When Chef Sandra Cohen alerted her Pastry Arts diploma students to a competition in the North Texas Cake Sugar Art Show hosted by the Sugar Wonders Cake Club, three students jumped at the chance to compete.
With more than 150 participants ranging from children to master cake decorators, Remington College – Dallas Campus Pastry Arts students Peggy Baker-Vance, Tammy Twyford-Cetrone, and Meera Kalathil Manghat had plenty of competition. But under the guidance of their instructors, Chef Todd Pagan and Chef Cohen, each student came up with an original pastry design to enter into the two-day competition.
Crafting Award-Winning Pastries for Experienced and Celebrated Judges
The competition was held at the Cascades Event Center in Lewisville, Texas, and judges came from a myriad of baking and pastry backgrounds. Two of the most notable judges included Michelle Bommarito and Edward Frys, both well-known in the pastry community due to their competition in the Food Network’s televised professional cake-baking and cake-decorating challenges. Each entry was judged on creativity, technical skill and accuracy, color combination, and degree of difficulty.
Easter Inspires an Entry in the Celebration Cake Category
Peggy Baker-Vance entered the “Celebration Cake” category with an Easter-themed creation featuring baby chicks hatched from pink eggs. The two-layered cake included green fondant icing, white daisies, and delicately carved leaves.
Peggy’s entry was inspired by a calendar image for the month of April, and she won first place in the student division of the “Celebration Cake” category.
The Distinction Is in the Details of a Carefully Sculpted Cake
Tammy Twyford-Cetrone entered the “Sculpted Cake” category with a cake designed to look like a lady’s vanity. Her entry was complete with faux drawers, lipstick, hairbrush and comb, jewelry box, and a bouquet of roses.
With an eye on detail, Tammy carefully crafted the folds of the vanity and stool’s skirt, and she used color to show the texture of the table top and drawers. It should come as no surprise that first place for the student division of the “Sculpted Cake” category went to Tammy.
Dallas Pastry Arts Student Proves Sugar Design Doesn’t Require a Cake
Meera Kalathil Manghat took an entirely different route and entered the “Special Techniques Not on a Cake” category with an “Under the Sea” scene created completely from sugar. Coral, small fish, seaweed, and shells were carefully presented in her design, which featured bright orange, yellow, and green coloring.
Meera’s careful creativity paid off, and she took home first place in the student division of the “Special Techniques Not on a Cake” category.
Reflecting on her students’ multiple wins, Chef Cohen said, “It thrills me to no end that my students were able to achieve such an accomplishment! They put a lot of hard work and time into each of their entries and deserved their first place awards! Their awards will stay with them as they continue to work toward pastry careers, and I am honored to have helped them place so high!”
For winning first place, each student received a medal and special recognition at the event. But Chef Cohen feels that her students also earned competitive experience beyond what is taught in their classes and that the constructive criticism from judges will help the students improve their skills as they prepare for their potential pastry chef careers.