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R. Jonathan Armistead from Hy-Vee (Columbia, Mo. store) was the winner of the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association's 13th annual Cake Decorating Challenge held June 1 to June 3 at the Dairy-Deli-Bake 2008 seminar and expo in New Orleans.
Second place went to Doris Irias Varela of Publix Super Markets, Inc. (Miami store). The third place winner was Trish Horsley of Price Cutter Supermarkets (Poteau, Okla.)
"There are other cake decorating contests all over the country that usually allow decorators to enter one or more categories and to show off their specialty," said IDDBA executive director Carol Christison. "This event is different because it's really a marathon. The decorators have to create on site, in a convention center, under less than ideal temperatures, in front of hundreds of people -- for three days! They're using real cakes and real frosting. They're under the gun to be a star and make themselves, their friends and families, and their company proud of their efforts."
There are three phases to the challenge. On Sunday, June 1, each contestant decorated a wedding cake. On Monday, June 2, each contestant decorated enough cakes to fill one multitiered, eight-foot bakery case. On Tuesday, June 3, each contestant decorated three cakes of their choosing, one from each category: special occasion; theme/event; and decorator's interpretation of the IDDBA's Dairy-Deli-Bake show theme, "Super Mardi Gras."
Judges for the contest were Luke Bender of Maplehurst Bakeries, Inc. and Jim Caliendo of Rich Products Corp. Ray Lippert of Bakery Crafts was on site to support the contestants and provide equipment.