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Local food businesses to face off in Battle of the Brands

Nearly 20 small-scale Baltimore food producers will turn up the heat at the first Battle of the Brands set for Aug. 23 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Accelerator Space.

The renovated Mid-Govans events venue will host the teams as they chop, stir and bake their way to the titles of Best Savory, Best Sweet, Best Overall and People’s Choice.

The public is invited to the competition and to judge the People’s Choice category. Tickets cost $5 and include sampling the entries, a DJ, local Full Tilt beer and Counselor Coffee cold brew. There is also complementary valet service.

The competing brands are all part of the B-More Kitchen food incubator housed in the same 5609 Hess Ave. building where the competition will take place. The incubator offers shared production space to local up-and-coming food businesses.

The lineup features WOOT! Granola, B’More Saucy, Hiatus Cheesecake, Poppy Rose Kitchen & Co. and Ray’s Pork Rinds. The winning brands will receive bragging rights and prizes.

The judges will be David Thomas of Ida B’s Table, business strategist Martha Lucius, owner of D.C.’s Whisked! Jenna Huntsberger and Baltimore-based food writer and chef Allison Robicelli.

“I’m super-excited about this. I remember when I started my own brand a decade ago, it takes a lot of guts to start a brand and a lot of passion,” Robicelli said. “It’s going to be hard to choose between everybody because there’s so much great artisinal food coming out of Baltimore right now.”

One such brand is A Friendly Bread, founded a year and a half ago by Woodberry resident Lane Levine.

Levine hopes the exposure will bring him more direct delivery customers in addition to those he sees at his three markets.

Levine’s baker will be preparing a pumpkin seed rosemary sourdough to compete in the savory category — the easier fit for a loaf.

“When you have one date in your slice of bread, that doesn’t really measure up to a cupcake,” joked Levine, who cannot be present at the competition. “I think I offer a humble but impactful product so I think it’s very dependent on what type of attitude the judges bring to the table.”

While Levine plans to stick with his proven recipe, Jamillah Muhammad, 39, owner of Taste this Cake, will take a risk in the sweets competition.

“One of the things that Baltimore loves besides my cakes is my bread pudding,” the Gwynn Oak resident said. “I will have a classic and then something new. It’s a risk, but it’s the best way for me to get feedback on my new flavor.”

Muhammad hasn’t decided on the new flavor but said there’s a good chance she’ll draw from her Southern roots in hopes of besting other bakers.

“I don’t like to say that I’m a competitor, but I do like to win,” she said. “I’m just a nurse that likes to bake. It’s nice to put something out to the world against some of these people who are actually trained.”

The full list of brands includes:

  • Taste This Cake
  • WOOT! Granola
  • B'More Saucy
  • Gundalow Gourmet
  • Well Crafted Kitchen
  • Hiatus Cheesecake
  • Wholesome Nibbles
  • K&B WholeBody Solutions
  • Tablefield Catering
  • Ajwa Date Delicacies
  • Hiyah Bars
  • Schroll's Gourmet
  • A Friendly Bread
  • Poppy Rose Kitchen & Co.
  • Syriana Cafe
  • Felici Cafe
  • Ray's Pork Rinds
  • Jia Homecooking
  • Papi Cuisine

amuckerman@baltsun.com

twitter.com/annamuckerman

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