Sussex native advances in Food Network cake competition

Ebonie Carzo, left, and Courtney Olivari have teamed up to advance through two rounds of the Food Network’s Wedding Cake Championship. (Submitted photo)

GREENWOOD — Two down, two to go.

Baking skills inherited while working in her mom’s Greenwood bakery and a passion for small business have put 2002 Woodbridge High School graduate Ebonie Carzo in the Food Network spotlight.

Ms. Carzo, owner of Scrumptious Cakery in Decatur, Georgia, and baking partner Courtney Olivari, owner of CEO Custom Cakes & Novelties LLC in Atlanta, have teamed up in advancing through two challenging rounds of the four-round Food Network “Wedding Cake Championship.”

At stake: a $25,000 grand prize for the winning team.

“Fingers crossed …,” said Ms. Carzo. “We’re going to split it right down the middle … if we were to win.”

“We make cakes for some of Atlanta’s elite from celebrities, politicians, athletes,” says Ms. Olivari.

“We bring the ‘wow’ factor to every cake that we put our hands on,” Ms. Carzo said.

As per rules of television shows taped in advance, contestants are not at liberty to divulge outcomes. So, tune in for the third round Monday at 10 p.m.

Ms. Carzo and Ms. Olivari were among six teams selected for the “Wedding Cake Championship.”

“Food Network chose some of the most unique bakers from across the country to come in and compete,” said Ms. Carzo.

The show is co-hosted by former Olympic figure skating champions Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir.

“They were amazing,” said Ms. Carzo. “They are awesome.”

Each round has two segments. The first competition focuses on cake toppers.

“In the second round they bring in a newly engaged couple and they tell us what type of wedding cake they want designed, the theme and all the things they want, in the actual cake flavor as well as the design. We are given five hours to execute that,” said Mr. Carzo.

“Every episode they introduce a new bride and groom, and they give us their requirements and we execute a new wedding cake for each bride and groom.”

Woodbridge High graduate Ebonie Carzo owns Scrumptious Cakery, a virtual bakery near Atlanta. Her clientele includes well-known R&B artists, government officials and gospel artists.

“Typically, a day in the life of a bakery you’re going to have your bake days, your prep days and your decorating days. So, in the competition all of that has been to be done within five hours,” said Ms. Carzo.

“It really does take skill and knowledge to be able to come up with a plan and bake and decorate a whole wedding cake in five hours.”

Conditions on the set where all four rounds were filmed differed greatly from Ms. Carzo’s home kitchen for her Scrumptious Cakery business.

“We were actually competing inside of a tent in hot weather. So, it’s not your typical baking conditions where you are in a cold kitchen. I keep my kitchen around 60 degrees because those conditions are good when you’re working with butter and sugar and things like that, so nothing melts,” Ms. Carzo said.

“That was part of the experience in having very hot conditions. It was probably about 90 degrees.”

Scrumptious Cakery is a virtual bakery near Atlanta. Her clientele includes well-known R&B artists, government officials and gospel artists.

Ms. Carzo flew home to Greenwood to view the June 10 airing of the second round. Greenwood is home to Paula’s Place for Cakes — her mother’s bakery that has been “serving exquisitely beautiful and delectable cakes” on the Eastern Shore since 1988.

Ms. Carzo has been in the cake-making trade for about 5½ years. It followed her career in the corporate world.

On the set of the Food Network’s “Wedding Cake Championship”, from left, Ebonie Carzo, show co-hosts Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir and Ms. Carzo’s teammate Courtney Olivari.

“My mom has a bakery in Greenwood. She has been in business for 31 years. She is very well known all throughout Sussex and Kent County,” said Ms. Carzo.

“So, I grew up in a bakery. Saturdays, she always had me up early working, and I swore I was never going to work in a bakery because I did not like getting up early on Saturdays. So, when I graduated from Woodbridge I left and went to Spelman College in Atlanta and graduated there and got a master’s in business. I worked in Corporate America until 2013.”

In 2013 she left the corporate world to open her bakery full-time.

“I was doing cakery on the side just to make some extra money,” Ms. Carzo said. “I realized working in the corporate world that I am truly an entrepreneur and I love everything about small business. So, I fell back on the skills I learned from my mom and opened my own virtual bakery.”

A virtual bakery is a new concept, she said. “We don’t have a physical location for people to come in and out. We’re more of a cake studio,” Ms. Carzo said. “We get orders from online and actually deliver out all across the Southeast region. We have clients in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Florida.”

Sorry Delawareans, her scrumptious cakes are not shipped to the First State. But other non-cake products can be shipped to Delaware.

Classmates and friends may remember Ms. Carzo from her high school days at Woodbridge.

“I was born in Seaford, grew up in Greenwood and went to Woodbridge. I was drum major three years and all that good stuff,” she said.

Ms. Carzo views her cakery business and Food Network experience as a testament that you don’t have to come from a huge metropolis to achieve success and notoriety.

“Coming from a small town like Greenwood, a lot of times people don’t really see or realize we can do big things coming from a small town. Everywhere I go people don’t really know about Delaware. Even though Joe Biden kind of put us on the map, they still aren’t sure where Delaware is,” said Ms. Carzo.

“So, I just want to inspire more folks from ‘Slower Lower,’ whatever your dreams are to go out, make a plan and you can be anything that you aspire to be.”

More information on Scrumptious Cakery is available at www.scrumptiouscakery.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/scrumptiouscakery/.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment