Siblings win Food Network's Cupcake Wars
While most people gathered to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday night, friends at the home of The Sweet Lobby founders, Winnette McIntosh Ambrose and brother Timothy McIntosh, could not wait for the game to end. They were eager to watch the siblings compete on the Food Network's show that pits cupcake vs. cupcake in a tasty competition, Cupcake Wars! After three intense rounds, the siblings, originally from Trinidad, put their science degrees to the test to win the $10,000 prize.
"I think our engineering background uniquely influences our approach to baking," said McIntosh Ambrose. "We leveraged creativity, a global perspective and an understanding of scientific principles to gain a tasteful advantage."
McIntosh Ambrose, who has Bachelor's degrees in Chemical Engineering, French Language and Literature from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University, is a self-taught baker. While studying French in Paris, McIntosh Ambrose became so intrigued by the sophisticated and delicate craft of French patisseries that she began developing her own recipes. Younger brother Timothy, also a MIT Chemical Engineering graduate, shares the passion. In June 2011, they founded The Sweet Lobby, a boutique bakery blocks from the nation's Capitol. The term "Lobby" refers to the various meeting and showcase areas on MIT's campus. The store, about the size of a hallway, is designed to highlight their signature French, gluten-free macarons, gourmet cupcakes, shortbread, European-style hot chocolate and other treats. "Consistent with the obvious political connotation," said McIntosh Ambrose, "we strive to be the ultimate advocate for your sweet tooth."
During the Chinese New Years themed show, The Sweet Lobby team faced three rounds of challenges. The first required them to use three of over 12 exotic Chinese cooking ingredients provided. However, the over-achievers impressed the judges by using five items to create a fresh ginger, five-spice cupcake with red bean mousse filling, lychee buttercream and a ginger caramel drizzle.
The second challenge was to prepare, within 75 minutes, three additional Chinese inspired cupcakes. The results: Fire-breathing Chocolate Dragon, Sesame Chestnut Mountain and Green Tea Jade Lantern. Unfortunately, the clock beat the McIntosh's and they were unable to finish the delicate cupcake toppings. Nevertheless, judges were so captivated by the taste and partial presentation that the team was spared elimination.
For the final challenge, the McIntosh's overcame their time issues to completed a stunning display of 1,000 intricately adorned cupcakes displayed on an impressive multi-tiered pagoda that impressed both the judges and the competition.
"Being on Cupcakes Wars was amazing and we're excited about the opportunity to introduce the world to our approach and our products," said McIntosh Ambrose.