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.
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.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.