Local student chef makes ‘Cupcake Challenge’ finals

By Gary Alan Ruse….

Emily Nelson is pictured at the Holy Moly Guacamole event in 2009.

Emily Nelson, a young Palmetto Bay resident who is in the 11th grade at Robert Morgan Educational Center and is majoring in Culinary Arts, has been selected as a finalist in the “Miami’s Top Cupcake Challenge,” part of the Nov. 18 “How Sweet It Is” event at The Shops at Sunset Place.

The daughter of Amy and Randall Nelson is excited about the opportunity to display her talent and training in a contest where she’ll be going head to head against some of the best bakers in the area.

“Her recipe is for ‘Chocolate Piggies,’ a dark chocolate and bacon cupcake,” said her mom Amy. “She got her start cooking at Southwood Middle School with Mrs. Towsley and is now at Robert Morgan with her teachers, Mr. Galadza and Mr. Diaz. She plans on attending FIU for hospitality and then going to the Culinary Institute of America for cooking.”

Local residents of all ages were invited to submit recipes for their original cupcake concepts in October, then a selec- tion committee reviewed the recipe submissions and picked a limited few to compete in the live judging hosted by Kathy Martin, Miami Herald Food Editor; Marybel Rodriguez, CBS4 anchor/ reporter; Jewel Figueras, Miami Fashion and Style Examiner blogger, and Letty Alvarez, baker and owner of LA Sweets.

The panel of celebrity judges will sample the cupcakes and base the winning decision on taste, creativity and presentation during a special competition. One finalist will win a $100 Simon American Express Gift Card and have his or her photo taken and featured as the winner of “Miami’s Top Cupcake Challenge” in SOMI magazine. The winner also will receive four complimentary tickets to attend “How Sweet It Is,” where they will be recognized as the winner of the contest.

Emily’s mother said that besides being in Southwood’s “Little Chefs” group, her daughter has been in other special competitions involving food.

“She participated in the Holy Moly Guacamole event that was held last year at the Schnebly Winery where Robert Morgan participated with other schools in breaking the Guinness Book of World Recordsfor the largest serving of guacamole,” Amy said.

Finalists in “Miami’s Top Cupcake Challenge” will have to prepare a dozen cupcakes for the event and then, one by one, present them to the five judges. The judges will ask questions about the creations and the finalists will have two minutes to explain their cupcake concept. The winning cupcake will be selected based on taste, creativity of the cupcake concept and design/look of the actual cupcake.

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