to create a winter scene on a cake.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Cake designer Joanna Ontiveros, left, uses a stool to do lettering on a cake with a winter scene in the cake room of Central Continental Bakery.

       Cake designer Joanna Ontiveros, left, uses a stool to do lettering on a cake with a winter scene in the cake room of Central Continental Bakery.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Afternoon manager Katie Czerniak, a third-generation Czerniak family member, stocks the display case with Christmas cookies.

       Afternoon manager Katie Czerniak, a third-generation Czerniak family member, stocks the display case with Christmas cookies.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Cake decorator Chris Kowalczyk puts the finishing touches on one of 200 gingerbread houses at Central Continental Bakery in Mount Prospect.

       Cake decorator Chris Kowalczyk puts the finishing touches on one of 200 gingerbread houses at Central Continental Bakery in Mount Prospect.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

 
 

Deep in the dungeon, as it's affectionately called, cake decorator Chris Kowalczyk busily assembles an order of 200 gingerbread houses for a client.

On a good day, Kowalczyk can put together four or five at a time in about 10 minutes on his gingerbread assembly line.

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Upstairs in the cake room, Joanna Ontiveros airbrushes a winter scene on a cake using blue food coloring, while Tammy Montesinos sculpts figures out of fondant, a kind of edible Play-Doh, for one of her sculpted cake creations.

The hectic pace is typical during the busy Christmas season at Central Continental Bakery in Mount Prospect.

"We produce between 100 to 150 pounds of cookies per day before Christmas," said Connie Trakas, general manager of production and a 28-year veteran.

The Mount Prospect bakery has been a downtown fixture for over 30 years, specializing in every baked good imaginable.

Roger and Robert Czerniak opened the bakery in 1979 at 22 N. Main St., but it grew over the years and eventually into its current location at 101 S. Main St. in Mount Prospect.

A true family-run operation, three generations of Czerniaks work there today.

"Even if you're not a blood relation, you still feel like family here, I'm always excited to come in and work, I just love my job!" said cake designer Tammy Montesinos.

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