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Bicentennial Bakers

Update: The Best in Show Winner was Tommy Tucker, with his Santa Maria cake! Congratulations to all who participated, and scroll down for a complete list of winners.

The 200Columbus Bicentennial Birthday celebration was a showcase for the best of Columbus – including Columbus State's Baking and Pastry Arts students.

Thirty-one baking students competed in a cake-design contest at the Bicentennial Birthday Feb. 10. Giant Eagle donated 150 sheet cakes, 500 pounds of icing and other decor elements. The students turned them into landmarks like the LeVeque Tower and the Statehouse.

Student Tommy Tucker, 37, took the top prize for his replica of the Santa Maria. Two weeks before the competition, he was hard at work on designs and making prototypes with Rice Krispie treats.

"This competition affords me the opportunity to showcase my talent and show the skills that I've learned over the years," says Tucker. "It's exciting and fun. This opportunity doesn't come around too often where you can visualize a project, design it on paper and then do it."


Tucker started as a nursing student at Columbus State in the 1990s, but ended up in the food service business and found he enjoyed baking for family and friends. He's already finding success with his own baking company, called Babykakes, which sells cupcakes, wedding cakes and cookies.

Although he's been baking for a long time, he credits Columbus State professors like Chef Karen Krimmer for teaching him the skills and the discipline to start his own business.

Considering most students had never crafted extensive cake art pieces, Chef Krimmer had her work cut out for her to gear up for the competition. With this tall order of 31 cakes to feed 3,000 people, she involved her students in this quarter's Principles of Baking Operations class (Hospitality 111) and brought on additional Pastry Arts students.

"Many people in community don't know that we have a Baking & Pastry Arts program," says Chef Krimmer. "This competition will certainly showcase the program and our talented students. Real-life application of skills and leadership acquired through this program are demonstrated throughout this competition exercise."

The Columbus Bicentennial Birthday is intended to engage all five senses: In addition to delicious cakes, there will be style, décor, signature cocktails and music. Tickets are still available. For more information on the 200Columbus Bicentennial Birthday Celebration, visit


Best in show: Santa Maria by Tommy Tucker, $1,400 scholarship

Workmanship: Gold: Port Columbus International Airport by Lily Leung, $1,200 scholarship

Interpretation Gold: LeVeque Tower by Rosita Sewer, $1,200 scholarship

Creativity Gold: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium by Megan McCollough, $1,200 scholarship

Workmanship Silver: Franklin Park Conservatory by Hillary Glass, $1,000 scholarship

Interpretation Silver: Columbus City Hall by Kayla Riley, $1,000 scholarship

Creativity Silver: Columbus Metropolitan Library by Susan Steffey, $1,000 scholarship