Cake Decorating Community - Cakes We Bake

Need Feedback Please - Should we have a beginners only contest?

First, I want to thank everyone for their feedback about changing the Halloween contest end date. The date has been changed to November 1st, but not sure if people noticed.

Since the discussion turned once again to having separate categories for beginners and professionals, which the programming here does not allow right now, I thought we could have a beginners only contest next month. What do you all think about that? And how much experience do you think should be the cut off point?

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Qualifications for beginners and professionals is such a gray area. You have professionals who just started working at cake decorating and are basically beginners, you have home bakers who have been doing this as a hobby and arent professionals but who arent beginners, you have people who are home professionals who have been doing it less than a year...OY VEY!

IMHO anyone who has been decorating more than 12 months on a regular basis (ie-makes cakes every month) is no longer a beginner. When I was in school my cake decorating class was 8 weeks and we practiced 10 hours a week. I saw my skills improve dramatically. I believe that if you are making cakes on a consistent basis for at least that long you have some decent skills.
Anyone who sells their cakes is a professional even if you sell them to just friends and family. If you get paid you are a professional.

That is what I think....
I think to clarify, the only thing we can truly set the standard by is the length of time decorating.

Karen Marie said:
Qualifications for beginners and professionals is such a gray area. You have professionals who just started working at cake decorating and are basically beginners, you have home bakers who have been doing this as a hobby and arent professionals but who arent beginners, you have people who are home professionals who have been doing it less than a year...OY VEY!

IMHO anyone who has been decorating more than 12 months on a regular basis (ie-makes cakes every month) is no longer a beginner. When I was in school my cake decorating class was 8 weeks and we practiced 10 hours a week. I saw my skills improve dramatically. I believe that if you are making cakes on a consistent basis for at least that long you have some decent skills.
Anyone who sells their cakes is a professional even if you sell them to just friends and family. If you get paid you are a professional.

That is what I think....
I have been decorating for 4 years, not consistently, but regularly and I don't think I am half as good as some of the people on this site. Some people are so talented when it comes these things and may have just started. I think it is hard to make a level, maybe more beginner, intermetate and professional. Like I said I have been doing it for a while but still don't think my skills or level can be matched with some of the others, that is why I rearly enter. I do know one thing, since being on this site and getting the advise and seeing what others do, I feel I have openned myself up to learning more and see my skills and quality of my work improving.
I'm truly new at this! I would like to see my cake vs. a professionals in competition. Thats my thoughts.
I think it sounds good in theory, but determining a actual definition for beginner is pretty tough; and has the potential for accusations of lying after the fact and a lot of bickering.
I really don't see the big deal of all-inclusive contests. People should be encouraged to enter their pictures no matter their skill level. Who cares if you win- this should be about seeing everyones stuff. If I only entered things I thought I could win I'd never enter anything. There is always someone better than you- that shouldn't make you feel bad or discouraged- it should inspire you to learn morethings and aspire to more:)
This past summer I entered multiple entries in the Threadcakes contest (If you haven't seen this you should check it out: www.threadcakes.com). I was very proud of my entries, but there were soooo many just unbelievable cakes entered I knew I didn't have a shot- but I still had a lot of fun doing it.

Again, a beginner's contest sounds like a good idea, but I'm betting it would cause more problems and arguments- just my thoughts:)

I say; everyone who has a halloween cake enter!
I see the ups and downs both sides to the story. I agree that it would probably cause more bickering which I am not a fan of at all. I been doing this for over 30 years and do not see my self as a professional by any means. And I have only entered contests in the past year!!! It took me that long to believe in myself enough and a lot of pushing by friends telling me that I should enter contests. So... just as any other contest of any kind, sometimes you have to pay the dues to get to the top. I'd love to see a contest for beginners but... will everyone entering be honest about how long they have been decorating and what their experience level is? I want to believe that everyone is honest but that is not always how it happens. This is a tough call Terri!
I wouldbe interested in a beginners contest but I too don't know how u avoid the lying.

jeri c said:
I see the ups and downs both sides to the story. I agree that it would probably cause more bickering which I am not a fan of at all. I been doing this for over 30 years and do not see my self as a professional by any means. And I have only entered contests in the past year!!! It took me that long to believe in myself enough and a lot of pushing by friends telling me that I should enter contests. So... just as any other contest of any kind, sometimes you have to pay the dues to get to the top. I'd love to see a contest for beginners but... will everyone entering be honest about how long they have been decorating and what their experience level is? I want to believe that everyone is honest but that is not always how it happens. This is a tough call Terri!
I'm just trying to find a solution to make everyone happy. Maybe that's not possible. I've received many complaints that people don't want to compete with professionals, so is there any one answer to the problem? I really don't know. I'm just throwing ideas out there because I want to find a solution people agree on.

jeri c said:
I see the ups and downs both sides to the story. I agree that it would probably cause more bickering which I am not a fan of at all. I been doing this for over 30 years and do not see my self as a professional by any means. And I have only entered contests in the past year!!! It took me that long to believe in myself enough and a lot of pushing by friends telling me that I should enter contests. So... just as any other contest of any kind, sometimes you have to pay the dues to get to the top. I'd love to see a contest for beginners but... will everyone entering be honest about how long they have been decorating and what their experience level is? I want to believe that everyone is honest but that is not always how it happens. This is a tough call Terri!
I'm sitting on the fence here. Makes no difference to me either way. I'm not a beginner but don't consider myself a pro either. While I'm no competition against many people here, seeing their work makes me hone my skills so I can be better.
Ok, so would it be silly to group contests by beginner, intermediate and advanced? The problem is, there are so many different scenarios. You've got the beginner who does it all the time, you got someone who's been doing it for years, but on rare occasions and you've got everything in between. So, where do you draw the line?

Deah said:
I'm sitting on the fence here. Makes no difference to me either way. I'm not a beginner but don't consider myself a pro either. While I'm no competition against many people here, seeing their work makes me hone my skills so I can be better.
Personally, I don't think you can draw a line. Even if you set criteria and allowed users to determine where they fall within that criteria there will be those who interpret their skill level different than others and then we'd have more issues.

I hesitate to open this can of worms but what if you do licensed bakers and hobby bakers categories?
I agree with Deah. I think if there were beginner, intermediate, advanced levels I would be less likely to enter anything just because of bickering. I really don't see what the big deal is anyway; it isn't like there are hundreds or thousands of dollars at stake here. I don't believe there are categories in the cake central contests either, most likely for this very reason. Maybe just limit how often you can win in a certain time period (can't win twice in a row?) If the contest wants the best cake, the best cake should win.

I like the idea of liscenced/hobby baker- but it would probably be just as much of a mess unfortunately.

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