MADISON, Wis. -- The International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association here has selected three top cake decorators to compete against each other at its Dairy-Deli-Bake '99 seminar and expo this year in New Orleans.
The supermarket associates chosen this year to compete in IDDBA's fourth annual Cake Decorating Challenge are Amy Baggen, Bigg's SuperValu, Cincinnati; Madeline Fiol, Publix Super Markets, Lakeland, Fla.; and Maria Fuhlbrigge, Brookshire Grocery, Tyler, Texas.
Chosen from more than 50 entrants from supermarket companies across the United States, the three decorators will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to compete in New Orleans at the IDDBA event, June 6 through 8.
"Our cake decorating contest is really becoming a major event. So much so that we're seeing retailers use it as an internal promotion to create interest and sell cakes. For example, Publix ran division contests and had 14 winning decorators," said Carol Christison, executive director of IDDBA.
The first phase of the contest involved entrants' submitting color photos of their work to IDDBA. Via the photographs, the contestants were judged on attention to detail, neatness, creativity, and their breadth of skills, according to IDDBA.
"It's important that they can do a variety of styles, from wedding cakes to cupcakes to production-line techniques. And they need to be able to work with different types of icings," Christison said in an earlier interview.
"But the biggest problem we have now is limiting our selection to just three contestants that will compete at the show," Christison told SN this month.
"Many of chains, after holding their own contests, enter only their winners in our competition. So the entries we receive are, for the most part, the best of the best," an IDDBA spokeswoman explained.
The first part of the Challenge in New Orleans, beginning June 6, requires the contestants to decorate enough cakes to fill an 8-foot tiered display case and then set the case. The trio also will be required to decorate a wedding cake and a theme cake. Then, each decorates a "contestant's choice" cake.
Baggen and Fuhlbrigge have been perfecting their skills as cake decorators over the past 15 years. Fiol, who has been decorating cakes for seven years, specializes in working with fondant.
The decorators are set up at a table on the IDDBA show floor so they can interact with show attendees.
The first place winner at IDDBA's third annual Cake Decorating Challenge last year in Philadelphia was Diane Moore, of Publix. Second and third place went respectively to Vivian Freeman, Cherokee Sunfresh, Overland, Kan.; and Elizabeth McIntyre, Dierberg's, Maryland Heights, Mo.