The contest featured a “bake-off” between 36 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, Ms. Reed and Ms. Kay won for their Raisin2 Pizza Crust. The Judges prize went to Philippe Sanchez of Marriott International in Orlando, Fla., for his Fleur de Raisin. The Ideas prize winner in the artisan category was Siddharth Mangalore of Kendall College in Chicago, who submitted a curried whole wheat raisin boule.
In the commercial category, Ms. Adams won for her cinnamon swirl raisin bread. The Judges prize went to Suzanne Tatis of the Art Institute of Las Vegas, for her Lucky Golden, while the Ideas prize was awarded to Molly Burke of Cargill, for her spicy raisin gingerbread.
In the Breakfast category, Mr. Saintemarie won for his raisins Florentine danishes. The Judges prize went to Joe Falcinelli of Bennison’s Bakery, for his raisin kovigor-amann, and the Idea prize went to Rachel Crampsey of Montclair Bread Co., for her carrot raisin nut muffin.
“The experience level, creativity and craftsmanship of this year’s winners are at the highest level I’ve seen since we started this competition five years ago,” said Larry Blagg, senior vice-president of marketing for the California Raisin Marketing Board. “Besides recognizing some of the top bakers in the industry, participation in the finals is done in such a manner as to create a sense of camaraderie among the contestants — they exchange techniques and best practices with one another.”
The 36 finalists were chosen from a total of more than 100 initial entries submitted by professional and student bakers across the United States. In addition to winning industry honors and national recognition, the winners will receive a tour of California, including the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena and the San Joaquin Valley, home of more than 3,000 raisin growers.