WINNER!: Lisa Cowden
Lisa Cowden has been a bona fide cupcake chef for almost two years, but a baker since she was old enough to touch the oven. She became a pastry chef because of her obsession with Food Network, and she fell in love with cupcakes right out of culinary school. Lisa graduated from the Scottsdale Culinary Institute Le Cordon Bleu with a certificate in baking and patisserie. Currently she's the manager and baker of Lulu's Cupcakes in Scottsdale, Ariz. Their cupcakes are all natural, and some flavors can even be specially ordered gluten-free. Lulu's offers 15 different flavors each day — with catchy names. Lisa knows how to turn the heat up in the kitchen, and she's also known to turn the heat up on the dance floor. She's fun, fiery and her cupcakes are as much of an adventure as she is.
Try Lisa's winning recipe:
Wendy Jones started her cupcake adventure more than four years ago. As a little girl she never really liked cupcakes, but she loved creating things that were different and unique. The opening of Whodidily Cupcakes was inspired by the story of Willy Wonka along with Wendy's passion for design. She believes she was born to bake and design magical cupcakes. Along the way she married her husband, Dave, who also fell in love with cupcakes and is now the lead baker. The secret recipe to their success is simply passion for what they do.
Jeff Martin began his career in the restaurant industry in Atlanta and spent several years in fine dining. He has a B.A. in culinary arts from Johnson and Wales University in Charleston, S.C. A few years ago he moved with his wife to Kansas City, where he bought a couple of franchises. Always wanting a concept of his own, Jeff began playing around with many ideas before cupcakes took over his life.
Smallcakes was born about a year after his own "small cake" — Lily. He owns two locations now that serve 15 different flavors daily, plus a few special flavors. Jeff is not sure if the cupcake craze will last forever, but as long as it does so will he.
Cupcakes & Company is a unique bakeshop specializing in cupcakes and is influenced by an ever-popular, Asian-Euro fusion concept. Some of their interesting tastes are deeply rooted in Asian cuisine such as purple yam (ube), which is very similar to the Hawaiian taro root. They even create Italian buttercream rather than using the firm American buttercream. Maria Tongko, the owner and baker, attended the California School of Culinary Arts, Le Cordon Bleu, in Pasadena, Calif. She's been a professional baker for two years, following in her mother Cynthia's footsteps. Cupcakes & Company has supplied cupcakes at events such as Ellen DeGeneres' 50th birthday party and P. Diddy's White Party on the Fourth of July.
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