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The winner of the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association’s (IDDBA) 18th annual Cake Decorating Challenge is Rebecca Lougheed of Food City, in Greeneville, Tenn. The competition took place at the Dairy-Deli-Bake 2013 seminar and expo in Orlando, Fla., June 2-4.
Second and third places went to Kelli Coleman of Dillon Stores, Lawrence, Kan., and Dawnette Costa, of Giant Eagle in Erie, Pa., respectively.
“Our contestants not only have the skill set needed to compete at a national level, but they have the internal fortitude that lets them do it under pressure,” noted Carol Christison, executive director of Madison, Wis.-based IDDBA, the nonprofit membership organization serving the dairy, deli, bakery, cheese and supermarket foodservice industries. “They don’t have a fancy studio or hours to complete one cake. They’re working under severe time pressure in a convention center exhibit hall. The challenges they face in this competition include heat, stress, exhaustion, unusual working conditions, and an audience watching their every move. Not only do they meet these challenges, but they do so with grace and incredible talent. No matter what trophy they take home, they’re all winners.”
The Challenge has three stages: On Sunday, June 2, each contestant decorated enough cakes to fill one multitiered 8-foot bakery case; on Monday, June 3, each contestant decorated a wedding cake; and Tuesday, June 4 was devoted to a special “Decorator’s Choice” theme event. Judges for the contest were Luke Bender of Brownsburg, Ind.-based Maplehurst Bakeries LLC and Jim Caliendo of Rich Products Corp., in Buffalo, N.Y.