MADISON, Wis. -- The International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association has chosen three top cake decorators from supermarkets across the country to compete against each other at its Dairy-Deli-Bake 2004 seminar and expo in Washington.
The finalists chosen to participate in the ninth annual Cake Decorating Challenge at the June 6 to 8 event are: Anna Romanidi, Marsh Supermarkets, Indianapolis; Claudia Amerine, Fry's Marketplace, Glendale, Ariz.; and M. Susan Ancell, Albertsons, Boise, Idaho.
The competition will involve three days of non-stop decorating. Each contestant must decorate a three-tiered wedding cake, as well as enough cakes to fill an eight-foot, three-tiered display case. The finalists also must merchandise the display case with the cakes they've finished. Then, on the last day, they must decorate a special occasion cake, a theme/event cake and a decorator's choice cake. The at-show challenge involves multiple skills, and each year it gets more difficult to choose finalists for the competition because the caliber of entrants' work is so high, IDDBA officials told SN.
Romanidi, with 20 years of experience, is a graduate of a culinary institute in Uzbekistan. After coming to the United States, she began her career with Marsh Supermarkets as a French pastry chef. Amerine, with Fry's for 26 years, has been a cake decorator for 23 years. Ancell, too, has been decorating cakes for 20 years.
Each year in February, when it opens the Cake Decorating Challenge to entrants, IDDBA urges cake decorators from supermarket in-store bakeries nationwide to submit portfolios of their work for blind judging. Entrants are asked to submit lots of photographs, showing a large number of their cakes from different angles.
"The cake decorators who took the time to select a lot of photographs made the process much easier. For example, they would give us a wide-angle shot, a close-up, and an extreme close-up showing fine detail. It was obvious, too, this year that many of the decorators are also crafters. They took a lot of time putting together scrapbook-style presentations to really set off their cakes," said Carol Christison, IDDBA's executive director.
"This year's judging was extremely difficult because, for the most part, the entries showed similar skill levels," she added.
The winner of the on-site IDDBA Cake Decorating Challenge at IDDBA's Dairy-Deli-Bake 2003 in Las Vegas was Michelle DeMicco, representing Publix Super Markets, Lakeland, Fla. Second place last year went to Kim Deskin, Rosauers Supermarkets, Spokane, Wash., and third place went to Jana Jo Blue, Dorothy Lane Market, Dayton, Ohio.