Registration and Rules

Are you competing in Chicago’s Best Baker Contest? Here are some things you’ll need to know. Registration is required.

If something isn't covered here feel free to check our FAQ.

The Competitors

We've made our selections for the Chicago's Best Baker Contest, and the competitors for the event are as follows:

Allen, Mimi
Baeza, Stephanie
Bennion, LeAnne
Berard, Carolyn
Bermingham, Rob
Braun, Sue
Brown, Lisa
Chiarelli, Meredith
Coleman, Tiana
Darin, Hanna
Del Favero, Maria
del Peso, Francisco Javier
Domont, Elizabeth
Enk, Erika
Feher, Savannah
Finn, Patrick
Friesen, Lindsey
Gentry, Jamie
Hilton, K'lex
Hilz, Sarah
Holland, Benjamin
Jamerson, Tonya, Johns, Emily
Kaffel, Emily
Kane, Corina
Karstens, Eli
Lewis, Victoria
Lilly, Katelyn
Lusk, Luke
Markvaldas, Sabina
Masi, Stephanie
McCareins, Megan
Mcpherson, Kelsey
Miller, Thomas
Mineck, Denise
Mineck, Katherine
Olsen, Carol
O’Shanna, Audrey
O'Shea, Judine
Parker-Davis, Lisa
Podjasek, Mary
Puszkiewicz, Alice
Reaska, Shannon
Rockers, Madeline
Rosenthal, Emma
Sainsbury, Samantha
Scaringe, Dayna
Scholtes, Rebecca
Sestak, Jackie
Sheer, Julie
Smith, Eric
Solberg, Kari
Stahnke, Heather
Stegall, Deanna
Szudarek, Lori
Torrenga, Brooke
Trott, Carol
van Alkemade, Sara
Villani, Kim
Weaver, Hannah
Winter, Andrew
Witt, Sara

Thank you to everyone who applied, and we are looking forward to seeing what everyone brings to the contest on October 20! Chicago bakers are the best!


  • Cake
  • Pie - Sweet or Savory
  • Cookies
  • Pastry - Sweet or Savory
  • Bread - Sweet or Savory
  • International Baked Goods
  • Showstopper


  1. Entry Fee: $10 per contestant. Entry Fees are non-refundable.
  2. Entry Limits: 1 entry per division.
  3. Eligible Exhibitors: Open to adult Chicago residents, ages 18 and over as of October 1, 2018.
  4. Entries must be “Home-Made”. No “Commercially-Made” entries are allowed in this competition.* Any entries found to be “Commercially Made” will be disqualified and awards revoked, even if the entry has already been judged.
  5. Entries must have been prepared/made by the contestant in whose name they are entered.
  6. One Batch, One Entry: Only a single entry may be submitted from any prepared batch. Entries from a prepared batch may not be entered into more than one division.
    1. *Entries must be “Made from Scratch,” and NOT “Commercially Prepared Products.” “Commercially Prepared Products” may be used as an ingredient as long as they are not apparent as the finished product. For example, a pudding mix may not be submitted as a pudding or pie filling, but may be used as an ingredient in cupcake batter.

      Entry Requirements

      1. Time Limit Requirement: Entries must arrive fresh the morning of judging between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. (Shipping of baked goods is not recommended.)
      2. Quantity Requirements:
        1. Cakes – One whole cake, 8-10 inch or whole standard loaf
        2. Pies - One whole pie, 8-10 inch
        3. Pastries – Six pastries
        4. Breads — One whole standard loaf
        5. Cookies – 18 cookies
        6. Show Stopper – One whole item, must be at least 14 inches tall and contain 3 separate edible design elements.
      3. Container Requirements: Due to limited storage space please be considerate and do not use oversized plates, cake boards, etc. Containers and plates will not be returned. Disposable containers are recommended.
      4. Perishables Requirement: For food safety reasons, all entries must be stable at room temperature for at least 2 hours.
      5. Ingredients List: On a 3-inch x 5-inch card or piece of paper, provide a complete list of all ingredients used in entry preparation. Be specific, for example: butter (unsalted or salted), oil (vegetable, canola, olive, etc.), flour (all-purpose, cake, bread), etc., and all spices and flavorings used in the entry. Use a separate card for each entry. Do not put your name on your ingredients list. Bring the list with you when you deliver your entry for judging. Lists are used by Judges during judging and to avoid allergens.


      1. Late delivery of entry
      2. Hair or foreign object found on the entry
      3. Ineligible entries
      4. Failure to follow the “Made from Scratch” rule
      5. Perishable entry arriving at a temperature deemed unsafe for consumption by Judges. All entries are stored at room temperature.
      6. Entry does not meet quantity requirements

      No Award

      The following conditions will result in “No Award”.

      1. Hair or foreign object found in entry
      2. Product considered by judges to be unsafe to taste
      3. Product entered in the wrong Division

      What Are The Judges Looking For?

      Bread Show - 100 points possible

      Judging Criteria
      • Flavor - 30 Taste and aroma, sweet, nutty, blended
      • Texture - 25 No streaks or close grain, size and uniformity of cell walls, elasticity
      • General Appearance - 15 Shape, proper dome, smoothness, crust color
      • Lightness - 15
      • Crust - 15 Thickness, quality, crispness, tenderness and uniformity
      • Breads: Any type of bread using yeast, chemical leavening, or a culture, including sourdough breads.

      Cake Show - 100 points possible

      Judging Criteria
      • Flavor - 35 Delicate and pleasing, natural flavor of ingredients
      • Appearance - 30 Crust - color, texture, and depth Frosting/glaze - glossy, not granular, soft, not sticky, suitable flavor. Filling - if appropriate- minimum 1/4 inch, fluffy, good flavor blend with cake.
      • Texture - 25
      • Crumb - 10

      Pie Show - 100 points possible

      Judging Criteria
      • Crust - 45 (Flavor – 15 Texture - 30)
      • Filling - 30 (Flavor - 15 Texture - 15)
      • Appearance - 25 (Color - 10, Shape - 10 Overall - 5)

      Cookie Show - 100 points possible

      Judging Criteria
      • Appearance - 40 (Uniformity - 20 Color - 20)
      • Crumb (Texture) - 30
      • Flavor - 30

      Pastry Show - 100 points possible

      Judging Criteria
      • Crust - 40 (Flavor - 15 Texture - 25)
      • Appearance - 25 (Color - 10, Shape - 10 Overall - 5)
      • Filling - 20 (Flavor - 10 Consistency - 10)
      • Topping - 15

      Show Stopper Show - 100 points possible

      Judging Criteria
      • Must be over 14 inches tall and include at least 3 separate design elements
      • Overall Design - 30
      • Neatness/Skill - 30
      • Technique - 25
      • Originality - 15

      Anyone entering five or more divisions will be entered to win Best Overall Baker. The winner will be crowned Chicago’s Best Baker.