Yet another Loganville chef is showing her culinary expertise on the national stage.
Tara Tomlinson of in Loganville was finally given permission to let it be known that she and her cupcakes would feature in Season 3 of the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars.
“Our episode airs June 14, which is the first episode,” Tomlinson said, adding anything more than that has to be kept under wraps in accordance with a very strict confidentiality agreement they had to sign with the Food Network. “We couldn’t even tell our children when we went to Los Angeles to film it.”
Like Loganville Chef Nona Sivley who not only competed in but won Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen last year, Tomlinson can’t say whether she and her husband, Brad Tomlinson, who is co-owner in the Loganville bakery, went on to win it or not.
“There are 13 episodes beginning June 14,” Tomlinson said. “We are the only bakery in the Atlanta area to ever appear on the show. There was one other contestant from Georgia before, but they were from Tybee Island.”
In Cupcakes Wars, each week four of what the network terms “the country’s top cupcake bakers” face off in three elimination challenges and the opportunity to showcase their cupcakes and take home the $10,000 prize money. Included in the challenges is baking 1,000 cupcakes for the Kentucky Derby.
Sugar Kneads is now in a new location in the Sizemore Plaza next to in the Gwinnett County side of Loganville. Tomlinson said they are planning a grand re-opening and celebration of their participation in Cupcake Wars on June 18.
“We are also having a Cupcake Eating contest and other fun activities to raise money for the , the and Walton County Emergency Services,” Tomlinson said.
The rise of Sugar Kneads to its place on the national stage has been quicker than even Tomlinson and her husband expected. They purchased Sugar Kneads, which was at that time also a gift store, from the previous owners in 2008. Prior to that, Tomlinson was working as a waitress at night to be at home with her children during the day and her husband was working in construction. The couple has three daughters, 6, 10 and 15.
“When the youngest went to school, I wanted to do something and I’ve always baked,” she said, adding it was the influence of her late grandmother who taught her to bake that prompted her to consider a career in the field. “I didn’t cook until I got married, but I always baked. We would stand on little stools and bake with her.”
Tomlinson said as work in construction dried up in the current economy, her husband gradually spent more and more time helping her in the bakery, eventually joining her full time. The company now employs 12 people, some full time and others part time, and has had to move to a larger facility.
It remains to be seen whether Tomlinson will follow in Sivley’s footsteps and walk off with the top prize, but in the meantime foodies in the area can again follow a local culinary celebrity on national television.