AVB members turned up the heat in the outdoor kitchen last week at the annual charity bake-off competition at the 2018 AVB Leadership Conference. AVB region members baked a home recipe in hopes of winning the highly-anticipated Golden Spatula award, and most importantly, bragging rights for the next year.
Region teams put a whole lot of creativity and thought into each recipe. Some of the contestants even went so far as to fly-in homegrown ingredients, including apples. The level of competition was so intense, that some members even conducted market research on the judges’ tastes in hopes of swaying their votes.
Spencer Kimball of Southeast Steel in Orlando FL prepared “ooey gooey bars” with his power dealers team. “We drove in and had a blast! It was a great team building experience. We are a competitive bunch. In fact, I will be watching Food Network 24/7 moving forward in anticipation of taking the Golden Spatula award next year.”
This year, AVB Inc continued the 10-year tradition of raising money for a local charity. AVB chose Marine Corps Toys for Tots in Sacramento for the third year in a row. Marine Corps Toys for Tots is a nonprofit charitable organization with the goal of gifting a new toy during the holidays to America’s less fortunate children. This year’s event held a special resonance as the donations will be used to support the victims of the recent fires in California. Regions, vendors and individual members contributed to the cause and surpassed last year’s donation amount, allowing them to donate over 7,500 toys for children in need.
One of the baking competition judges was Michael Posa, general manager of AVB, who really enjoyed the competition. He was amazed at the creativity of all the entries. “Eating 16 desserts was total overload! I’m thinking I hit 10,000 calories by the end. Let me be the first one to suggest that we do a salad making contest next year!”
But, in the end, the winners were from the South Atlantic region. They received the coveted golden spatula for their winning pecan pie. Harry Buntyn, region manager and team captain, attributed the win to great teamwork, a wonderful recipe and secret ingredient, Kentucky bourbon. Harry said he and his region feel vindicated because the last two years they felt worthy of the prize yet came up short.
One of the competition judges, Kevin Werner, general manager of membership at BrandSource, said, “it was very difficult to pick a winner because they were all fantastic! But the real winners are the kids who benefit greatly by the generous donations made by our outstanding members and vendors.”