Showing posts with label contests. Show all posts
Showing posts with label contests. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My Mom and I Are Entering the 2nd Annual KCRW Good Food Pie Contest!

Well, we've gone and done it. We've signed up AGAIN for the KCRW Good Food Pie Contest. We, as in my mom and me! The contest is this Sunday, September 5, at the Taste of Beverly Hills event from 4-6pm. You might recall that this mother-daughter team entered and won the Cream Pies category last year. Woohoo! Well, we're back, and we're changing things up a bit. I don't want to jinx anything so I won't discuss our pie. But I will say, we are not competing in the Cream Pies category this time! We are so excited! My mom is flying down from the Bay Area for the weekend!

Several weeks ago, when my mom and I were flirting with the idea of entering again, we discussed flavor combinations we love. It's funny how the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. We both immediately knew the general direction of the pie, and which two ingredients had to be present. Then we set to building the pie, layer by layer.

We tested fillings, crusts, toppings, and more, adjusting the quantity of sugar or butter or xxx (wouldn't want to give away the recipe!), until we found what we believe to be an exceptional pie! It's taken a lot of time, thought, and expensive ingredients, but it's one of those fun things worth putting resources toward - and come on, doing it as a mother-daughter project makes it a no-brainer. Plus, it's delicious! So regardless of how we do this Sunday at the contest (um, there are more than 200 pies entered!!!), we are quite pleased with how our pie turned out and have already had a lot of fun preparing.

Oh, and there's going to be an apron fashion show at the pie contest. So I am planning on wearing the adorable bright, ruffly apron my very talented and crafty friend Crystal sewed for me in between the long hours she spends researching biomedical engineering orthopedic something-or-other for her Ph.D. Yes, she's a renaissance woman!

With Crystal on the night she gave me the apron!

Anyways, wish us luck this Sunday! And if you're in LA, think about coming out to cheer us on, say hello, and meet lots of fellow foodies. It's very fun and you get to taste the pie entries after the judging is over! Free pie? Yes siree!

Details about parking, schedule, etc... are on the official pie contest page.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Winners Announced for the 2009 L.A. Cupcake Challenge

The baker behind Sugar Jones holding up her Award-Winning Blackberries and Cream Cupcake.

Let's put a stop to the anticipation. In case you've been checking back to see who won the 2009 L.A. Cupcake Challenge on Sunday, the results are finally in. There were two categories - Traditional (you know, your red velvets, chocolates, vanillas, etc...) and Original (the more exotic, creative, unexpected flavors). An Overall Winner was also selected.

So without further ado...

Best Traditional
1st: Susie Cakes: Red Velvet
2nd: Two Parts Sugar: Raspberry Red Velvet
3rd: Blue Cupcake: Chocolate

Best Original
1st: Polkatots: Dulce De Leche
2nd: Sugar Jones: Blackberries and Cream
3rd: Southern Girl: Sweet Potato Pie

Best Overall
1st: Polkatots: Dulce De Leche
2nd: Sugar Jones: Blackberries and Cream
3rd: Sugar Jones: Casanova's Kiss

As you can see, Sugar Jones impressively won 2nd place for her original Blackberries and Cream cupcake, and then took home 2nd and 3rd place overall! I'm very excited to see Blue Cupcake made it to 3rd place in Best Traditional because I thought the quality of her cupcake to be outstanding and I was hoping the rest of the voters felt the same way. Polkatots's Dulce De Leche was certainly the talk of the room on Sunday; so many people came up to me and asked if I had tried that one yet because it was going to be a surefire winner. Those are some smart tasters, predicting the future like that! Southern Girl's Sweet Potato Pie was another I enjoyed, and there was nothing at all similar to it of the dozens of cupcake flavors submitted to the Challenge.

Southern Girl's Award-Winning Sweet Potato Pie

I am sad not to see a couple of my personal favorites on these winner lists, such as the Pineapple-Upside-Down cupcake from Susie Cakes or Buttercake Bakery's Chocolate, but I'm also not shocked and appalled by any of the winners, and I admit there were definitely a few cupcakes entered on Sunday that did not do anything for me and frankly, would have offended me and my taste buds if they had won.

Blue Cupcake's Award-Winning Chocolate

Congratulations to all the winners! Heck, congratulations to all who entered at all. I can't even imagine making HUNDREDS of identical cupcakes, keeping both flavor and presentation consistent, then lugging them in a vehicle to the event, setting up a display, and maintaining a smile as people (including myself) piggied their way from booth to booth. A lot was asked of you bakers, and I don't take any of it for granted!

So when is the 2010 L.A. Cupcake Challenge? :-)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

LA Cupcake Challenge: And the Winner Is...

Leyna's Kitchen strawberry cupcake wins Best Overall

With all this talk of the LA Cupcake Challenge, I think it's high time we announce some winners!

For more information on the event, including photos of the cupcakes, read my review. Here in this post, I'll just be givin' you the names...

Best Traditional
1st place: Red Velvet from Vanilla Bake Shop [judges' choice]
2nd place: Red Velvet from Yummy Cupcakes
3rd place: Red Velvet from Hotcakes Bakes [public's choice]

Best Original
1st place: "Paradise" from Sugar Jones [judges' choice]
2nd place: Peanut Butter and Jelly from The Oinkster
3rd place: "Blood Orange Fudge" from Essential Chocolate Desserts
Note: public's choice was "Strawberrilicious" from Leyna's Kitchen

Best Overall
1st place: "Strawberrilicious" from Leyna's Kitchen [public's choice]
2nd place: "Paradise" from Sugar Jones [judges' choice]
3rd place: Peanut Butter and Jelly from The Oinkster

Now, I don't know how the calculations were made and what weight was given to the judges' votes vs. the public's so I couldn't tell you anything about these honorable titles. In any case, congrats to Leyna on having the best overall. Her strawberry cupcake really was superb in flavor, aesthetics, and crumb.

Sure Enough, I'm in LA Weekly

As I mentioned in my recap of the LA Cupcake Challenge I attended on Sunday, I was approached by three media outlets because of my shirt: ABC 7, Food Network, and LA Weekly. Well, one of the three has already materialized. I'm in LA Weekly! Here's the famous photo...

Photo by Mark Mauer of LA Weekly

Monday, May 19, 2008

I Attended the L.A. Cupcake Challenge

Wayyyy back in mid April, I wrote a post announcing the L.A. Cupcake Challenge happening in May. Well, that eventful day arrived yesterday, and I was there to see how it all went down.

First, let me say, I loved it. I took a girlfriend and we waited almost no time in line on the Hollywood Blvd. sidewalk outside the Montmartre Lounge to have our names crossed off the list. We climbed the red carpeted stairs to the event, picked up an empty wine glass and a voting sheet, and began the tour de force of cupcake tastings.

Now let me admit, I could have planned better. There were two bakeries stationed at the entrance, then some white leather sofas for lounging, and then a giant room full of booth after booth of cupcake bakeries, displaying their concoctions and handing out mini-versions. I had no idea just how many samples I'd end up eating. So for the first couple of mini-cupcakes, I ate the entire things. I shouldn't have. As the afternoon rolled on, I too felt I would soon be rolling on... I ended up needing to cut back and take single bites of sample cupcakes in order to try as many as possible.

On a side note, as you can see above, I wore my cupcake tee for the occasion. The shirt says Make Cupcakes Not War. And because of that silly shirt, I was approached by three media outlets: LA Weekly, ABC 7, and the Food Network. In the pic below, I'm being interviewed for the Food Network. They made me promise to enter my own cupcakes in next year's L.A. Cupcake Challenge. What did I just get myself into!?

Returning your attention to cupcakes (and away from t-shirts), many of the cupcake flavors were traditional, such as red velvet, chocolate, and vanilla, though there were variations among even those. For example, one red velvet had sugar crystals, another was strictly vegan. Many of the cupcakes were creative, in both presentation, and flavor combinations. I was really pleased with the variety. Here are just a few of the cupcakes I sampled yesterday.

Mandarin orange cupcake with pistachio frosting from Sugar Jones

Chocolate cupcakes with a beer-caramel sauce from Lucky Devils

Lemon cupcakes from BabyCakes Baking Company

Root beer float cupcake complete with straw (so cool!) from Yummy Cupcakes

Peanut butter and jelly cupcake from The Oinkster

Red velvet, Elvis, and another I can't remember from Violet's Cakes

Strawberry cupcake from Leyna's Baby Cakes

Red velvet cupcakes from Hotcakes Bakes

Just some of the remaining scraps

I went home satiated, sick, vowing never to eat another cupcake in my life, and unable to do anything but lie sprawled out on my couch and watch my latest recorded Ugly Betty episode. But I have to tell you, despite all the queasiness post-event, the experience of being in a room filled with bakery booths - and all the sensory and mental happiness that comes with that - was one of the most amazing food experiences I've had.

Oh, and a couple hours after the event, I managed to eat an apple and a small cucumber. Still waiting for my sweet tooth to grow back...

Note: The winners of the L.A. Cupcake Challenge were not announced at the event so that attendees would have the full three hours to cast their vote. Check back later to find out who won!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Top Chef Casting Call

Here ye here ye. Top Chef, the popular reality cooking competition on Bravo, is coming to Los Angeles for casting calls! Want to be on Season 5? You have one week to prepare your shtick. Bravo's website says they're looking for both "self-taught cooks and those who have trained at top culinary schools."

Also be sure to submit a video of yourself. Download the application. You might want to get started on that, like, today. There is a laundry list of things to include in the video.

But how cool would it be to make it to one of the biggest shows on television and cook your way to the top. As far as reality shows go, this is a real winner. The journey to the finish line is just as good as the prize. Along the way, you're meeting famous chefs and foodies and getting to use state-of-the-art kitchen equipment - or is that only my dream? And that prize...oooh la la. The prize for Season 4, which is already underway, is $100,000 in seed money to use toward opening your own restaurant. I couldn't say for sure if Season 5's prize is the same. My question is, does a bakery count as a "restaurant"? Cuz Marni Bakery would be the business I open. I've already started on the cake boxes...

Fast Facts
What: Top Chef Casting Call
When: Monday, May 26th, 2008 from 10am to 2pm
Where: Cicada Restaurant, 617 S. Olive Street in Downtown Los Angeles

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Win an Ice Cream Neighborhood Block Party

I'm slow to learn of this contest, but it's not too late! It started March 11, but you still have till May 30 at midnight Eastern Time to enter. Dreyer's is holding the Dreyer's Slow Churned Neighborhood Salute. I love this idea. You write up a short essay (350 words or less) explaining why your neighborhood deserves an ice cream block party, and then cross your fingers that your dreams come true and you are selected!

If you think this already sounds good, it's about to get better. Get this: Dreyer's is selecting 1,500 (you heard me right, that's a LOT of winners) essays for the grand prize.

And about that grand prize...
You'll get 12 cartons of Dreyer's Slow Churned light ice cream delivered to your doorstep, 4 boxes of Dreyer's Slow Churned light ice cream bars, and a party-in-a-box, including ice cream scoops, napkins, spoons, nametags, disposable camera, etc...). Dreyer's says that's enough for about 100 normal people, but they haven't considered that it would only feed about 10 ice-cream-aholics who don't mind a tummy ache.

The judging rubric is as follows:
Originality/Creativity - 50%
Enthusiasm - 25%
What makes your neighborhood special - 25%

I'd better get going on my essay. I need to come up with an amazing hook, that first line that ensures I'm one of the lucky 1,500...

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