Cher Harris, executive pastry chef at The Hotel Hershey in Hershey, PA, has won the Ladies’ World Pastry Championship, one of the most prestigious awards for women within the pastry industry. Harris competed at the Jan. 18-20 event in Rimini, Italy, held in conjunction with the 35th Salone Internazionale Gelateria, Pasticceria E Panificazione Artigianali (SIGEP, International Exhibition for the Artisan Production of Gelato, Pastry, Confectionery and Bakery).

She represented the U.S. as one of 11 contestants, each from a different country. Other countries represented were Belarus, Brazil, Columbia, Croatia, France, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Russia and Switzerland. The Ladies’ World Pastry Championship is held every two years and is an event only for female pastry chefs from around the world.

“This has been a crazy experience; it’s surreal,” says Harris. “Everyone at SIGEP has been treating me like I’m famous. I’ve been invited back to be the lead judge for the next Pastry Queen competition.”