Yes, that would be me!
It all started a couple of months ago I signed up at the Marin County Fair Competition for the section "International Desserts". I have never participated in any Baking Contest in my life and as you all know I do not have a lifelong baking experience. In fact, I signed up and then I totally forgot about it...until a week ago, when I started to think that, after all, that had not been such a great idea. In my mind, I could already picture the amazing desserts that were going to be there, amazing in taste, format, color, presentation...why on earth had I decided to participate? In the last couple of weeks events haven't been very kind to me so my level of confidence was very very very low...let's say well underneath my feet. Today, I thought, was really not the best day to participate in a competition.
When I arrived at the fair, barely on time, and I saw all the other amazing desserts I was even more sure I should have just stayed home. And instead...dun dun dun dunnnnnnnn: not only I was first place but I also won the price for Best of Show. Can you believe it?!?!?!? I could not, actually....I really could not believe it! I am soooo happy, ecstatic I should say. The curse of the "always-second-place" is broken!
There were indeed some amazing desserts and I'm sorry I do not have pictures that give them justice, but they were all pretty impressive indeed (I don't even have a picture of my cake!).
I participated with my Torta della Nonna, one of my favorite recipes. I previously posted on my blog about my Torta della Nonna recipe and about my passion for pastry cream. I guess the hundreds of times I made this cake trying to perfection it really paid off. And I am really happy it happened today, in a moment when I definitely needed a confidence boost and today definitely was. The people were amazing. Everybody so was cool, they were all asking me "which one was your cake, I want to try it!". I had a lot of compliments. But the best compliments came from the judges. When I went to thank them, the first reply I got from them was actually a question "Are you a pastry chef?". OMG, this totally made my day and pay off for all the failures I have in the kitchen.
Therefore, before concluding this post I really would like to thank the four judges again (at least in this way I won't have my voice shaking):
Cathy Baker-Fayal, Bakery Team Leader, Whole Foods, San Rafael
Leslie Harlib, San Rafael, Food Writer & Restaurant Critic, Novato Advance
Susan Pruett, Class Kitchen Manager, Ramekins Cooking School, Sonoma
Charlene Small, Kitchen Assistant, Ramekins Cooking School, Sonoma
And, of course, a special thank you to Wally who is my insatiable guinea pig and who came to share this moment of happiness with me.
Now it's time to celebrate. Happy 4th of July to everybody!