Five elite cake designers face a demanding client, only they don't know who this person is. Going into the competition, the only thing they do know is that they'll be making some sort of birthday cake. Minutes before the clock starts, they'll meet the mystery client and he/she will lay out his/her birthday cake demands. Then our decorators have only six hours to come up with a cake sure to please this mystery client. The cake that wins will be served at a birthday event the next day, and the winning chef goes home with a check for $10,000.
Richard Ruskell, Montage Resort & Spa, Laguna Beach, Calif.
Norman Davis, The Sweet Life, Annandale, Va.
Sandy Hargrave, Classic Cakes of Aspen, Inc., Aspen, Colo.
Beryl Ann Byrd, Just Fabulous Pastries, San Diego, Calif.
Alain Roby, Hyatt Regency Chicago, Chicago, Ill.
Mark Bittman, Author; How to Cook Everything, New York, N.Y.
Nicholas Lodge, www.nicholaslodge.com, Atlanta, Ga.
Mike McCarey, Mike’s Amazing Cakes, Redmond, Wash.