Zach Martinucci named each batch of his sourdough bread after the characters in the TV show “Westworld” – Abernathy, Bernard and Maeve.
Maeve – a rosemary sourdough loaf with roasted pumpkin seeds, polenta and olive oil – was one of the two breads the fourth-year anthropology student featured at “Spoon UCLA: The Great College Bake Off,” hosted by Spoon University on Tuesday. In its debut year, the bake-off included Martinucci and 19 other UCLA students, who presented their dishes in Dickson Plaza.
Attendees judged the dishes and voted for winners in five categories: Best in Show, Most Creative, Best Made on The Hill, Best Drunchies and Best Vegan. Dishes included peanut butter chocolate brownies, vegan cookie butter cupcakes and s’more cupcakes.
Students voted Georgina Teuten’s vegan cookie butter cupcakes as Best In Show. The cupcakes also tied for Best Vegan with Olivia Alegria’s lemon cookies. Martinucci’s sourdough bread, self-titled “Zach’s Loaf,” won Most Creative while Rachel Lee’s gooey s’more brownies claimed Best Made on The Hill. Finally, Dinan Guan proved victorious in the battle for Best Drunchies with her red velvet cookies.
Local businesses such as Cookie Good, Koala T Café, Diddy Riese, TLT Food and SpireWorks provided gift baskets, cookie tins and gift cards as prizes for the winners.
“We’re just really hoping to bring the community together and bring good food to campus,” said event organizer Amali Curry, a third-year political science student.
Judging for the event was open to all students. Participants received four tickets, which they could exchange to sample four baked goods. After sampling dishes, students cast their votes for their favorite dishes in each of the categories. If they only tried one dish in a category, they could decide to vote for that dish in its category or not vote in the category at all.
Third-year political science student Joy McCreary sampled a Guinness cupcake with Baileys frosting. She said the chocolate cupcake had a strong hazelnut flavor and its thick layer of frosting tasted just like the Irish cream-based drink of the same name.
“Honestly it was so good,” McCreary said. “One of my favorite cupcakes I have ever eaten, and I consider myself a cupcake queen.”
First-year biology student Valerie Stewart and first-year undeclared student Kristen Yim sampled the peanut butter chocolate brownie, the vegan caramel cupcake and the vanilla surprise cupcake. The vanilla surprise cupcake featured vanilla cake topped with chocolate frosting and sprinkles, with an Oreo “surprise” on the bottom.
“Definitely a surprise,” Stewart said. “I’ve never had cupcakes with Oreos inside.”
Fourth-year economics student Nisha Sunku was walking back from her Spanish lecture when she saw students lining up in Dickson Plaza. She stopped to taste Martinucci’s sourdough bread and the s’more cupcake. She said that she preferred the sourdough bread because it provided a savory contrast to the sweeter options available. The loaf was extremely moist and the bread’s chocolate accents were an unexpected spin on classic sourdough, she said.
Curry said the event was a success for Spoon University – almost all of the food was gone within two hours of the event. She added the UCLA chapter hopes to hold the event next year with even more bakers.