Queen of Bacchanal takes the cake

 Dexter Cambridge and his mother Donna Cambridge with his winning cake Queen of Bacchanal. -
Dexter Cambridge and his mother Donna Cambridge with his winning cake Queen of Bacchanal. -

A Trinidadian has copped a top award at the first annual Caribbean Baking Awards held at Multi-Purpose Sports Complex and Maria's by the Sea Hotel and Restaurant in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) on February 16 and 17.

Dexter Cambridge, 23, won the prized award for Best Cake in Show, aka Best of Show. His cake titled Queen of Bacchanal was dedicated to its namesake, soca artiste Destra Garcia.

His cake was comprised of six tiers and an explosion of colours.

"The bottom tier tells the rooted and grounded soul of TT. We also had a globe that represents people flying from all over to visit TT for Carnival. I also had a TT flag, a steelpan, a map of TT and a lady portraying Carnival at the front," Cambridge said.

Cambridge, from Palmiste in Chaguanas, operates an online (Instagram) store, 4 D's Cake Bridge, which offers custom-made cakes and pastries.

His won US$2,000, a trophy and other prizes.

Several media outlets in the BVI, including Media 284 and JTV Channel 55, reported on the award ceremony.

Akim Ishmael of Dominica won first place, with Jessica Bess of St Vincent and the Grenadines in second, and Timoy Titus of Antigua and Barbuda placed third.

Dexter Cambridge’s cake titled Queen of Bacchanal won the first annual Caribbean Baking Awards held in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). -

Cambridge said considering it was Carnival time, he was contemplating creating a cake centred on the 2024 Road March song DNA by Mical Teja. However, he decided that his first presentation would be a woman, and being a fan of Garcia, the choice was not difficult to make.

He said he was overjoyed with the win and thanked his family, God, those who supported him and others.

"It was my first time entering a competition, and I won the biggest title of the show. I am mainly self-taught. I have been baking for the past seven years but only professionally for the past two years," Cambridge told Newsday in a phone interview on February 19.

"My first job was in a bakery, and I worked there for a month. I went to culinary school, but not for pastries; it was for cooking. I believe that once you can cook, you can bake. I started playing around with different stuff."

Apart from operating his online business, Cambridge works at Woodford Café as a kitchen supervisor.

He recalled that when he saw an advertisement about the competition, he did not believe it was real. A friend entered his name. When he got a call informing him about his selection, he was shocked.

A back view of Dexter Cambridge’s cake titled Queen of Bacchanal. -

The past pupil of the Chaguanas North Secondary School recalled having problems finding sponsors to support his participation in the competition but a few stepped in to support in whatever way they could have.

He thanked Roger Blackman of Roblac Construction, Victor Alexander of PFWI Engineering Ltd, Mario Mootoo of Welding Depot and Industrial Supplies Ltd, Marianne Callender of We Inspire Network and Roxanne's Cake Decorating Store for helping and having confidence in him.

His mother, Donna Cambridge, and sister, Denica Cambridge, accompanied him to the BVI.

While shipping the cake to the BVI, parts of it were damaged and he was forced to replace them. Cambridge joked that his sister ate all the broken sugar flowers.

Tortola-based businesswoman Shanda Webster-Glasgow founded the Caribbean Baking Awards.

She told Newsday 13 Caribbean islands participated in the competition which started with 150 nominees.

Dexter Cambridge’s cake titled Queen of Bacchanal is in the centre. -

The wine and tasting aspect took place at the complex, while the awards and dinner ceremony at the hotel and restaurant.

This year's theme was Caribbean Vibes and participants used the colours or depicted their country's culture through their two or three-tiered cake.

The event aims to bring together talented bakers from all corners of the region.

Through this event, Webster-Glasgow seeks to shine a spotlight on the artistry and skill that goes into creating mouth-watering baked goods. She believes that by showcasing the best of the best, she will be able to encourage and boost budding bakers and highlight the rich culinary legacy of the Caribbean.

Another Trinidadian, Vishanna Jaimungal, together with Tatiana Gibs of Saint Martin, won an award for the best learning experience.

Jaimungal, of Lavish Cake Supplies, also won an award for Best cake supply store.

Other TT representatives included Kimberly Mitchell and Diana Kirk.


"Queen of Bacchanal takes the cake"

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