Thursday, March 15, 2007

Food Network Challenge: The Great Pie Cookoff!

Well, on Valentine's evening I got an official invitation to go to Denver, Colorado to compete against four other bakers for $10,000 at the Great Pie Cook-off. It was a long day on Tuesday, March 13th. I won't spoil who wins, but it was definitely down to the wire and will be a GREAT show.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Entering the IDDBA Cake Challenge

Well, wish me luck! I submitted a portfolio to the IDDBA in Madison, Wisconsin to be considered to be one of the three professional store level cake decorators for their annual competition. This year it will be held in June in Anaheim, Calif. and I'm hoping to be one of the few picked to compete! I am originally from L.A. and would love to be able to compete on my home turf. They asked that you submit many pictures, more than fifty if you that show your diversity and abilities. The competition itself is run over three days. Day one you make a wedding cake, the next day you fill a bakery case with a variety of cakes and the third day you make three special occasion cakes. I should hear in March if I'm one of the three selected! (eeek!) Publix decorators have participated, and even won the competition before, so it would be a huge honor!

Trip to NYC

I have some exciting news! I was able to be one of the first people to try
the zero grams transfat per serving Crisco on a recent trip to NYC.

I was able to use it to make some icing and it performed just like the Crisco
product I know and trust. I'm looking forward to using it in the Professional
Division at the National Pie Competition in Celebration, Florida in April.
What was really exciting was to know that it will be available in butter
flavor, which I prefer.

I wasn't the only National Pie Champion that went! Phyllis Bartholomew was
also invited. We had an exciting time. We even got to go to a Cake store
where we got to shop and I was able to get more of those Morello Cherries from
a new Trader Joe's location that opened just off of 14th and Union Square.
I'll have to create a new recipe with it featuring those wonderful cherries,
because I can't use the same winning recipe.

The day began arriving in La Guardia airport at 1030am and a driver was
waiting to take me to the test kitchen. NYC is just as you expect, lots of
people and the busyness of the city humming. I'm from L.A. and I LOVE the
city, so for me it was very exciting and invigorating.
What an honor to be a part of something so groundbreaking! It was a thrill
and something I know I'll remember for many years to come.


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Starting the Adventure of Cakes N Pies

Today is the first day I write in this blog. I'm really excited to share with others what I've learned and experienced through cake decorating.
I started decorating almost 8 years ago, as a way to learn how to do it properly and a form of therapy. My youngest son was born with major major medical problems and it was great to get out of the house once a week, until he got too sick to do anything. Thankfully we got through all that and he is now a thriving 7 year old boy who is an avid reader and map searcher.
Decorating has afforded me opportunities that I doubt I would have ever come accross.
I started with a basic class at Suzy's Sweet tooth in Montclair, Calif. and took classes at Jane's Cakes in Montrose, Calif. I joined the California Cake Club and Sweet Arts. My first competition was with the San Diego Cake Club. I also was able to enter at the Los Angeles County Fair. All this was only the beginning in a long line of competitions and fairs.
We moved north of Orlando, Florida in August of 2001. I joined the Confectionery Artists Guild and was able to again compete at the fair and also started attending the annual Mini Classes, where classes specializing in cake decorating were offered. I also joined ICES (International Cake Exploration Societe) and began attending Days of Sharing, where different decorators demonstrate techniques that are helpful and unique.
In November of 2002, I started making gingerbread houses competitively and entered the Grove Park Inn National Gingerbread Competition. I was fortunate enough to place twice in the first three years.
In November 2004, the Food Network happened to be at the competition and on the spot decided to follow myself and two of my friends as we entered the contest. I didn't win the whole thing, but it was an honor to place 4th.
In August 2005 I received an invitation to compete on a Food Network Challenge featuring five amateur gingerbread artists who would compete for $10,000.00 It was a huge honor to be asked to compete. I was up against people who had all placed higher than I had. It was an incredible experience that I will never forget.
In April 2006 I entered the National Pie Championship with my best friend Susan Boyle. She had never made a pie in her life and I had never made a homemade Cherry Pie before in my life. Much to my shock and amazement, my cherry pie won me the title of National Pie Champion, $5000.00 and a whirpool range and microwave.
When I look back now at the meager beginnings of my decorating and baking career I am truly thankful.
I April 2006, just after I won the Pie Championship, which Food Network was there to film, I was hired by Publix as a full time cake decorator. This has been a challenge for me, but a big blessing to be able to help my family out financially. Publix is an incredible company. I am amazed at the benefits I've received and I'm looking forward to a great career with a great company.