With presidential speakers, celebrity chefs and thousands of attendees, there’s a reason the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association’s (IDDBA) seminar and expo is known as the “show of shows.” This year’s event, which runs June 6-8, promises to live up to its reputation, and, as befits a show known for its size, will be hosted in Houston, the largest city in Texas.
Carol Christison, IDDBA executive director, is excited about the events planned for this year’s show.
“When I look at the roster of speakers, it’s hard to tell who will be the biggest draws,” she says. “However, I’m betting that both President Bush and Rachael Ray will set new attendance records.”
Other speakers guaranteed an eager audience are former NFL player and coach Mike Ditka, economist and comedian Ben Stein, food humorist John Pinette and Stephen Dubner, co-author of the New York Times bestseller SuperFreakonomics.
Katie Martin, chief editor of Modern Baking, will be on the Cake Decorating Challenge beat for the duration of the show, and will post live updates and images of the contestants creations on this blog, so be sure to tune in–or more appropriately, log in.
This year marks the 15th anniversary of the event, which showcases the best in-store cake decorators in the nation. The entrants for this year’s contest represent 32 supermarket chains and were whittled down from 75 to three: Tina Lofthus, Town & Country Market, Bainbridge Island, Wa.; Sara Vanderheyden, Hy-Vee Inc., Ames, Iowa; and Rebecca Woodard, Harp’s Food Stores Inc., Springdale, Ark. The challenge begins Sunday, June 6, with contestants designing enough cakes to fill a multi-tiered, 8-foot bakery case. On Monday, the decorators will create a wedding cake, and on Tuesday they will have free rein with a “Decorator’s Choice” event. The results will be announced Tuesday evening at the awards banquet. This is the second consecutive year the Ames, Iowa, Hy-Vee store has produced an IDDBA Cake Decorating Challenge finalist. Anne Freeman took second place at last year’s expo in Atlanta.
The heart of the expo will be the 10,000-square-foot Show & Sell Center. Created by retailers for retailers, the model store will offer a host of fresh, innovative merchandising ideas and displays for attendees to explore. Trends that will be showcased include the frugal shopper — how to address different consumer perceptions of value; back to basics — the demand for simple, quality products; street food–on-the-go eating; and “in the moment” — the rise of experiential eating. Bakery-related concepts include indulgent necessities — decadent must-haves, from the sweet and simple to the over-the-top; and “dough for it” — innovative ways to display the usual breads and rolls. Attendees can sign up to receive a CD of photos documenting all the merchandising highlights.
A full schedule of events is available on the IDDBA website.