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Toni Patisserie to Offer a Slice of Mayfair Regent Hotel History

 Former employees of the old Mayfair Regent Hotel in the Gold Coast will reunite Sunday at Toni Patisserie and Cafe in the Loop.
Mayfair Regent Hotel Reunion
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THE LOOP — Le Ciel Bleu in the old Mayfair Regent Hotel on tony East Lake Shore Drive was at one time Chicago's preeminent dining room with a view.

The elegant restaurant and hotel, which counted maestro Sir Georg Solti among its famous residents, had a good run from 1980 until 1993. Its staff was like family, said Toni Marie Cox, who started as a pastry assistant and left as executive pastry chef.

"So many people started their careers there. It was a good atmosphere, and there was a lot of pride in the hotel," she said.

The building eventually was converted to condominiums, and everyone went their separate ways — to other hotels, overseas, into retirement.

But on Sunday, Cox is getting the band back together.

The reunion, to be held in the atrium of the Pittsfield Building, 55 E. Washington St., is closed to the public, but Cox will have a trio of desserts significant to Le Ciel Bleu's history for sale at her bakery, Toni Patisserie and Cafe, 65 E. Washington St.

One, a three-layer white chocolate mousse cake, was made as an apology of sorts for Solti, whose shower in his hotel suite went on the fritz at one point.

"We made the cake as a way to lighten things up," Cox said.

Solti's favorite, though, was a flourless chocolate cake with dried apricots and apricot sauce that Cox named the Solti Torte. It'll be for sale Sunday as an individual cake, along with strawberry cream puffs, popular during the Mayfair's afternoon tea service, and slices of the white chocolate mousse cake.

Cox and other alumni who kept in touch after the Mayfair closed had talked of a reunion for years. In January, Leslie Bodell, the former human resources manager, was in Cox's bakery and brought up the subject again with her and her husband, also a former Mayfair employee.

Word got out, former front desk manager Ed Leighton started a Facebook page for alumni and the rest is history.

Cox expects more than 40 people at Sunday's reunion. Hotel alumni seeking more details on the event should email toni@tonipatisserie.com.

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