‘Best Wishes, Al’: Pacino makes special delivery to Wishes bakery

Published 3:45 pm Monday, February 12, 2024

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NATCHEZ — A note signed “Best Wishes, Al,” tied to a bouquet sits in the new bakery at 506 Franklin St. with quite the story behind it.

Wishes Sweets and Eats owner Caylen Caldwell got a special Valentine from Al Pacino in exchange for taking his order of chocolate cake before officially opening her new bakery on Friday.

The Academy Award-winning actor’s assistant knocked on the bakery door hours before its opening, Caldwell said.

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“He said, ‘I really need a cake,’ and I said I wouldn’t be taking orders for a few weeks. I didn’t know who he was at the time. I just couldn’t make that happen,” she said, explaining that she told the assistant she had a packed schedule. “Then he said, ‘Can you make a cake for Al Pacino?’”

The cake was to treat Pacino for the wrap of a new movie that is being filmed in Natchez called “The Ritual.” The actor wouldn’t take cigars or a bottle of whiskey and specifically wanted a chocolate cake, Caldwell said.

After learning it was for Pacino — and not wanting to miss the opportunity to cook for a celebrity — Caldwell decided she could make the cake after all.

“In general, I try to make things happen for people. Whenever I can’t make an order, I feel bad. But then I thought, when am I ever going to get this opportunity again?”

Friday was particularly busy as it was the shop’s opening day and the request came in hours before the Natchez’s Mardi Gras parade.

The first weekend was busy with over 300 customers, but Caldwell said her team of 10 including herself and her mother Stacy Wagoner made it.

With help in the shop, Caldwell had Pacino’s cake and a dozen cupcakes for the crew ready for pickup a few hours later.

“It did push us back a little bit, but thankfully I have a great team here,” Caldwell said. “It all turned out OK. It was a lot less stressful having people who know what they’re doing to help me.”

The assistant gave Caldwell his number for the order.

“I messaged him later, kind of poking around a little bit and asked him how everything was,” she said. “He came over and kind of played it off like (Al Pacino) hadn’t eaten it yet, but asked me about my name and the spelling. Right after he left, someone called and asked would I be here because ‘we have a delivery for you.’”

She stayed at the shop later than planned to receive the bouquet. She thought maybe someone she knew had sent the flowers.

“I had told Mitchell, the assistant, that it was my first order for the bakery and thought if he could get a picture of (Pacino) with the cake or something it would be amazing. I never expected him to send flowers.”

Caldwell had let her first time serving someone famous slip by without a keepsake or photo from the experience.

She was a server at Magnolia Grill when Morgan Freeman stopped in for drinks while he was in Natchez filming “History’s Greatest Escapes with Morgan Freeman,” she said.

“He was really cool and you could tell he was from Mississippi. He was genuinely nice,” she said.  But by the time Caldwell thought to get a picture, Freeman was already walking out the door.

She wouldn’t let that happen with her most recent experience.

She plans to frame the note from Pacino with a few pressed flowers from the bouquet.

The note reads, “To Caylen and everyone at Wishes Bakery, Thank you for the delicious treats. Good luck with your opening!”

“It was really stinking cool,” she said. “That was a wild first day.”

After a short break, Caldwell plans to reopen the shop with regular hours Monday through Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.