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A cake decorator at a Fort Smith, Ark., Harps Food Stores location has won the Food Network Challenge inviting participants to create their best “Christmas Classic Cakes.” Heading up a two-person team, award-winning cake designer Danny Lane concocted a unique baked treat representing the 12 days of Christmas (left).
A large cheering section of Harps associates, family and friends converged on the Holiday Inn in Fort Smith to watch the episode, in which Danny vied against three other teams during a grueling eight-hour competition.
“We broke the mold a long time ago as a supermarket bakery, and this really just shows the nation what this community already knows -- that we do great cakes like any boutique shop can do,” noted Lane, who made his television debut on the program from New York-based Food Network .
As the show had been pre-recorded, only Lane and his assistant, Rebecca Woodard, knew the results until the episode aired. Lane won $10,000, which he shared with Woodard.
“There’s stuff we haven’t done yet,” said Woodard. “That’s kind of what’s on our horizon, cakes that we haven’t done. Just more things to wow people, so they can say ‘that’s from a grocery store?’ And I say, ‘Yeah, it is from Harps, maybe nowhere else.’”
Chosen to compete based on the submission of a cake design portfolio and a video interview, Lane and Woodard are the first supermarket cake decorators to appear on the nationally televised broadcast.
Based in Springdale, Ark., Harps operates more than 60 stores in Arkansas, Mississippi and Oklahoma.