The California Raisin Marketing Board (CRMB), Fresno, Calif., announced the winners of the 6th Annual America’s Best Raisin Bread Contest during a banquet on Oct. 8 at LVH hotel in Las Vegas. The 2013 competition was held on the Las Vegas Convention Center floor during the International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE), which ran Oct. 6-9.

From a record high number of applications, 36 finalists were chosen to compete for the 12 top prizes, recognizing those professional bakers and students for their California raisin-containing masterpieces in one of three different categories: Artisan, Commercial and Breakfast. Each day of the competition, 12 of the finalists prepared their formulas by category. A panel of judges observed and scored them for their dress, workstation cleanliness, creative use of ingredients, look and taste of their finished products and other criteria.

The 2013 America’s Best Raisin Bread Contest winners are as follows:


  • Grand Prize—Nicky Giusto, Central Milling, Petaluma, Calif., for Raisin de Soleil.
  • Judges’ Prize—Kristin Troester, St. Peter’s Bakery, Elverson, Pa., Sultana Sunflower Bread.
  • Idea Prize—Robert Sarubbi, Marriott International/Ritz Carlton, Key Biscayne, Fla., Hard Crusted Raisin Pecan with Sweet Potato and Cinnamon Bread.
  • Student Prize—Bradley Price, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Raisin and Harvest Pear Focaccia.


  • Grand Prize—Sandy Kim, Chabaso Bakery, New Haven, Conn., Spice Trader’s Raisin Stick.
  • Judges’ Prize—Daniel Swift, University of Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Chocolate Raisin Bread.
  • Idea Prize—Alphonse Beccard, 5 Generation Bakers, McDonald, Pa., Rum Raisin Christmas Swirl.
  • Student Prize—Kathy Zibilich, El Central Culinary School, Dallas, Raisin Paska Bread.


  • Grand Prize—Robert Nieto, Jackson Family Wines, Fulton, Calif., Raisin Chardonnay Brioche.
  • Judges’ Prize—Kaitlin Guest, Gold Coast Ingredients, Commerce, Calif.; Golden Raisin Getaway.
  • Idea Prize—Nancy Cain, Against the Grain Gourmet, Brattleboro, Vt., Raisin The Bar.
  • Student Prize—Samantha Ring, Kendall College, Chicago, Sweet Potato Raisin Roll.

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