Avi Sekerel owner of Prosecco Café (Palm Beach Gardens) and Saquella Café (Boca Raton) hosted his second annual cookie decorating contest and holiday toy collection event this weekend at both locations. The toy drive will benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Palm Beach County and the Palm Beach Children’s Hospital at St. Mary’s Medical Center. Sekerel and his team of bakers at Prosecco and Saquella provided the handmade holiday cookies as well as the icing, sprinkles and colored sugar for the children to decorate the cookies. The cookies ranged in various holiday shapes; gingerbread men and women, Christmas trees, Hanukkah dreidels, and other holiday shapes. The contest was free, and open to children of all ages. The contestants were asked to bring at least one new, unwrapped toy to be donated. I was invited to be a judge at the Saquella Café contest held on Sunday.
The children who took part in the contest ranged in age from 3-11 years old; the decorating talent reflected the precious ages from wonderful to endearing with many of the children focusing on abstract art, such as 4-year old Griffin’s Gingerbread Man below. Various layers of sugar seemed to be the general theme.
One of my favorites was 5 year old Hayden’s “Grouchy Santa” I believe the thought process here was, first he was Santa then Hayden wanted to make a Grinch cookie, so she combined the two, and Voilà! Grouchy Santa, (thus the green face)
All the children did a very good job of “staying in the lines” of the cookie. Some went for the minimalist look.
While others strongly believe that more is better.
There were three top winners, receiving a monetary cash prize, $75 for first place, $50 for second place and $25 for third place. And for all the honorable mentions each received a $1 for their effort and talent. Every child was a winner at the cookie decorating contest at Saquella Cafe Boca Raton.
These two hours at the cookie contest lightened my heavy heart but it was the story of First Place Winner 11-year old Camden that truly made my heart swell with joy. Camden is a very polite young man with exceptional manners, so much so that I approached his mother to tell her what a great job she is doing raising her son. She told me they were visiting Camden’s grandmother in Boca Raton and she told them about the cookie decorating contest and to head over to Royal Palm Plaza to check it out. Camden’s mom told me, that earlier this week Camden was cut from the basketball team at school and was very sad and disappointed, as I’m sure you can imagine. I turned to Camden and said; “you know why you won, because you’re #1 Camden, you were the very best today and you deserved to win first place.” Camden’s little face lit up like a Christmas Tree and Camden’s mom’s eyes filled up with tears of joy. I could not have been happier to give my time yesterday knowing somehow I made a positive difference in a child’s life with just a few words. With the extreme pain and sadness of Newtown shrouding us, there are beautiful twinkles of light and love all around to lift our spirits and I am very lucky to have had a part of that shared with me this weekend.
Prosecco Café: 4580 PGA Blvd, Palm Beach Gardens.
Saquella Café: 410 Via De Palmas, Boca Raton.