The 13 winners of the fifth annual America’s Best Raisin Bread Contest have been announced. They were chosen from 36 finalists who competed Oct. 12-13 at the American Institute of Baking (AIB) in Manhattan, Kan. in three categories: Artisan, Commercial and Breakfast. All of the breads featured California raisins.
The winners include:
Grand Prize – Courtney Reed of Quincy, Mass., Raisin² Pizza Crust (pictured)
Judges' Prize – Philippe Sanchez of Orlando, Fla., Fleur de Raisin
Idea Prize – Siddharth Mangalore of Chicago, Curried Whole Wheat Raisin Boule
Student Prize – Jack Lonetto of Biscayne Park, Fla., Raisin Stuffed Breakfast Challah
Grand Prize – Pamela Adams of Amherst, Mass., Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Bread (pictured)
Judges' Prize – Suzanne Tatis of Henderson, Nev., Lucky Golden
Idea Prize – Molly Burke of Plymouth, Minn., Spicy Raisin Gingerbread
Student Prize – Maria Quinn of Frankfort, Ill., Not Your Grandma's Banana Bread
Grand Prize – Olivier Saintemarie of Orlando, Fla., Raisins Florentine Danishes (pictured)
Judges' Prize – Joe Falcinelli of Park Ridge, Ill., Raisin Kovigor-Amann
Idea Prize –Rachel Crampsey of Montclair, N.J., Carrot Raisin Nut Muffin
Student Prize – Roman Anglin of Orlando, Fla., Sunny Tops
California Prize: Maurice Kalinsky of Davis, Calif., Birdseed
"The experience level, creativity and craftsmanship of this year's winners are at the highest level I've seen since we started this competition five years ago," Larry Blagg, senior vice president of marketing for CRMB, said in a press release. "Besides recognizing some of the top bakers in the industry, participation in the finals is done in such a manner as to create a sense of camaraderie among the contestants–they exchange techniques and best practices with one another."
In addition to winning industry honors and national recognition, the winners will receive a tour of California, including the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena and the San Joaquin Valley, home of more than 3,000 raisin growers.
More than 100 professional and student bakers submitted original formulas to the competition. Applications for the 6th annual America's Best Raisin Bread Contest will be available online starting Nov. 1.