When it comes to mastering the art of baking, many people believe their grandparent, parent, or significant other is the best.
To help settle the claims, one local business owner is giving area home bakers the chance to showcase their talents in the inaugural Fresh Start Baking Championship to be held in February.
At stake is the title of “Best Baker 2018” and a prize pack featuring a KitchenAid mixer, a USA Pan bakeware set, a spot on the Fresh Start annual Best Baker photo wall, a trophy, free entrance into the 2019 contest to defend the crown, etc.
Todd Daughenbaugh, owner of Fresh Start Cafe and Bakery at 24 N. Sandusky St. in downtown Delaware, said he came up with the idea to host the baking contest in hopes of starting an annual tradition that recognizes what he feels has become the lost art of home baking.
“Since we have opened, we have had the opportunity to meet and talk to many individuals that have a passion for baking and an understanding of the skill necessary to provide made-from-scratch products,” Daughenbaugh said. “As a made-from-scratch bakery, it only made sense to provide a platform for these individuals to showcase their talent and to bring attention to a skill that is no longer as prevalent as it once was.”
Open to any home baker not currently employed as a professional baker or professional baking instructor, the contest will require each contestant to showcase their all-around baking skills by participating in three categories: pastry and dessert (croissant, cake, pie, brownies, cookies, etc.); chocolate, candy, and confections (brittle, fudge, bonbons/truffles, custard/pudding, etc.); and breads and doughs (cinnamon rolls, biscuits, doughnuts, etc.).
On separate Sundays throughout the month (Feb. 11, 18, and 25), contestants must present a baked good for that particular category being judged that day at Fresh Start Cafe and Bakery.
Since the establishment doesn’t have the room to allow multiple bakers to work simultaneously, nor the equipment or ingredients necessary for such a competition, participants will need to prepare their entries at an off-site facility.
“The Fresh Start kitchen/bakery space will be made available for last minute preparation/assembly needs (prior to judging),” Daughenbaugh said. “Refrigerator and freezer storage space is limited and can be used if available.”
Each entry into the three categories being used to determine the overall winner of the baking championship will be judged on presentation, taste/flavor, originality/creativity, and technique/complexity. The contestant with the highest combined average score in all three categories will be named “Best Baker 2018.”
Daughenbaugh said there will be three judges for each category, and the judges will be a mix of members of the Fresh Start baking team and industry experts.
There is a $75 fee to enter the Fresh Start Baking Championship, and the deadline to register in person at Fresh Start Cafe and Bakery is 5 p.m. on Feb. 6.
In order for the competition to take place, there must be a minimum of 15 participants, but no more than 25 will be allowed to register, Daughenbaugh said.
For additional information on the contest, email FreshStartCafeAndBakery@gmail.com.
Contact Joshua Keeran at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @KeeranGazette.