Bon Appétit Holiday Bake-Off

Bon Appetit Holiday Bake-Off

Click here to read part 1 of this post

Showing up at the Conde-Nast headquarters in Times Square, I was immediately struck by the array of food bloggers gathered together in Bon Appetit’s test kitchen. There were familiar faces like @sassyradish, @jenniferperillo, and @homesicktexan and some less familiar faces like @thehungrymouse from Boston, and @SavorySweetLife, who flew in all the way from Seattle for the event. Even more striking though were the desserts that were being carefully plated all around the kitchen.

Bon Appetit Contestants

Since I was already a little late, I staked out a spot by one of the stoves and grabbed a platter. Despite my lack of planning on the cake itself, I did have one trick up my sleeve. I got my sweet mom to FedEx some of the last remaining persimmon leaves off the tree in our backyard in Napa. The vermillion leaves really helped the cake pop off the white plates and I’m sure they helped my presentation score.

Bon Appetit Bake-Off Judges

Soon, most of the contestants were in the main room mingling, but I was still fussing over my cake and how it was going to get presented. The staff must have been annoyed by how I anal I was being. Still, the surprisingly good wine, and even better company soon lured me out of the kitchen and the judging got underway.

Bon Appetit Bake-Off

With all the stunning desserts lined up, I realized I’d forgotten to eat all day and suddenly had a rumbling in my stomach like the way it gets during late-night blog surfing. Thankfully, the leftovers were slowly moving over to a communal counter, where we got to taste every one of the desserts for ourselves.

Bon Appetit Holiday Bake-Off

My entry, a cream cake with layers of genoise and kabocha mousse went second to last. After introducing it, I quickly mingled my way to the back of the room, afraid to see how the judges would react. I also wanted to grab a piece of my own cake as I hadn’t had a chance to taste my new concoction.

Kabocha Cream Cake

As it turns out, kabocha, the ugly duckling of pumpkins makes a good addition to cake. My experimental, last minute cake squeezed ahead to win a trip to Vegas to attend Bon Appétit’s Vegas Uncork’d. Yep, I’m going to Vegas, Baby!

The Festivus Pear Cake by Mary Ann Porch of Puff & Choux came in a close second and the Holiday Pot Pies by Brownie of Blondie & Brownie (which was one of my personal favourites) came in third.

Everyone’s entries were memorable is some way or other, and I’m really looking forward to making some of the desserts myself, just so I can have one more bite. Check out this slide show to see all the entries.

  • http://freshlocalandbest.blogspot.com/ Christine @Fresh Local and Bes

    Congratulations on the win! I hope you have a great time in Vegas.

  • http://freshlocalandbest.blogspot.com Christine @Fresh Local and Best

    Congratulations on the win! I hope you have a great time in Vegas.

  • http://gastronomyblog.com/ Gastronomer

    Congrats on the win, Marc! It was definitely the leaves that put you over the top ;-)

  • http://gastronomyblog.com Gastronomer

    Congrats on the win, Marc! It was definitely the leaves that put you over the top ;-)

  • ori

    sweet!!

    nicely done … playing all coy :)

  • ori

    sweet!!

    nicely done … playing all coy :)

  • http://souvlakiforthesoul.com/ Peter G

    Congratulations Marc! that’s great news! Can’t wait to see how the next one goes!

  • http://souvlakiforthesoul.com Peter G

    Congratulations Marc! that’s great news! Can’t wait to see how the next one goes!

  • http://savorysweetlife.com/ Alice

    Congratulations once again! Your dessert was truly memorable and deserving of top honors.

  • http://savorysweetlife.com Alice

    Congratulations once again! Your dessert was truly memorable and deserving of top honors.

  • http://cookappeal.blogspot.com/ Chef E

    I did not doubt for one minute you did not win! Just looking at the first write up I could tell a winner…you rock Marc!

  • http://cookappeal.blogspot.com/ Chef E

    I did not doubt for one minute you did not win! Just looking at the first write up I could tell a winner…you rock Marc!

  • http://trissalicious.com/ Trissa

    Congratulations on your win! What a great coup to beat all the other desserts! Have fun in Vegas!

  • http://trissalicious.com Trissa

    Congratulations on your win! What a great coup to beat all the other desserts! Have fun in Vegas!

  • http://www.InJenniesKitchen.com/ Jennifer

    Congrats again Marc. Your cake was amazing and I’m with Alice—you’re cake was in a class all by itself. Now post the recipe so we can all make it :)

  • http://www.InJenniesKitchen.com Jennifer

    Congrats again Marc. Your cake was amazing and I’m with Alice—you’re cake was in a class all by itself. Now post the recipe so we can all make it :)

  • http://colloquialcooking.com/ Colloquial Cook

    Yay! YAY! *YAY*!
    Stunning through and through. Payard hasn’t changed a bit since the last time I saw him [i.e. still sitting with the laydeez :-D].

  • http://colloquialcooking.com Colloquial Cook

    Yay! YAY! *YAY*!
    Stunning through and through. Payard hasn’t changed a bit since the last time I saw him [i.e. still sitting with the laydeez :-D].

  • Rakhi

    Congratulations, Marc! Though I wasn’t there, I’m sure it was a much deserved win. I’m sure you and Liz will have a wonderful time in Vegas. :)

  • Rakhi

    Congratulations, Marc! Though I wasn’t there, I’m sure it was a much deserved win. I’m sure you and Liz will have a wonderful time in Vegas. :)

  • http://www.leftoverqueen.com/ Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen

    Wow! What an amazing experience. The persimmon leaves are such a gorgeous decoration! Great idea!

  • http://www.leftoverqueen.com Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen

    Wow! What an amazing experience. The persimmon leaves are such a gorgeous decoration! Great idea!

  • http://dodol-mochi.blogspot.com/ Pei-Lin

    Hello, Marc!

    Sounds so fun at the bake-off! How I wish I could be part of it … hehehe … at least, for taste testing part. =P

    So, the results were announced, eh? Yours sounds promising … But, I couldn’t believe you could actually enter something for a competition even if it hasn’t been tested personally before! LOL! Kudos to you!

    Keep us updated with the rest of the story!

  • http://dodol-mochi.blogspot.com/ Pei-Lin

    Hello, Marc!

    Sounds so fun at the bake-off! How I wish I could be part of it … hehehe … at least, for taste testing part. =P

    So, the results were announced, eh? Yours sounds promising … But, I couldn’t believe you could actually enter something for a competition even if it hasn’t been tested personally before! LOL! Kudos to you!

    Keep us updated with the rest of the story!

  • http://sweesan.blogspot.com/ swee

    wow congratulations on the win!! best part was the cake was an experiment..

  • http://sweesan.blogspot.com swee

    wow congratulations on the win!! best part was the cake was an experiment..

  • http://fivestarfoodie.blogspot.com/ Natasha – 5 Star Foodie

    Congratulations, Marc! That’s awesome!

  • http://fivestarfoodie.blogspot.com Natasha – 5 Star Foodie

    Congratulations, Marc! That’s awesome!

  • http://foodmayhem.com/ Jessica@FoodMayhem

    Congratulations! Definitely a stunning cake, and the leaves do make it even prettier.

  • http://foodmayhem.com Jessica@FoodMayhem

    Congratulations! Definitely a stunning cake, and the leaves do make it even prettier.

  • http://www.flanboyanteats.com/ Bren

    yaAAAY!!! Congrats, Marc. Sweet life ur having up there in NY!

  • http://www.flanboyanteats.com Bren

    yaAAAY!!! Congrats, Marc. Sweet life ur having up there in NY!

  • http://zencancook.com/ zenchef

    That’s awesome, Marc. But you know what? You deserve it!
    You did a heck of a good job! Bravo!

  • http://zencancook.com zenchef

    That’s awesome, Marc. But you know what? You deserve it!
    You did a heck of a good job! Bravo!

  • http://www.mytartelette.com/ Tartelette

    Bravo bravo bravo! Well deserved Mark!

  • http://www.mytartelette.com Tartelette

    Bravo bravo bravo! Well deserved Mark!

  • http://tjsthings.wordpress.com TJ

    Congratulations! What an imaginative plating!

  • http://tjsthings.wordpress.com/ TJ

    Congratulations! What an imaginative plating!

  • http://dodol-mochi.blogspot.com/ Pei-Lin

    Hey, there! Marc, sorry I didn’t notice the parts at the bottom of the story … CONGRATS TO YOUR WIN!!! Enjoy your time at Vegas!

  • http://dodol-mochi.blogspot.com/ Pei-Lin

    Hey, there! Marc, sorry I didn’t notice the parts at the bottom of the story … CONGRATS TO YOUR WIN!!! Enjoy your time at Vegas!

  • http://kitchen-em.blogspot.com/ Kitchen M

    Whoa! Congratulations Marc!!! I like how it’s so simple and beautiful! Good luck and have fun in Vegas. :)

  • http://kitchen-em.blogspot.com Kitchen M

    Whoa! Congratulations Marc!!! I like how it’s so simple and beautiful! Good luck and have fun in Vegas. :)

  • Camille

    Congratulations Marc! A well deserved recognition – I couldn’t be more pleased. You have been so generous with your knowledge and have created a blog that is always interesting, filled with beautiful photography and recipes and shows your passion not only for food but that everyone on the planet has enough to eat. Have a wonderful time in Vegas. I am confident 2010 will be a fantastic year for you.

  • Camille

    Congratulations Marc! A well deserved recognition – I couldn’t be more pleased. You have been so generous with your knowledge and have created a blog that is always interesting, filled with beautiful photography and recipes and shows your passion not only for food but that everyone on the planet has enough to eat. Have a wonderful time in Vegas. I am confident 2010 will be a fantastic year for you.

  • http://www.pastrychefonline.com/ Jenni

    Whoa, Marc! Congratulations! Love the kabocha idea; an interesting departure from butternut squash or pumpkin. I expect nothing less than innovation everytime I swing by, though. Richly deserved win; enjoy your trip:)

  • http://www.pastrychefonline.com/ Jenni

    Whoa, Marc! Congratulations! Love the kabocha idea; an interesting departure from butternut squash or pumpkin. I expect nothing less than innovation everytime I swing by, though. Richly deserved win; enjoy your trip:)

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com/ we are never full

    congrats! congrats! throw the dice at the craps table for me! well-deserved.

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com we are never full

    congrats! congrats! throw the dice at the craps table for me! well-deserved.

  • http://baconandrhubarb.blogspot.com/ Rachel (S[d]OC)

    Congrats to you! That’s a very creative cake. Enjoy Vegas. I would love to be in a room full of all of those desserts.

  • http://baconandrhubarb.blogspot.com Rachel (S[d]OC)

    Congrats to you! That’s a very creative cake. Enjoy Vegas. I would love to be in a room full of all of those desserts.

  • http://www.figandcherry.com/ Christie @ Fig&Cherry

    Congrats Marc! Isn’t it great how Mum’s come in handy no matter what your age? :)

  • http://www.figandcherry.com Christie @ Fig&Cherry

    Congrats Marc! Isn’t it great how Mum’s come in handy no matter what your age? :)

  • http://www.sassyradish.com/ radish

    I’m with Alice, Jennie and Stephane — you more than deserved it! It was so exciting to see you win! And that cake was insane. I had 2 huge pieces – ha. Have a great time in Vegas!!

  • http://www.sassyradish.com radish

    I’m with Alice, Jennie and Stephane — you more than deserved it! It was so exciting to see you win! And that cake was insane. I had 2 huge pieces – ha. Have a great time in Vegas!!

  • http://www.foodgal.com/ Carolyn Jung

    Awesome! You rock! Have a great time in Vegas. Your luck is so good already, you’ll have to try your hand at the casinos, too. I predict a big jackpot. Congrats again. You so deserve it!

  • http://www.foodgal.com Carolyn Jung

    Awesome! You rock! Have a great time in Vegas. Your luck is so good already, you’ll have to try your hand at the casinos, too. I predict a big jackpot. Congrats again. You so deserve it!

  • http://www.tasteslikehome.org/ Cynthia

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!

  • http://www.tasteslikehome.org Cynthia

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!

  • http://staceysnacksonline.com/ Stacey Snacks

    And he is a baker too!

    Wow Marc, that’s great.
    Hope all is well and Happy New Year to you and Liz.

    Best, Stacey

  • http://staceysnacksonline.com Stacey Snacks

    And he is a baker too!

    Wow Marc, that’s great.
    Hope all is well and Happy New Year to you and Liz.

    Best, Stacey

  • http://www.soyoufound.me/ joni

    Congrats! Must be very yummy. :)

  • http://www.soyoufound.me joni

    Congrats! Must be very yummy. :)

  • http://melangerbaking.com/ Julia @ Mélanger

    Well done. I love all your dishes so well deserved! :)

  • http://melangerbaking.com/ Julia @ Mélanger

    Well done. I love all your dishes so well deserved! :)

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Welcome!

I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!

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