The rich and famous, whose ranks include movies stars, business moguls and athletes, often decide to give back with foundations, scholarships and philanthropy after they attain their fame.
But Palmetto High School graduate Brion Bennett of Parrish, 23, who believes with his heart and soul that he will one day be among the famous because of his ability to make unusual wedding and birthday cakes along with rich, heavy and luscious cupcakes, has decided to give back now — before he attains worldwide fame.
Bennett, who is known in Parrish and beyond and even California as “Cake King Bennett,” is hosting a new event to feed the homeless of Bradenton he calls, “Spreading Love and Hope.”
Spreading Love and Hope is a free dinner set for noon to 4 p.m. Nov. 5 in the club house at Bradenton Village, 101 15th Ave. Circle W., Bradenton. Bennett, who also hopes to provide haircuts and toiletries, said he hopes it will become an annual event.
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I’m going to stay as humble as I can because being humble is the key to all things. Just like God brought me up this ladder, he can take me back down but I don’t want him to take me back down so I want to stay humble. So, everyone who approaches Cake King Bennett I’m going to shake their hand, try to take as many pictures as I can with them, understanding that I am on a time schedule.
Bennett’s Palmetto-based business, “Simply Divine Catering and Baking Services,” is blossoming, and Bennett is campaigning to get on the reality TV show “Cupcake Wars,” where top bakers compete for a $10,000 prize in a cupcake-baking competition, but he acknowledges he is still a long way from being rich and famous.
In fact, Bennett said he has no idea how he will raise the $4,500 he needs to realize his dream of feeding the 400 homeless Manatee County residents a meal of yellow rice, green beans, honey-baked ham, oven-baked chicken, dinner rolls and sweet tea.
He’s also planning to have a huge dessert bar for the event including his own Cake King cupcakes and other sweets donated by Ellie’s Delicacies of Lakeland.
With this early giving back, Bennett might be seen as putting the cart before the horse by some, but not by Bennett.
“It came to me when I was watching TV recently,” said Bennett as he stood in front of the Parrish home he shares and cooks out of with his mother, Chiffon Bennett. “There was so much negativity and just a little positivity. There is just not enough positivity in the world.”
“There are a lot of privileged families among us and we all see homeless people as we pass by,” Bennett added. “I stop and give them a burger or some cash if I have it. I want to let these people know, ‘We are here for you.’ I want to spread love and hope to them. That is my ultimate goal. I am just doing this by my heart.”
Although “Simply Divine Catering and Baking Services” caters local soul food parties and can do seafood and other menus, Bennett is best known in the Manatee County area for his cakes, which he designs on paper and then builds.
Tonya Jones of Lace Entertainment of Palmetto, a business that specializes in weddings, receptions, baby showers and birthday parties, often teams with Bennett on projects.
“His cakes are masterpieces,” Jones said. “Words that come to my mind are epic and personality. Also, Brion is great when a client has a vision. He makes it come to life.
Bennett started Simply Divine Catering and Baking Services on Jan. 18, 2010. He said word of mouth advertising has led new clients to call him from all over Florida, Georgia and even California to order his cakes.
“I always knew he was very creative, expansive and dramatic,” said the Cake King’s older brother, Edward Bennett, 26, a School District of Manatee County social worker.
“His soul food is very robust,” Bennett added. “His pound cake is my favorite. I have to practice self control to meet my wellness goals.”
The Cake King’s mom, Chiffon Bennett, said when her son was growing up, he was always active, busy and curious and loved to be in the kitchen with her cooking. He came to her six years ago and said he wanted to bake and design cakes and asked her if she thought that was too “braggy” a thing to do.
“I said, ‘Honey, if that’s your passion, go for it,’” Chiffon Bennett said.
The Cake King says when he is famous all around the world he will never turn down an autograph or “selfie” seeker.
“I’m going to stay as humble as I can because being humble is the key to all things,” Bennett said. “Just like God brought me up this ladder, he can take me back down but I don’t want him to take me back down so I want to stay humble. So, everyone who approaches Cake King Bennett I’m going to shake their hand, try to take as many pictures as I can with them, understanding that I am on a time schedule.”
For information or to help sponsor Spreading Love and Hope: Brion Bennett 941-249-1732 or SimplyDivineCateringbakingser@gmail.com or Sheree Shantell White 941-962-2600 or firstname.lastname@example.org