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Rebecca Woodard of Springdale, Ark.-based Harp’s Food Stores, Inc. took top honors in the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association’s (IDDBA) 15th annual Cake Decorating Challenge at the recent Dairy-Deli-Bake 2010 seminar and expo in Houston.
Second-place honors went to Tina Lofthus, Town & Country Markets, Inc., Bainbridge Island, Wash., and the third-place winner was Sara Vanderheyden, Hy-Vee Inc., Ames, Iowa.
Declaring the three supermarket cake decorators as “the epitome of grace under extreme pressure,” Carol Christison, executive director of Madison, Wis.-based IDDBA, said: “Not even the Texas heat could melt their enthusiasm for cake decorating and showcasing the best that our industry has to offer. Our event really tests their skills, because everything is done with a temporary kitchen, in a convention center, under less-than-ideal temperatures and in front of thousands of inquisitive people, for three straight days.”
Noting that the decorators “use only real product and must work under the judges’ watchful supervision and rules,” Christison hailed the trio of “extremely talented decorators [who] are passionate about their art and raised the bar for excellence. Their energy and enthusiasm were contagious and created a showcase event for their wonderful skills. Not only are they in a contest that’s being judged, but they’re [also] answering questions from attendees and having their every step photographed.”
There are three phases to the cake-decorating challenge. During the first day, each contestant decorated enough cakes to fill one multi-tiered, eight-foot bakery case. On the second day, each contestant decorated a multi-tiered wedding cake, and on the last day, each contestant decorated three “themed” cakes of their choosing, one from each category: special occasion, theme/event. and decorator’s interpretation of the IDDBA’s Dairy-Deli-Bake “’10 Texas” show theme.
Judges for the contest were Luke Bender, Maplehurst Bakeries, LLC, and Jim Caliendo, Rich Products Corp.
Ray Lippert, Pam Pelzel and Elizabeth Riggs of West Chester, Ohio-based Bakery Crafts were on site to support the contestants and provide equipment. Bakery Crafts also provided cake-decorating accessories, tips, equipment and support. H.C. Brill Co., Inc.; Enjay Converters, Ltd.; Flavor Right Foods Group; Lawrence Foods, Inc.; Maplehurst Bakeries, LLC; and Rich Products Corp. all provided product for the event.