MADISON, Wis. — The International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association has chosen three finalists to compete in its 13th Annual Cake Decorating Challenge at the Dairy-Deli-Bake 2008 seminar and expo, June 1-3, in New Orleans.
The finalists are R. Jonathan Armistead, representing a Hy-Vee store in Columbia, Mo.; Doris Irias Varela, representing a Publix Super Markets unit in Miami; and Trish Horsley, from a Price Cutter Supermarket in Poteau, Okla.
Hy-Vee is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa; Publix is in Lakeland, Fla., and the Price Cutter Supermarket is owned by Harp's Food Stores, based in Springdale, Ark.
The finalists, chosen from 44 entrants, will compete on the show floor in the challenge, which runs the entire three days of IDDBA's expo.
“This event is different [from other cake-decorating competitions], because it's really a marathon,” said Carol Christison, IDDBA executive director.
“The decorators have to create on-site, in a convention center, in less than ideal temperatures, and they have to do it — using real cakes and real frosting — in front of hundreds of people.”
Christison emphasized that the finalists are under pressure at the show.
“A contest like this is a contest of nerves and stamina, as well as outstanding creativity,” she told SN. “We are delighted that, after 13 years, we're still pulling in people who have nerves of steel and frosting in their blood.”
Christison explained that IDDBA uses a “blind review” to choose three finalists. Officials look at all of the entrants' portfolios of photos — without knowing the identity of the decorator or his or her employer — and choose finalists based on the quality of the decorating.
“We've always wondered what would happen if we picked two contestants from the same store, but so far, that's never happened,” Christison said.