ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - For the first time, two supermarket bakery decorators were scheduled to compete in the Retail Bakers of America national competition here Oct. 21-22.
An annual event, the decorating contest was to be held at the American Bakery Expo, co-sponsored by Retail Bakers of America, New York State Association of Bakers and New Jersey Manufacturing Retail Bakers Board of Trade.
The supermarket contenders were :
Sunnie Guraedy, decorator and bakery manager at Miracle Mart, Minot, N.D., a unit of a Bemidji, Minn.-based independent with nine stores operating under the banners of Miracle Mart and Marketplace Food and Drug.
Barbara Judge-Gilchrist, baker and decorator, at 26-unit Foodarama's central bakery in Freehold, N.J. Foodarama stores, part of the ShopRite cooperative, are supplied by Wakefern, Elizabeth, N.J.
Supermarket bakery decorators have never been excluded from the event, but this was the first time in the six years of RBA's Creative Cake Decorating Competition that decorators from food stores have participated, officials said.
"I think this speaks to the excellent quality of the work of in-store decorators," said Bill Mihu, RBA president, and the vice president of bakery operations for Schnuck Markets, St. Louis. "Supermarkets are realizing how important, good trained cake decorators are to their businesses. That's key here."
The supermarket decorators were to compete against 12 other entrants, all from stand-alone bakeries.
Decorators are generally chosen by local RBA affiliates who hold their own regional decorating contests. Guraedy was chosen by RBA affiliate Upper Midwest Bakers Association at its meeting last winter in Rochester, Minn. She won top honors there for a sculpted cake that depicted a colorful pirate ship that had run aground.
Judge-Gilchrist was recommended, based on her range of skills, by RBA-member Foodarama's former corporate pastry chef Vincent Tursi.
RBA's sixth annual decorating competition, sponsored by General Mills Bakeries & Foodservice, brings together decorators from around the country to compete for the title of Pillsbury Grand Champion.
The two-day event requires decorators to demonstrate skill and creativity in five different categories: wedding cake, rolled fondant, custom-design cake, flowers and sprays with borders, and a sculpted cake. Entrants compete in front of an audience. Winners in the five categories were eligible for cash prizes as well as crystal trophies and medals.
In addition, the American Bakery Expo featured a lineup of educational seminars, covering topics such as sanitation and theft prevention, as well as demonstrations on new decorating and baking techniques.
This was the second year RBA joined forces with the New York and New Jersey organizations for a combined show. Officials expected more than 4,000 people to attend.