Andres Encisco and Banny Ayarza of Awesome Edible Art in Tampa, Florida, were named the Grand Champions in the 18th Annual Pillsbury™ Bakers’ Plus™ Grand Champion Creative Decorating Competition, one of the baking industry’s most prestigious competitions for professional bakers. This year’s finale, which featured six two–person teams, was held September 8-9 during the International Baking Industry Expo (IBIE) in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The annual cake decorating contest, hosted by General Mills Foodservice and the Retail Bakers of America (RBA), calls on professional cake decorators and pastry chefs to showcase their creativity, imagination, artistry and skills in three categories: wedding cake, rolled fondant cake and sculpted cake. The 2019 finalists were chosen to compete by either winning a regional competition or via portfolio submission.
It is such an honor to be part of a contest that showcases the creativity of these bakeries that mean so much to their communities for the role they play in peoples’ special life moments and family celebrations,” said Chip Levers, RBA board member and sales manager from General Mills Foodservice, which supplies Pillsbury™ Bakers’ Plus™ Cake Mix along with a variety of other baking mixes, flour and dough to bakeries nationwide. “General Mills is proud to support independent bakeries turn out high quality, great tasting bakery items with products and ingredients that help provide the foundation for the bakery’s creativity.
Encisco and Ayarza competed among six two-person teams, representing the nation’s top professional cake decorators and pastry chefs, creating cakes in four categories: wedding cake, rolled fondant cake, buttercream and sculpted cake. The duo won first place in two of the categories (fondant and wedding) and second place in the sculpted category before going on to take the top honors. As the Grand Champion Winner, they received a $3,000 Grand Prize and the coveted Grand Champion trophy.
The other 18th Annual Pillsbury Bakers’ Plus Grand Champion Creative Decorating Competition winners include:
- The Second Place Winners, receiving $2,000, are Robbyn Yuen and Ashley Spitzer from Creative Cakes Bakery in Tinley Park, Illinois.
- The Third Place Winners, receiving $1,000, are Robyn Hanish and Wanda Munoz-Jovet of Hanisch Coffee Shop in Red Wing, Minnesota.
To see a complete list of the winners in each category, please visit www.retailbakersofamerica.org.
The Pillsbury Bakers’ Plus Grand Champion Creative Decorating Competition was open to all professional cake decorators or pastry chefs who are currently working full or part time in a cake/cupcake shop, retail or supermarket bakery and have at least two years of decorating experience. Contestants were selected in the months leading up to IBIE in one of two ways: Decorators competed in a local, state or regional RBA sponsored contest; or if no contest was available in their area, decorators submitted a portfolio for consideration online.
See photos and results here.