Written by Susan Miller on Friday February 27, 2009
The Gallery crew is excited to bring the Oklahoma Sugar Art Show and Grand National Wedding Cake competition to OETA.
We found out about this competition a year before we could shoot it. As one of the segment producers for Gallery, a show that focuses on the art and culture of Oklahoma, I had long wanted to do something on the culinary arts. Not being the greatest cook in the world I am fascinated by those who can not only cook, but cook beautifully. One day Gallery Executive Producer Bill Perry laid a copy of the September 2007 edition of Oklahoma Living on my desk. On the cover was a photograph of a beautiful wedding cake and the words, “World-Class sugar art”.
I went straight to the article and was blown away. I had no idea the Grand National Wedding Cake Competition even existed, let alone was the most prestigious competition of its kind in America and it happened in Tulsa every year!!! But that wasn’t all. To make matters even “sweeter”, the two previous year’s winners were from right here in Oklahoma.
We had our culinary arts story.
I kept that article on my desk for months, biding my time until spring of 2008 when I could finally sink my teeth into this assignment.
I traveled with fellow segment producer Randy Hayes and videographer Daniel Lapham to shoot video of the Oklahoma champions at their homes. Even though the event was 2 months away, the champs were both up to their elbows in their wedding cake designs. Turns out it takes a long time to create a completely edible masterpiece.
These cakes are a study in patience, devotion and talent. Cameras rolled as Kim Payne of Cheyenne pressed fondant through a press to get a pin-thin string of icing she would use to create a delicate lace.
Lenses zoomed in to capture Lori Cossou of Welch, the reigning champ, stamp out one of hundreds of miniscule clovers that would cover the “ground” of her whimsical fairyland wedding cake.
I don’t know how the guys felt, probably tired from having to make sure they captured every wonderful shot, but I was in awe. Here I am watching these masters at work. What a blessing! What a gift.
I want to bring that gift to our viewers with “Sweet Rewards”, the March installment of Gallery. We had such fun meeting these artists personally and then we got to attend the three day competition in Tulsa where we met the magnificent Kerry Vincent, the woman who founded the Oklahoma State Sugar Arts Show and then catapulted it to national fame. You’ll meet her too and the entire cast of characters who make up the Grand National Wedding Cake Competition.
The challenge for me in writing this show was trying to fit all the elements of this story into a 25 minute window. That’s how much actual show time we have in a 30 minute program. It wasn’t easy, but trust me, we’ve given you the best stuff we had. So enjoy the show, but be warned …if you’re in the market for a wedding cake, don’t fall in love with the cakes you see on Gallery, if you do be prepared to pay. Cakes of this caliber cost thousands.