The California Raisin Marketing Board (CRMB) named the 36 finalists for its America’s Best Raisin Bread Contest, which will run Oct. 6-9 during the International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) in front of a potential audience of 20,000 attendees.

“Applicants were up 25% this year, as student and professional bakers eagerly seek to compete on the world stage,” said Larry Blagg, CRMB’s senior vice-president of marketing. “The quality and creativity of entries made it extremely difficult for our judges to determine the finalists.”

Each day, four winners will decided by category with artisan bread finalists competing on Sunday, Oct. 6, breakfast finalists vying on Monday, Oct. 7, and commercial bread finalists battling it out on Tuesday, Oct. 8. And there is something special planned for the last day of IBIE: An international contingent of bakers will perform on stage at CRMB’s contest venue, Booth No. 3043 in Exhibit Hall N-1.

“This year’s contest is a dream come true for me personally, as we started such events 22 years ago in Japan,” Mr. Blagg explained. “We brought this event to the US six years ago and now have active contests annually in Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Southeast Asia and the UK. More than 30 world-class bakers and pastry chefs will also demonstrate their winning products from around the world on Wednesday, Oct. 9, the final day of the show.

“I would encourage every baker and chef in attendance to visit the show floor and watch our finalists in action as they prepare, bake and orally defend their products in front of our distinguished panel of judges,” he added. “And you can sample the winner’s items in our booth as well. More than 70 products — all containing delicious California raisins — will be available for sampling throughout the four days of IBIE.”

Theresa Cogswell, chief judge for the contest and principal of BakerCogs, Inc., Overland Park, KS, said the America's Best Raisin Bread Contest provides an interactive addition to the floor experience at IBIE. “It is an amazing opportunity to showcase the talents of our finalists on an international stage. I have been baking for more than 30 years and am delighted by all of the new techniques and learning that takes place at the finals,” she said. “The real winners are those come to the contest with an open mind and a love of learning and making raisin bread. These bakers will go back to their bakeries and companies and increase sales of quality raisin bread.”

2013 America’s Best Raisin Bread Contest Finalists

Professional artisan

Nicky Guisto, Central Mills, Petaluma, CA

Kristin Troester, St. Peter’s Bakery, Elverson, PA

Stephan Barbiero, Maple Leaf Bakery, Richmond, CA

Lyndon Dimond, Turano Baking Co., Elmhurst, IL

Mike Urane, The Rustic Loaf, Upland, CA

Justin Demers, Clear Flour Baker, Somerville, MA

Roman Anglin, Marriott International, Orlando, FL

Robert Sarubbi, Marriott International/Ritz Carlton, Key Biscayne, FL

Edwin Gerena, Tribeca Oven, Carlstadt, NJ

Professional commercial

Gary Gottenbusch, Servatti Pastry Shop, Cincinnati, OH

Philippe Sanchez, Marriott International, Orlando, FL

Cesar Cruz, Servatti Pastry Shop, Cincinnati, OH

Daniel Rios, Le Pain Quotidien, Astoria, NY

Alphonse Beccard, 5 Generation Bakers, McDonald, PA

Jolene Collins, The Hershey Co., Annville, PA

Daniel Swift, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV

Sandy Kim, Chabaso Bakery, New Haven, CT

Olivier Saintemarie, JBI, dba Chefs de France Epcot, Lake Buena, FL

Professional breakfast

Robert Nieto, Jackson Family Wines, Fulton, CA

Tung Mao Chen, Ni Ni Bakery, Temple City, CA

Heather Ruskievicz, Heather’s Fairy Tale Bakery, Colville, WA

Donald Kross, Servatti Pastry Shop, Cincinnati, OH

Nancy Cain, Against the Grain Gourmet, Brattleboro, VT

Rony Bravo, Tribeca Oven, Carlstadt, NJ

Kaitlin Guest, Gold Coast Ingredients, Commerce, CA

Jordanna Downer, Bennison’s Bakery, Wilmette, IL

Sharon Troester, St. Peter’s Bakery, Elverson, PA

Student artisan

Marta Kantorowicz, French Pastry School, Chicago, IL

Olivia Schall, Kendall College, Oak Forest, IL

Bradley Price, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS

Student commercial

Marija Benson, College of DuPage Culinary & Hospitality School, Naperville, IL

Kathy Zibilich, El Centro Culinary School, Dallas, TX

Jennifer Mendez, Orlando, FL

Student breakfast

Molly Anderson, Kendall College, Rockford, IL

Samantha Ring, Kendall College, Hoffman Estates, IL

Mariana Cascaval, Kendall College, Chicago, IL