In Memory: Chris Russom

Monday, March 28, 2022

Chris Russom, part-time faculty, culinary management, passed away on Monday, March  21, 2022, after a short battle with brain cancer.

Chris taught Advanced Decorating Skills at the Downtown Campus since August 2019, and the creation of 3-D cakes was an essential component of his curriculum.

Chris launched “Let Them Eat Cake,” his first bakery and coffee house, in 1998. The bakery grew into an international success and eventually became Christopher Garren’s Inc., a corporation that executed thousands of celebration cakes yearly for corporations, design houses, movie premieres and movie and television personalities, from Will Smith to Oprah Winfrey. He retired from retail service in 2013.

He and his wife participated in multiple Food Network competitions from 2002 to 2007, and from 2008 to 2011, he filmed four seasons of the reality television show “Amazing Wedding Cakes.”

His work was featured on various television networks and shows, including: “Entertainment Tonight,” “Access Hollywood,” “Blind Date,” “The Tyra Banks Show” and international TV commercials. He also made numerous appearances on local radio and news programs, and his art found coverage in dozens of national and international magazines.

In addition to teaching at Valencia, he traveled throughout the United States, teaching continuing education and culinary classes.

“Sometimes, even as this comes as a shock to us all, it is hard to find words. As providence would have it, Chris’ life intertwined with our chef team here at Valencia in a way that you can’t make it up. (if that makes sense). Chris was here, out of anywhere he could have gone in the world, he planted his feet at Valencia! We remember as a team coming up with the Advanced Technical Certificate in Cake Artistry just so we could capture Chris’s talent and not lose him to another school. What was crazier to us was that he was willing and really wanted to go in that direction. In three years, he transferred as much knowledge as he could to the students who are better for it. There were many conversations about his wrestling with the feeling that it still wasn’t enough to give back to the students. He stated at one point that teaching here, at Valencia, were the best years of his life ever! So words can’t describe, even in tears, what a privilege it was to have him here! What can we say? When Chef Chris made a decision to do something, he was all in! His cakes and his classes speak for themselves!.” — Kenneth Bourgoin,  professor, culinary management

We will share information about services for Chris as it becomes available.

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