I'm sure some of you out there have been in a cake competition or two. I was considering entering into one and while I've done one here locally which was really very small and only involved about 4 other competitors. It was put on by a radio station.
At any rate, I've really been wanting for a long time to try my hand at a real cake competition at a cake show in another state and wanted to know if anyone out there has words of wisdom. I don't want to humiliate myself but am interested in knowing what the experience is like. I'm sure it's brutal and I seem to thrive on stress. Any pointers???
Ive done MANY local competitions in my day, some in other state...but none on the scale of the OSAS! I've had people say I should try it once, but like you, I'm too chicken! Most of the shows I competed in had anywhere from 80-150 cakes.
I remember my first competition as a Beginner- I was petrified! I had heard such horror stories about picky judging, so when I did my square cake design, I made sure that I counted the shells in my borders so that each side had the exact same amount! Well, it turned out that I blew the competition away and was pushed up to the next skill level for the next show.
I loved going to shows-seeing all the creative designs and learning new techniques, testing my own skills and pushing myself to new levels, but mostly I loved being with my "cake friends".
I entered for the first time ever this year and I started with OSSAS! I couldn't believe I was entering and I made, not some pretty cake, but a big ole honkin' ELEPHANT! Yep, an elephant that stood around 30" tall! There was one other elephant cake and yep, it was right next to mine in the same category and division. But, I won third place and I was thrilled because I definitely had some issue and problems with it. I had been to a couple of other shows but I felt much more a part of it by entering and yes, I'm already planning for next year. I'll also go to Sugar Wonders in McKinney and my DH has asked what I'm entering. I say GO FOR IT!! The elephant is in my photos and I also entered the little black and white cake that was not what I intended but I ran out of time.
This a list I found a few week ago. It is pretty helpful.
I entered OSSAS this year, placed 3rd, and I have never had so much fun in my life.
Couple of my cake friends went for the first time last year, I think it was. The one won 3rd with her tiered cake...and she was one of my major competitors, so maybe if she can do it, so can I!
My major drawback to entering the OSSAS is my lack of talent when it comes to gumpaste flowers! It seems like such a must-have skill these days, but my skill level comes to a screetching halt when it comes to gp flowers! I've taken classes and can do OK, but my issue with my hands right now just prevents me from even trying very hard.
I love watching it on TV-I can see some of my cake friends there.
Well, for now I do judging for local shows. That's fun too. I'm doing a show next weekend with my cake friend, Kim Morrison! (2x OSSAS winner and judge)Fun, Fun!
I've been wanting to do a competition too!!...or at least go to some kind of cake show. Unfortunately there is not much on the northeast coast.
I used to go to a show put on by the Connecticut Icing Artists...wonder if they still do a show-or if the CT ICES group does one? It may be worth looking into!
I say go for it! Go for it! Go for it! Cake shows are so much fun! I've entered for 3 yrs now and like everyone else, the first time is scary to say the least. You have no idea what you're up against, think you're "not good enough" and certainly don't want to embarrass yourself. BUT....you ARE good enough and it's a blast! There are different skill levels so it's not like you're up against a pro if you're a beginner. And most competitions base the judging on a point system anyway. So you're not actually competing against anyone else.
Everyone is scared of the judges because they think they'll be so critical like you see on the Food Network Challenges. It's not like that at all. ( well, maybe for best of the best at the Oklahoma Show it is) They know most the decorators are not at that master skill level and judge accordingly. And they leave comments on what you can improve on too, which is very helpful. Granted, it's all subjective but a good judge takes into account what you did right, not what you did wrong.
Here in Arizona, our next show is coming up in February 2009. EVERYONE is welcome to enter so if you're up for travel to the Southwest, come on over!!
The thing I think people forget is that it's not all about winning. OF COURSE we all want to win. But to me it's about being a part of the cake world, seeing what other decorators do and seeing how I can push myself to go above and beyond my comfort level to improve. I loved meeting and talking to so many fellow decorators at our shows. I felt like a kid in a candy store. Plus there are demos all day, vendors and the awards ceremony.
I highly encourage anyone to give it a try. It's not like you fail if you don't win. It's the experience of it all.
I did my first one this past summer. I was so scared but it turned out really good. I got 2nd place.
My only pointer that I have is practice before hand and make sure you have a timeline well thought out. If I did not have that to stick to, I probably would not have finished. Be realistic wtih your time also!!!