Grand prize winners named in raisin bread contest

by Eric Schroeder
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FRESNO, CALIF. — Mitch Stamm of Johnson & Wales University, Shawn Kearns of Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, and Angela Dodd of Cargill (Integrated Bakery Resources) were the grand prize winners in the artisan, commercial baking and breakfast categories, respectively, as part of the third annual America’s Best Raisin Bread Contest sponsored by the California Raisin Marketing Board on Oct. 14-16 at AIB International in Manhattan, Kas.

The contest featured a “bake-off” between 38 finalists, made up of both professional and student bakers from across the United States in the artisan, commercial and breakfast categories.

In the artisan category, Mr. Stamm won for his Courrone Aux raisin bread. Last year Mr. Stamm won the Judges prize for his California Gold Rush bread. This year’s Judges prize went to Kevin Knight of Anjou Bakery for his Deep Dark Delicious bread. The Ideas prize winner in the artisan category was Ray McCue of Johnson & Wales University, who submitted a California raisin focaccia with goat cheese and carmelized onions.

In the commercial category, Mr. Kearns won for his Split Top Buttermilk raisin bread. The Judges prize went to Steve Barnhart of Highland Baking Co. for his Chocolate Gold raisin bread, while the Ideas prize was awarded to Lin Carson of Wendy’s New Bakery Co. for Raisin “Stuffin” Mini Buns.

In the newly added Breakfast category, Ms. Dodd of Cargill won for her raisin pecan caramel rolls. The Judges prize went to Mike Dixon of Dawn Food Products for his Golden Raisin Walnut Flip, and the Idea prize went to Mary Vande Walle of Uncle Mike’s Bake Shoppe for her caramel apple stuffed french toast.

“This year’s formulas exceeded our expectations by featuring diverse California Raisin-inspired breads and bakery products — from savory raisin focaccia bread with goat cheese and carmelized onions, to sweet raisin pecan caramel rolls,” said Larry Blagg, senior vice-president of marketing for the California Raisin Marketing Board. “The quality and variety of contest entries once again prove that California raisins are truly one of nature’s best and most versatile baking ingredients.”

The 38 finalists were chosen from a total of 85 initial entries submitted by professional and student bakers across the United States. Of the 38 finalists, a total of 13 winners were chosen to participate in an all-expense paid visit to California to experience the growing areas and production of California raisins, and enjoy California cuisine and wines at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena.

For the full list of the competition finalists visit www.LoveYourRaisins.com

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