Saturday (Oops, Sunday!) Spotlight: 2017 Cookiers' Choice Awards - Winner Reveal!

 

A second week of special Saturday Spotlights! And this one couldn't be more special, as it's our big 2017 Cookiers' Choice Awards winner reveal! (Okay, so it's Sunday now, but who's keeping track?!

If you're not familiar with these awards, they're our annual way of honoring the best and the brightest in the cookie world, and thanking them for how they've enriched our lives during the previous year through their cookie art, products, tutorials, and other contributions. More about the program, our awards categories, and how finalist selections were made can be found here.

As you may or may not know, last week we announced our finalists in two categories, Cookie Artist and Cookier of the Year . . .

CookieArtistFinalistBannerCookierFinalistBanner2017

Since that announcement, our judges have been laboring over their final selections. They have carefully reviewed and re-reviewed (and re-reviewed) the finalists' 2017 accomplishments against our established judging criteria for each category. They have also pored over the bios, personal statements, and universally impressive cookie portfolios (in the case of the Cookie Artist category) submitted by each finalist. I certainly don't envy the judges for the position I put them in - each and every finalist is so exceptionally qualified that the judging was exceedingly difficult. As one judge put it, "It is hard to judge exceptional cookiers like the ones nominated this year. It feels unfair to not choose all of them!" Indeed.

That all being said, an immense thank you to our judges, pictured below, for being so thoughtful and careful throughout their deliberations, and for taking the time to give this process the emphasis it deserves.

Judges2017

And, of course, a HUGE congrats to all of the finalists. Finalists, you have added so much joy, inspiration, and meaning to countless cookiers' lives throughout this past year. I know I speak for many in saying I am so very grateful for what each of you brings to the cookie world.

But, as in any competition, we had to select a single winner in each category, and so on we go toward the big winner reveal . . . but, first, just a quick reminder that each winner will receive a $500 cash prize from Cookie Connection, as well as a commemorative, custom-engraved crystal trophy and a Cookier Close-up feature here on the site. As way of introduction to each winner, I'll also be sharing some representative comments from the judges about why they felt this person or business was especially deserving of the award. And, without further ado, please join me in celebrating our 2017 Cookiers' Choice Awards winners!

Cookiers of the Year

image1Ginny and Doug Levack (aka Creative Cookier): "Clearly, the Levacks have a passion for cookies AND the people who make them. From their niche stenciling products to their Cookie Cruises to their CookieRehab weekends, the Levacks have figured out what cookiers of all levels of experience need and want, and deliver. I love that the Levacks don’t just see cookie artists as customers, but as friends and members of a community. This spirit infuses everything they do, and is, no doubt, the secret to their incredible success in 2017."

"The Levacks aren't just great innovators and product designers . . . they're also great teachers, uniters of the cookie community, and role models for all to follow. They have an unrelenting work ethic and an unwavering moral compass, and their first priority is always doing their very best for the cookiers they serve."

Cookie Artist of the Year

sonja head square bigborderSonja Galmad (aka Sonja Galmad’s Süsse Dekorationen, aka swissophie on this site): "Sonja’s artistry is unrivaled . . . I have never seen cookies that look like hers - they are immediately recognizable and, yet, I also don’t see many cookiers [who] seek to emulate her style because it is so technically difficult. Sonja has mastered so many techniques. Her isomalt work, the intricacy of her piping, the consistency in repeated motifs, the storytelling and characterization, the dimensional construction, the depth in her painting, the innovation of her knitting work - all amount to a stunning and impressive portfolio."

"The depth and breadth of Sonja’s cookie portfolio is staggering. She deftly utilizes so many diverse techniques in her work, producing truly unique works of edible art. Sonja’s use of isomalt has not only taken her own decorating to another level, but has also inspired countless other cookie artists to try the medium as well. Whether it is in her use of isomalt, 3-D cookie creations, or intricately piped royal icing transfers, Sonja is constantly pushing the envelope, and sharing her skills and knowledge with so many others."

And so we conclude our 2017 Cookiers' Choice Awards season. Again, hats off to all of the finalists, and special congrats to the winners! We've got a little under a year 'til our next awards program, so, everyone, get cookie-ing! Who knows, you may just end up here next year!

P.S. ATTENTION, WINNERS: I'll be reaching out personally in the next 24 to 48 hours to say congrats, send your winner's badges, and gather some necessary details to get your prizes to you. Stay tuned!

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I always try to turn my phone to silent til on Sunday mornings so I can sleep in! This Sunday, I forgot and was awakened by my phone frantically "dinging" (not sure that's even a word).  Many of my iincredible Cookier friends (who must know I was sleeping through the announcement) sent me Congratulations!  So right now, I am not sure if this is real or if I am dreaming! (Pinching myself, to be sure I am awake) but it is certainly like a dream to be selected!  Doug is at his other job this morning, but I sent him a text so he could cry, too!  (Yep, more ugly crying going on here)

We are again, humbled, thankful and overjoyed to be a part of this community!

Thank you to the judges who took their personal time and clearly had a monumental task in selecting the winners of both categories.  Speaking of categories, congrats to Sonja on her win as well  

Thank you to ALL the other nominees who bring so much talent and inspiration to our community.  In my eyes you are all winners!

Thank you to ALL my Cookier friends (many are now part of our family).  Without you, well...this could never happen.

Thank you to our families who support us and help us out so much!

Thank you, Julia Usher, for creating Cookie Connection, and these awards.  Your incredible contribution to the community does not go unnoticed and you deserve an award for all you do!

and one last thing...Thank You, Doug Levack for hanging around, working so hard at your "real job" and then coming home and working more hours every night to help our hare brained ideas turn into something so amazing!  You are a keeper, we make a great team! 

Love you all, and again, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! 

Ginny

 

Creative Cookier posted:

I always try to turn my phone to silent til on Sunday mornings so I can sleep in! This Sunday, I forgot and was awakened by my phone frantically "dinging" (not sure that's even a word).  Many of my iincredible Cookier friends (who must know I was sleeping through the announcement) sent me Congratulations!  So right now, I am not sure if this is real or if I am dreaming! (Pinching myself, to be sure I am awake) but it is certainly like a dream to be selected!  Doug is at his other job this morning, but I sent him a text so he could cry, too!  (Yep, more ugly crying going on here)

We are again, humbled, thankful and overjoyed to be a part of this community!

Thank you to the judges who took their personal time and clearly had a monumental task in selecting the winners of both categories.  Speaking of categories, congrats to Sonja on her win as well  

Thank you to ALL the other nominees who bring so much talent and inspiration to our community.  In my eyes you are all winners!

Thank you to ALL my Cookier friends (many are now part of our family).  Without you, well...this could never happen.

Thank you to our families who support us and help us out so much!

Thank you, Julia Usher, for creating Cookie Connection, and these awards.  Your incredible contribution to the community does not go unnoticed and you deserve an award for all you do!

and one last thing...Thank You, Doug Levack for hanging around, working so hard at your "real job" and then coming home and working more hours every night to help our hare brained ideas turn into something so amazing!  You are a keeper, we make a great team! 

Love you all, and again, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! 

Ginny

 

😂 (The closest to an "ugly crying" emoji I could find) Tears come to my eyes too in knowing how much this award means to you and Doug, and others. Well deserved!

Oh goodness! Don’t know what to say! … I just stared at the screen in disbelief for the longest time!!!

@Julia M. Usher, you have my eternal gratitude for making this possible with your oh so tireless work!!! You’ll never know how you’ve helped to enrich my life! I’m so immensely happy to be part of your most wonderful Cookie Connection Family!

And what a huge honor it already was to have been nominated alongside the incredible talents of Teri, Tammy and Angela! Reading how difficult the decision was for the judges, I think we surely are all winners ! Christine @Bakerloo Station, Evelin @Evelindecora@Manu, @Liesbet, and Samantha @Aproned Artist: I can’t thank you enough for everything!!!  

Congratulations to Ginny and Doug of @Creative Cookier for their win!!!

Again my most heartfelt THANK YOU and love to all you wonderful people ❤️❤️❤️!!!

A great big CONGRATULATIONS to you Ginny and Doug!! @Creative Cookier You guys are the BEST and I am so very blessed that our paths have crossed. I feal so honored to know y’all and to spend time with y’all too. You are so deserving of this award, and it is so evident of the abundance of love that you have for all things cookie and all cookiers. CONGRATS my friends!! ❤️

A great big CONGRATULATIONS to you too Sonja!! @swissophie Your work is OUTSTANDING and you so deserve this amazing award. I am so honored to have had a finalist spot next to you my dear. Hopefully our paths will cross one day, but for now I will keep thoroughly enjoying your BEAUTIFUL creations!! May your creativity and talent be continually blessed as you share it with others!! ❤️

Congratulations to all of the Finalists!! It was such an honor to run along side of you all.😍 Keep up the GREAT and AMAZING work and may our work be continually blessed as we grow in our creativity and talents. Let’s rock our cookie world!! ❤️😁

THANK YOU to all of our judges and Julia for all of your hard work. We so appreciate you all. ❤️

 

Let me add my huge congratulations to each and every person nominated and the judges who spent so much time reviewing ("poring") over the vast portfolios of work provided by the finalists!! I agree with @Julia M. Usher, they're ALL winners

Dear Sonja @swissophie, you are not only an extraordinary artist and accomplished cookier but you are also incredibly kind, thoughtful, generous and a beautiful person, whether or not it's related to cookie-ing (is that a word?) ❤️❤️❤️. A huge CONGRATULATIONS to you my dear . This award is so well deserved and I'm absolutely thrilled for you!!

@Creative Cookier, I would like to add my congratulations for all of the contributions you have made in the cookie community! This award is so well deserved as you devote so much time and hard work to help cookiers around the world become better at our craft. Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do!! 

swissophie posted:

Oh goodness! Don’t know what to say! … I just stared at the screen in disbelief for the longest time!!!

@Julia M. Usher, you have my eternal gratitude for making this possible with your oh so tireless work!!! You’ll never know how you’ve helped to enrich my life! I’m so immensely happy to be part of your most wonderful Cookie Connection Family!

And what a huge honor it already was to have been nominated alongside the incredible talents of Teri, Tammy and Angela! Reading how difficult the decision was for the judges, I think we surely are all winners ! Christine @Bakerloo Station, Evelin @Evelindecora@Manu, @Liesbet, and Samantha @Aproned Artist: I can’t thank you enough for everything!!!  

Congratulations to Ginny and Doug of @Creative Cookier for their win!!!

Again my most heartfelt THANK YOU and love to all you wonderful people ❤️❤️❤️!!!

❤️😘 Wonderful, wonderful work, and such a lovely note. Thank you!

Congratulations Sonja, Ginny and Doug, an award so well deserved.

Thank you so much Julia and judges for making this possible.

I  appreciate all who made it possible for me to have been a finalist, such a huge honor.  

Joyfully Teri

Tammy Trahan New Orleans Cookie Company posted:

A great big CONGRATULATIONS to you Ginny and Doug!! @Creative Cookier You guys are the BEST and I am so very blessed that our paths have crossed. I feal so honored to know y’all and to spend time with y’all too. You are so deserving of this award, and it is so evident of the abundance of love that you have for all things cookie and all cookiers. CONGRATS my friends!! ❤️

A great big CONGRATULATIONS to you too Sonja!! @swissophie Your work is OUTSTANDING and you so deserve this amazing award. I am so honored to have had a finalist spot next to you my dear. Hopefully our paths will cross one day, but for now I will keep thoroughly enjoying your BEAUTIFUL creations!! May your creativity and talent be continually blessed as you share it with others!! ❤️

Congratulations to all of the Finalists!! It was such an honor to run along side of you all.😍 Keep up the GREAT and AMAZING work and may our work be continually blessed as we grow in our creativity and talents. Let’s rock our cookie world!! ❤️😁

THANK YOU to all of our judges and Julia for all of your hard work. We so appreciate you all. ❤️

 

Oh, Tammy @Tammy Trahan New Orleans Cookie Company, thanks so much for your wonderful comment! What a sweetheart you are!!! You, Teri, Angela, and many other cookiers out there, equally would have deserved this award! I feel like I just won the big lottery, really .

I so enjoy seeing your breathtaking art, too, and am looking for much more to admire in the future. And yes, hopefully our paths will cross one day . Thanks again so much, sweet lady!!!

Cookies Fantastique by Carol posted:

Let me add my huge congratulations to each and every person nominated and the judges who spent so much time reviewing ("poring") over the vast portfolios of work provided by the finalists!! I agree with @Julia M. Usher, they're ALL winners

Dear Sonja @swissophie, you are not only an extraordinary artist and accomplished cookier but you are also incredibly kind, thoughtful, generous and a beautiful person, whether or not it's related to cookie-ing (is that a word?) ❤️❤️❤️. A huge CONGRATULATIONS to you my dear . This award is so well deserved and I'm absolutely thrilled for you!!

@Creative Cookier, I would like to add my congratulations for all of the contributions you have made in the cookie community! This award is so well deserved as you devote so much time and hard work to help cookiers around the world become better at our craft. Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do!! 

Thank you ever so much for your kind words, Carol @Cookies Fantastique by Carol❣️❣️❣️ I'm so incredibly happy about this award, and so eternally grateful to all who got me here with all their love and support, like I always get it from you, my dear friend ! Thanks a million ❣️❣️❣️

Julia M. Usher posted:
swissophie posted:

Oh goodness! Don’t know what to say! … I just stared at the screen in disbelief for the longest time!!!

@Julia M. Usher, you have my eternal gratitude for making this possible with your oh so tireless work!!! You’ll never know how you’ve helped to enrich my life! I’m so immensely happy to be part of your most wonderful Cookie Connection Family!

And what a huge honor it already was to have been nominated alongside the incredible talents of Teri, Tammy and Angela! Reading how difficult the decision was for the judges, I think we surely are all winners ! Christine @Bakerloo Station, Evelin @Evelindecora@Manu, @Liesbet, and Samantha @Aproned Artist: I can’t thank you enough for everything!!!  

Congratulations to Ginny and Doug of @Creative Cookier for their win!!!

Again my most heartfelt THANK YOU and love to all you wonderful people ❤️❤️❤️!!!

❤️😘 Wonderful, wonderful work, and such a lovely note. Thank you!

Thank YOU again sooooooo much for everything, @Julia M. Usher ❣️❣️❣️

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