Class Notes Profiles
Have a sweet tooth? Beth Somers, Comm ’01, is your girl.
The test kitchen manager at Wilton Industries, a food crafting company in Woodridge, Ill., took top prize in the popular Food Network TV show Cupcake Wars in August. The prize-winning confectionary combinations? Champagne with strawberry curd filling, pistachio with white chocolate ganache, coconut with mango curd, and chocolate bourbon pecan. Somers and former boss Milette Raz won $10,000 for the cupcakes that fulfilled the mantra of: “Make it tasty. Make it pretty. Have fun.”
They accomplished all that in one day on the set of the show, which was filmed in Los Angeles and pitted them against three other teams. Judged by two prominent bakers, including a French pastry expert who “tells it like it is,” Somers says, the competition entailed three rounds. The duo coasted through the first two rounds and clinched the win by crafting 1,000 cupcakes for the wedding reception of a couple who met on match.com.
“You can’t just throw things in the mixer and hope they rise properly. It’s a science,” Somers says. “I don’t want to be cocky, but I knew we had won.”
Back at her real job — testing products and developing recipes for Wilton Bakeware — Somers has had time to reflect on the unexpected joys of being a reality TV show winner.
“Winning was great. The money was great,” she says. “But it was really awesome to hear from people — Marquette friends and other friends. It’s like I personally championed for them. They were saying: ‘I am so proud of you! I told everybody I knew you!’ That was the best part.” — Becky Dubin Jenkins