Monday, September 21, 2009

The BBY staff bakeoff

Well, that was fun! The Burke's Backyard magazine inaugural staff bakeoff was a wonderful success, hopefully the start of an annual tradition. As I mentioned in an earlier posting, we pinched the idea from here.

But let's get down to the judging, the winners, the runners up – and the scandals behind the scenes!

The great thing about our little bakeoff was the variety on show. We're a pretty small team, but no two people made the same thing, and the sheer range of creations made for an excellent feast. There were two sections for judging – sweet and savoury, and naturally enough the sweet section was where the competition was hot.

The expert judge for the bakeoff was our very own cookery editor, Tracy Rutherford. As our magazine's leading cook, Tracy had to be nobbled from the competition right from the start, so we made her the judge. She did a superb job, and came up with two excellent winners, with creativity being the 'X-factor' that provided the decisive difference each time.

The overall winner was created (and styled) by our stylist, Sandy de Beyer. Home-made brandy snap baskets filled with sour cream, gingered figs and orange. Yum! Everyone agreed Sandy's creation was a deserving winner, but the whole day was a winner, too, so here's a few more pix to tell the whole story.

These entrants are meant to be nervous, yet they're smiling! They know that in 15 minutes they're going to be able to stuff themselves silly with this table-full of treats.

The savoury section consisted of two entries: my spinach pies and Christine's tomato and feta slices.

And Chris's truly yummy slices took out the prize in that hot little competition. Chris included slowly oven-roasted tomatoes in her topping, and that intense, tomatoey flavour was the winner for me. Such a nice idea for finger food. So good I'm going to pinch it!

As mentioned earlier, the sweet section was where the main action was.

Geoffrey's rice puddings were creamy heaven, Julie's raspberry muffins were a delight, my honey pie wasn't a disaster (but looked about as interesting as a spare tyre), and our photographer Brent's key lime muffins won the unofficial prize (ie, he didn't get anything) for effort put into presentation.

And here are Brent's key lime muffins in close-up. (Credit: styling by Brent Wilson, my pic tho.)

Kim's chocolate pavlova was the attention-getter when you first walked into the room. Wow!

Sandy's winning entry deserves a repeat. It tasted as nice as it looked, too.

Geoffrey's rice puddings and Victoria's choc chip cookies belonged in a shop window, but they're home-made! Nice use of striped tea towels in the presentation, Geoffrey.

Lesley's pecan pie would have won the neatness award, had we had one. Perfect symmetry all round, heavenly sweetness inside.

And after the judging the plague of locusts swarmed, and little was left by the end of it all, which is how all staff bakeoffs should end.

And now for the scandal, or at least an attempt to beat up a scandal out of thin air...
As I was taking this photo of the bakeoff winner Sandy (right) having a cosy chat with our bakeoff judge, Tracy, after the bakeoff judging, I thought a good caption would be to pretend that this was Sandy bribing Tracy half an hour before the bakeoff judging.

But when they heard about my plot they had a better idea. Instead of my sleazy innuendo, how about getting "the money shot", catching them red-handed with Sandy handing the money to Tracy? Bribery scandal! Halt the presses. Call in the stewards. We want a replay!

And a replay there will be. Same time next year. The big bakeoff. A tradition begins. So, go on blog readers – organise one at your workplace!


Urban Green said...

Great idea! I'm sure all of you had fun.
It was nice reading your post.

charlotte said...

Nice one. Looks like you all had a great time and I look forward to hearing about next year's efforts. Amazing-looking stuff on that table, too.... the A&U crowd will be very chuffed their idea has taken wings.