Early Saturday morning brought the beginning of the NCACS and another really great day! We were at the show bright and early while people were still running around trying to get things ready. Most of the show cakes had been brought in the day before, so we were ready to view the beautiful designs and visit the vendor spaces. We were greeted in the lobby by a tribute to my favorite building in Washington, DC and also to the Cherry Blossom Festival which started that day as well.
B. Keith Ryder was running around crazy as usual but we cornered Mike Elder for hugs and photo ops. I have to tell you that going to this show was like going to Fan Fair for country fans. I love seeing all of my cake stars under one roof. There were many up and comers and incredibly talented veterans. The show is hosted by Norman Davis, who along with Zane Beg, has been on more Cake Competitions than anyone. He’s such an incredible cake artist I was in awe of his presence. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
We went into the vendor area and decided to take advantage of the special fondant pricing right away. We had about 50 pounds of fondant in boxes and wanted to take them to the car then come back. I had told Laura to just put her box down and I would get it when somebody came barreling at us in a mini van and honking like crazy.
It was sunny outside and I couldn’t see in the van, so I had no idea if somebody wanted to run us over or just say hi. The van pulled up and it was our friend Jay Qualls from back home! If you don’t know, Jay owns Maples Cakes and recently competed on the Next Great Baker on TLC with Buddy Valastro of Carlos Bakery. Jay was driving the lovely Miss Ashley Vicos van and we hopped in with him to haul our fondant to our car in the back of the parking lot.
We walked back in with Jay who invited us to hang out in his class later in the day if we had time. There were several demonstrations, competitions and classes throughout the weekend, so a person could stay as busy as they wanted to be. There was an amazing live competition featuring Castles of the Silver Screen that we spent several hours watching. Dana Herbert, the winner of the Next Great Baker competed, along with Mike Elder, Bob Brougham, and Kathy Scott, all well-known in the cake world.
Norm gave clues as to the movies that were featured in the cakes and audience members that guessed correctly won prizes. Zane came out dressed as Troy featured in Dana’s cake and Dianna Lopez was dressed like Edward Scissorhands, the movie featured in Bob’s cake. Mike Elder featured Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Kathy’s cake was based on The Wizard of Oz.
Mike was the only one who used all real cake instead of styrofoam featured in the others and his details were amazing by the end of the competition. He had my vote hands down. We received one right to vote each to make it fair but I don’t know how Mike’s cake could have been beat. He is such an incredible cake artist! I remain in awe of his cakes every day. He is in the same place in my mind as Mike McCary of Mike’s Amazing Cakes, another cake hero I was able to meet over the weekend. Mike Elder DID win the competition but that wasn’t announced until later.
I did sit on on Jay’s class for awhile and acted like his turntable when he put fondant ribbons on his cake. LOL I knew my purpose in life was something important! He had several really nice people in his class and they were all very eager to learn his Platinum and Pearls techniques. Jay is very charismatic and fun to take class with. He started out making his daughter’s birthday cake, just like many of us did and he’s done well with media relations and cake design.
We met up with Linda Milea at the hotel, who I believe might be a force to reckon with in the future. She makes very detailed cakes for family and friends and does really great in competitions. Her sunken pirate ship and her cupcakes both won in her division during the cake show and the wins were well deserved.
Laura and I spent some quality time at Starbucks during the week as we both had gift cards that were just begging to be spent. We did make the mistake of trying their cake pops which I would NEVER recommend to a friend. Yuk. I’m not sure what they actually use in those things but I’m convinced it’s not even real cake…and I don’t know if it’s cooked. It tasted like chemicals with a horrible mouth feel and aftertaste. Okay-enough of that! They make Chai Tea Lattes very well and should maybe stick to what they know best.
I was SO tired Saturday night but went to sleep with cake dreams in my head and the excitement of a wonderful class the next day!