ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — For the first time, two supermarket cake decorators participated in the Retail Bakers of America decorating competition here and one of them walked off with top honors.
Sunnie Guraedy, decorator and bakery manager at Miracle Mart, Minot, N.D., part of a nine-store independent chain based in Bemidji, Minn., received silver medals in three of five categories and accumulated enough points in the other two categories to qualify as Pillsbury 2006 Grand Champion. She was awarded a crystal trophy and will receive $2,200. Her bakery will receive $1,100, and her RBA affiliate organization will receive $550.
The decorating competition took place at the American Bakery Expo, co-sponsored by McLean, Va.-based RBA and New York and New Jersey bakery industry organizations.
Guraedy was one of 14 decorators from around the country who competed in the event.
“The caliber of this year's contestants was extremely well-matched, and Sunnie Guraedy's overall competence put her in the grand champion position,” said RBA Executive Vice President Susan Nicolais, commenting on the participants' expertise.
Competing in the RBA event was a particularly rewarding experience, Guraedy said.
“Certainly it was exciting to be competing at the national level, but also I learned so much while I was there. It was very good for me to watch how the other decorators worked, to see what they can do, and how they do it,” Guraedy said.
She showed particular enthusiasm about the cash prize that will go directly to the Miracle Mart in-store bakery she manages.
“That is so great,” she said. “I can think of so many things we can use in the bakery.”
Adding equipment and decorating tools will be particularly timely because the particular Miracle Mart store is currently remodeling its ISB, and the re-do is expected to be completed this month.
“I'm really excited about that,” Guraedy said. “We'll have more room and a better layout. The production area is open.”
Guraedy earned her entry into RBA's national competition by taking top honors regionally last winter in Rochester, Minn., at a decorating competition sponsored by RBA affiliate Upper Midwest Bakery Association.
In a separate part of the RBA competition — wedding cakes — three contenders from 26-unit Foodarama's central bakery in Freehold, N.J., took second place in these sub-categories: rolled fondant, rolled fondant on a miniature wedding cake, and soft icing. The Foodarama baker-decorators — Angela Penna, Mike Miles and Michael Torchia — were awarded a silver medal and each will receive $400. Their bakery will receive $200 for each of the winners, and their RBA affiliate organization will receive $100 for each of the decorators. Pamala Ciancia and Barbara Judge-Gilchrist, from Foodarama, also competed in the event. Foodarama Stores, part of the ShopRite cooperative, are supplied by Wakefern, Elizabeth, N.J.