At the 2019 Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show, two Second Harvest Culinary Training Program graduates took home honors in The Florida Wedding Cake Challenge, beating out veteran pastry chefs. Hosted by the American Culinary Federation's Central Florida Chapter, the competition challenged contestants to create a pirate-themed wedding cake.
Clarimar swept the competition earning first place and a bronze medal for her "Caribbean Passion" his-and-hers cake. The cake was half chocolate and half vanilla to represent two people becoming one in marriage. Each side was also decorated to honor the bride and groom.
"I enjoyed this challenge because I could incorporate different flavors and techniques that I've learned on the job," explains Clarimar.
Yoleida, who took first prize in the student wedding cake competition last year, competed in her first professional level competition this fall. She earned third place and a bronze medal for her cake inspired by "Pirates of the Caribbean."
"I would have loved to have won the first prize again but I am proud of myself," adds Yoleida.
Second Harvest’s Culinary Training Program prepares economically disadvantaged adults for a sustainable career in the food industry. Over the course of 16 weeks, students learn food safety, knife skills and techniques to prepare cuisines from around the world. Clarimar and Yoleida have been able to build upon their skills and talents to succeed in baking and pastry careers.
Since graduating as Top Student in her class, Clarimar has been baking beautiful cakes and desserts. She currently works at Toledo inside Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort as a pastry cook. She also creates custom cakes and shows her work on Instagram at @ccpastryshop.
"I learn something new every day," says Clarimar. "That's what I love most about working in pastry."
Yoleida is working at El Cafetal Bakery in Orlando. The Puerto Rican bakery specializes in artisan breads, pastries and sandwiches.
"I feel at home in the bakery, it reminds me of working alongside my father," says Yoleida.
Yoleida with her award.