San Diego Cake Show
By Aya Saravia
The weekend of March 18 through the 20th I had the distinct pleasure of attending and competing in the San Diego Cake Clubs’ 33rd Annual San Diego Cake Show. The event, also know as “Confections for a Cause,” in support of Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego boasted a spectacular theme of “Off to Neverland.” The beautiful Del Mar Fairgrounds Activity Center hosted about 110 competition pieces, a main stage offering demonstrations throughout the weekend, an array of vendors hosted booths and demonstrations of their latest innovations by Celebrity Chefs, and a plethora of mini and regular classes were held within the Sky Box offering students a breathtaking view of the world renowned racetrack.
The committee behind the Cake Show pulled out all of the stops and had more Celebrity Chefs in one place than I could imagine for this size of show. To name a few: Chefs Fernanda Abarca, Joshua John Russel, Peggy Tucker, Ruth Rickey, Avalon Yarnes, Timbo Sullivan, Liz Merek, Stevie Auble and Chef Charity. That’s one impressive line up, and yet that is not even the complete list!
In speaking with Louise Pass, the Show Chair Woman, around 1500 people attended the event. Despite the hall being of accurate size, the traffic to visit the vendors booths on Saturday was challenging, a solid testament to the shows success! Sunday, however, the crowds were not in mass and I was able to enjoy more time visiting with our distinguished guests and shopping through a sea of tools. Once again, to name a few vendors: Flexique, Sugar Gypsy, Marvelous Molds hosted by Bakers Bodega, Epicurean Delight, Confectionary Chalet, with the top vendors being In 2 Foods and Satin Ice. Ladies and Gentlemen, the shopping was on point!
As a competitor, the team of purple scrub clad volunteers really ensured each of our pieces were well managed. Though I felt the three step check in process was a bit tedious (and how can I not when I’m anxious to bring in my cake?) I respect that they are doing what’s necessary to ensure each cake is in the correct category, skill level and physical placement in the several rows of cake tables. On another positive note, I enjoyed the set up window being 5 hours long. This large of a window allowed me not to worry so much about traffic on a Friday afternoon in San Diego, or a long line of check ins at the door and then allowed each of us ample time to set up and complete our finishing touches. One improvement I would like to see in the future would be easier access to the back side of the table so I don’t have to crawl on the floor to make finishing touches.
There’s really never a good place to put a less than bright review of something so I’ll go a head and leave it here. We are all foodies in this industry and if we are making cakes for a living, it’s unlikely we are rolling in the dough. That being said, the one food option was a single concession stand that offered a small soda for $4.25 and a hot dog for I think it was $4.75. Since it was lunch time, my family and I split a soda and nachos for $12. Worse pricing than a movie theatre.
In brining up the family, this is a family event! Not only were there junior competitors who did some amazing work, there was a cupcake decorating station where the proceeds were donated to Ronald McDonald house and children were able to attend the classes offered through out the event.
Honestly, this was my first time attending the Show and I must say they put together a killer selection of vendors, Celebrity Chefs and classes. There were simply too many things to try and go over in this already too long of a review. What it comes down to, it was a great show and I hope you will join us next year! I intend to take the weekend off next year so I can partake in much, much more! So, save your pennies and start planning. Between cake classes, cake shopping and easy access to the beach, what more could you ask for?
And last, but certainly not least, a sincere and heartfelt thank you to the Committee, Volunteers, Vendors and Chefs who took the time to attend, teach us something new and judge our pieces. Thank you.