Overcoming the Fear of Competition

With Cake Shows blooming across the world, the interest of competing becomes more and more frightening for most. This fear among those in the community is the downfall of many cake shows globally. Without a thriving competition, most shows can’t bear the expenses of hosting. This is not a guilt trip, I promise.

So this brings me to my point, why you shouldn’t be scared. Most fears are things of danger, the more common fears at least; there is absolutely nothing dangerous about entering a cake in a competition.

Caking Abroad By Jarid Altmark

Can you think of the cake you have always wanted to make? The one that keeps you up at night because you just have so many ideas for it and the excitement is overtaking your train of thought. That is what a competition cake should be. A cake you are proud of. A cake you stand behind.

Photo Courtesy of Stringer Photography

If you are like me, your ideas may need some guidance. I happen to be a very indecisive person, and that and painstakingly creative don’t go hand in hand. This is why the majority of shows have themes for your entries. Don’t look at a theme as a limitation, think of it as a jumping off point. Your interpretations can be literal or vague, the only boundaries are your imagination.

The most common reason for the phobia of competing is having your work judged. Ironically, that is the reason I compete. The word judge has several negative connotations, but let’s shed light on the positive ones in the realm of cake competitions.

I started making cakes for family and friends, before clients, and their compliments mean the world to me. “Critique” from those less educated in the world of cake wasn’t good enough for me. I even named my business after the, most common, general consensus of my work. I wanted an expert in the industry to judge my work for things that could be improved or adjusted, that I would never notice. I crave criticism, it is the only way I can improve my work and grow as not only an artist but as a person.

Judges are slaved over competition entries for an entire day, doing their absolute best for each entry like it was their first. They aren’t there to “judge” you and your work, they are there to help you improve your work and by their general consensus, they coincidentally rank all the entries in one category, a very difficult task.  Judges leave comments on your score sheet, make sure you read them, embrace them, and apply them next time. Also, every judge I have ever met has said the same thing, they are all so honored and excited to have competitors talk about their piece one on one. I have done this with every single one of my judges and some judges who didn’t even judge my cake, and I have learned so much from those 1 on  1 conversations.

Saying take the risk would contradict everything I’ve said previously, so believe in yourself and your abilities, and never fear a little competition.

Jarid x

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