Shaniah Garrick

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — Winthrop University students and alumni got the chance to show off their baking skills and compete for prizes, including free desserts, at an event inspired by the Netflix original baking competition series “Nailed It!”

The DiGiorgio Student Union presented “Nailed That!” for the first time, which was modeled after the show that asks contestants to recreate edible masterpieces in a limited amount of time.

The Netflix show — which includes host and judge Nicole Byer, pastry chef Jacques Torres and various special guests — also features poor bakers who are trying to learn to become better pastry chefs and win a cash prize.

“I thought the event would be a great idea to allow students to express themselves through a medium you wouldn’t normally expect. It’s a healthy rivalry event and you get to enjoy some sweets while competing,” said Niya James, who hosted the event for DSU.

Similar to the series, students got the chance to compete head-to-head to replicate pictures of professional masterpieces, such as pumpkin-shaped or turkey-shaped cakes, using materials provided by DSU.

Contestants weren’t asked to actually bake, but they were given 10 minutes to replicate the pictures using items like cake, cupcakes, fondant icing and food coloring.

They were also asked to use their creativity and make the designs their own, in order to impress the three judges from DSU.

Rodney Gibson, a DSU committee member who served as a judge, said he was looking for “creativity or how close to the original idea” the finished product became.

“I like food and that is the key reason why (I participated),” said Gibson. However, he said he was disappointed he didn’t get to eat as much cake as he thought he might.

“I still got to eat a little bit, but I thought I was going to eat food for most of this,” said Gibson.

Freshman Lily Fremed said she was drawn to the event, because she loves the Netflix show.

“I’ve always liked baking and it’s funny watching other people fail, but I would probably end up doing the same thing,” said Fremed.

“I know I could bake well, but the decorating part, as today kind of showed, it depends on what it is,” she said. “I could probably do okay, not great.”

However, Fremed did pretty well, considering she was named the winner of both the second and final rounds of the competition.

Janei Bethea, a Winthrop graduate, said she came back to campus to test her decorating skills.

“It was fun. I got to put a little thing together and make it look cute. I got to do a pumpkin (cake) and a whole turkey (cake); that was an experience I never did before,” said Bethea, who won the first round of competition.

“I learned that I am not as bad as I thought I am, but I’m not very good either,” she said with a laugh.

Regardless, the judges did their best to encourage every participant, no matter how good or bad the final product.

Thus, after each item was judged, the judges made sure to tell the contestant they “nailed that!”

James said the DSU committee members hope to make the competition a recurring event, especially during the holidays.