By Tammy Messina
The 2nd Annual Sweet Charity Cake Auction, held at TPC Saturday evening March 27th, was once again a huge success. Pastry chefs and baking enthusiasts from Santa Clarita and the surrounding LA area brought their A-game to the table competing to take top honors in the "cake-off"-style competition and fundraiser for the SCV Youth Project. Celebrity judges Sonja Schmidt, writer, producer, & political commentator, Chef Daniel Otto, TPC Executive Chef, and Leigh Grode with TLC's "Ultimate Cake Off" had their work cut out for them.
While the judges viewed each of the 37 cakes entered in the competition and interviewed the chefs, an estimated 200 attendees bid via silent auction for the opportunity to take their favorite cake home. Greg Goodman, President of the SCV Youth Project, said that he was "excited to see so many people come out and support the youth in our valley". Between people trying to guess which cake would win high honors and the excitement of the bidding wars going on, there was definitely a buzz in the room and never a dull moment.
Each cake, along with accompanying gift items, was provided by local companies, charities, and even two local students. Some participants commissioned their cake design and others took the plunge and built it themselves. The themes varied from company mascots and logos to favorite pastimes and hobbies to SCV specific locations and themes.
Brandon Gelfand, a 6th grade Rosedell Elementary School student, arrived early to assemble his "cakescape" design highlighting the Think SCV initiative, an idea he came up with on his own.
"It's important for us to buy inside Santa Clarita and to stay in Santa Clarita to shop," he said.
As part of his auction package, Brandon asked his mom to drive him around town and approached several local businesses for donations. He highlighted each business in his cake display and encouraged attendees to patronize our local shops.
At the end of the night, the following winners emerged:
3rd Place - Gregg Goodman Farmers Insurance, a completely edible wine and cheese theme.
Designed by Heather Porter of Frost This.
First place winner Melinda of Cake Goodness exclaimed, "I'm so excited I can hardly stand it," saying that this was "my first live cake competition."
Two cakes tied for the coveted honor of raising the most money. Magic Mountain's submission of a Thomas the Train themed cake and Brandon Gelfand's Think SCV cakescape each garnered $600.
As an added bonus, in an impromptu live auction Celebrity Judge Leigh Grode donated the chef jacket she was wearing raising an additional $120.
Kim Goldman, Executive Director for the SCV Youth Project was thrilled with the turnout and the support from the community saying, "Thank you all for your support. Every dollar raised here tonight stays in Santa Clarita and goes toward supporting our youth."
Goldman also issued a special thanks to Chef Daniel Otto with TPC for being so willing to jump in and assist when news was received at the last moment that Celebrity Judge Gavin MacLeod was unable to attend after having emergency surgery.
Event Co-Chairs Jeri Goldman of KHTS and Renee Kaehny of Rituals Colour Salon coordinated the evening. The setting was elegant, the food was delicious, and there was plenty of excitement between the raffle items, cake auction and judging.
The Santa Clarita Valley Youth Project provides free services to teens in the Santa Clarita Valley. Since their doors opened in 2000, the Youth Project has assisted more than 32,000 local families, including 27,000 youth and 5,500 adults. In 2008/2009, with services on six high schools and seven junior high campuses, the SCV Youth Project provided more than 2000 hours of service to over 1000 young adults in the Santa Clarita Valley with serious life challenges, including depression, suicide, grief/loss, peer pressure and drug/alcohol abuse.
The Youth Project will be participating in the upcoming Dancing with Our Stars, on April 24th, 2010; as well as celebrating their 10th birthday, with an exclusive party at Six Flags Magic Mountain on May 20, 2010. For more information, about the SCV Youth Project, visit www.HelpNotHassle.org .
Melinda Piligiah putting finishing touches on her cake.
Sonja talking with cake designer Kiora Sanchez, 4th grader at Mountainview Elem and professional baker, about last year's winning cake which she designed for Infinity Wealth Management. Board member, Nancy Starczyk is in center.
Sonja talking with Brandon Gelfand about his cake design (2nd place).
Cake Goodness completed (1st place).
The KHTS AM-1220 cake.
Performance by D'wilfri Dance Team.