The funny thing about 24-year-old local pastry chef Carter Holton winning the Star Wars Cake Challenge on the Food Network Challenge series last week is that the competition required Holton and his three competitors -- all bakery owners and professional cake designers -- to create a cake based on a character from the Star Wars film series. And Holton had never seen one of the films.
"I had to learn a ton about Star Wars after we got the assignment," Holton says. "But until then, I had never seen any of the movies. I've since seen a couple of them. They're OK. You know, it's science fiction."
Last Sunday, Holton invited 75 of his nearest and dearest friends into his new loft in the Stuart Hall building to watch the airing of the Food Network episode -- filmed last March -- in which he won the grand prize: $10,000 and the opportunity to re-create his cake -- featuring C-3P0 -- at Walt Disney World last May.
The May event was the official opening of a re-vamped Star Tours 3-D theme ride at the Walt Disney Hollywood Studios park; Holton was invited for a six-day, five-night stay at the theme park: "I brought along my Mom and Dad and my assistant Sylvia Wilson and her partner," says Holton. "We got to meet Anthony Daniels, the actor who played C-3P0 in the movies."
Although Holton is a bit richer and slightly more famous than he was before winning the TV competition, he continues to live and work in Kansas City: he's still the pastry chef for Le Fou Frog and teaches artisan breads and baking at the Art Institutes International -- Kansas City.