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We are pleased to have the 2020 Chocolate Ball Chocolate Cake Competition winners as our guests for the Chocolate Ball broadcast.

Mina Hoyt

Mina Hoyt, University of Rochester

Where are you from?  
I am from Greece, NY. 

Have you always been a chef?  If not, what else have you done?  
I knew I wanted to be a chef since I was 10 years old because I always loved baking and decorating. I wanted to be an artist and work in a chocolate factory when I was a little girl so essentially, I mixed the two together and became a pastry chef! There was a brief amount of time when I went back to college to become a veterinarian but decided that it just wasn’t for me! 

What was your introduction to cooking/baking? 
I come from a LARGE Persian and Italian family and baking, and cooking have been a huge part of my life. Between making Italian cookies with my aunts and Iranian cooking with my father I was destined to have this as my career.   

Where and how did you train? 
I went to vocational school for half a day in high school for Pastry and Baking at We-Mo-Co. 

Do you like cooking at home or prefer someone else do it? 
I LOVE cooking at home. I am baking all day at my job so when I get home (if I have the time LOL!) it’s my release!! I also don’t trust my husband to do anything dealing with cooking other than grilling! (Sorry sweetie!) He is the best dishwasher for after hurricane Mina rolls through! 

What is your favorite thing to bake?   
Favorite sweet to eat? Brownies with all edges! And my favorite sweet are COOKIES! Anything chocolate basically!! 

Is there a chef you admire the most?  Who and why?  
I admire two chefs: Tammy Fuchs and Kelly Scott.  Both always take their baked goods to the next level! Tammy is AMAZING at sugar work and she is truly an inspiration to me!  Kelly always pushes her limits.  She did an UPSIDE-DOWN cake a couple of years ago and my mind was completely blown because I would never attempt that! 

What is your favorite food?  
Don’t make me choose!  In no particular order I like tacos, pizza, macaroni and cheese (homemade), and kebab with basmati rice! 

When it comes to working and creativity, are you an early bird or a night owl?  
I am a night owl! I swear my best work happens at midnight! 

What is the one kitchen item you absolutely can’t do without?  
My blow torch! 


Kelly Scott

Kelly Scott, Get Caked!
274 Goodman Street N b132, Rochester, NY 14607
(585) 319-4314
getcakedroc.com

How many years have you participated in the Chocolate Ball?
Since 2014 – 7 years!

Why do you participate in the Chocolate Ball?
My step-son and uncle both have epilepsy.

Where are you from?  
I am born and raised in Rochester, NY. 

Have you always been a chef?  If not, what else have you done?  
Before starting my business, I worked in retail as a Loss Prevention Manager.  I also have experience in the veterinary/animal care industry. 

What was your introduction to cooking/baking?  
I grew up cooking and baking with my parents and fell back into it when I was 19.  I discovered my love for baking and decorating. 

Where and how did you train?  
I’ve taken Wilton classes as well as studied culinary arts at Monroe Community College. I am mostly self-taught with decorating techniques. 

Do you like cooking at home or prefer someone else do it?  
I LOVE cooking and usually don’t want assistance, haha! I do also enjoy having food made for me, but I have major dietary restrictions so it’s just easier for me to cook for myself. 

What is your favorite thing to bake?  Favorite sweet to eat?  
My favorite thing to bake is probably cookies or fruit crisps because those are my favorite to eat!! I also love eclairs or cream puffs and I am a sucker for gummies.  

Is there a chef you admire the most?  Who and why? 
I LOVE Gordon Ramsay because of his passion for food and excellence (as well as his personality!) 

What is your favorite food?  
Hard to say, I have a lot of favorites. Probably pizza, but I can’t have it anymore! 

When it comes to working and creativity, are you an early bird or a night owl?  
I am definitely a night owl but as soon as I get up my brain runs at full speed ahead.  

What is the one kitchen item you absolutely can’t do without?  
I would be lost without my knives!  I can’t do anything without them! 

When you’re not baking, what do you like to do?
I love to garden!


Melissa Savino

Melissa Savino, The Cake Place
64 E Main Street #1, Avon, NY 14414
(585) 226-2205 | thecakeplaceavon@gmail.com
thecakeplaceavon.com

Where are you from?  
I am from Avon, NY. 

Have you always been a chef?  If not, what else have you done?  
I worked at a small Catholic School for 15 years and for the Livingston County Chamber of Commerce (I love helping other small businesses reach for their dreams).  I became a chef at age 49!  I made cakes and desserts as a hobby for my daughter’s Varsity and AAU Sports teams. Friends started requesting cakes – then people I did not know started requesting them!! It grew from there!  This is particularly amazing given that my mom, who will readily admit this, is the worst cook ever!  She even cooked an Easter Ham with the plastic still on one year!   

What was your introduction to cooking/baking?  
I learned on my own by trial and error. I worked on perfecting recipes and flavor profiles. It is an ever-evolving process. 

Where and how did you train?  
I didn’t have any formal training and literally watched Food Network to get started.  I still watch it all the time – so many great ideas! 

Do you like cooking at home or prefer someone else do it?  
My husband cooks at home!! 

What is your favorite thing to bake?  Favorite sweet to eat? 
I love making a good triple chocolate cake!  My favorite sweet to eat is creme brulee. 

Is there a chef you admire the most? 
I admire all chefs! The tireless time and effort that is put into the desserts that are created, the individual talents of each chef, the commitment to excellence and the balancing of family time and “chef” time.  I admire anyone who works hard in this business! 

What is your favorite food?  
I don’t really have a favorite, but I do love Chicken French, and anything grilled outside in the summer. 

When it comes to working and creativity, are you an early bird or a night owl?  
I am an “ideas-in-the-middle-of-the-night” person and a “making-the-ideas-happen” person in the early morning! 

What is the one kitchen item you absolutely can’t do without?  
My fondant smoother.  I have named him “Brownie” and he traveled to California for Cake Wars with me!  I am amazed he has not gotten lost!