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[MIDTOWN | HERITAGE HILL] First cupcake eat-off fueled by Nantucket this Saturday

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

Nantucket cupcakes are roughly three inches tall and four inches in diameter.

Nantucket cupcakes are roughly three inches tall and four inches in diameter. /Denise Cheng

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Poster design by Nick Stygstra. Click image to enlarge.

Poster design by Nick Stygstra. Click image to enlarge.

What began as a joke will become a reality this Saturday morning. Hot dogs, crack fries, chili, and barbeque, in the spirit of food competitions, a new one has arrived on the scene: Nantucket Baking Company's first cupcake eat-off to benefit God's Kitchen.

"We were just joking one day and said 'I wonder how many cupcakes one of us can eat.' And it just became one of those things like wouldn't it be fun to have a cupcake contest," said Haley McNeil, Nantucket's manager and pastry chef. "It actually just all fell together."

In a month's time, Haley had signed on Nantucket/Martha's Vineyard owner Kameel Chamelly, cleared use of Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation's parking lot, rallied four willing contestants, and coaxed a poster out of Nick Stygstra, a Martha's coworker who specializes in design.

Contestants for the eat-off are Haley, Rockwell's executive chef Nick Natale, Founders' kitchen manager Justin Golinski, Martha's head wine salesman Peter Eizel, and Nantucket baker James Stubbleton.

"They're all actually local companies or people who are our clients," Haley said. Founders is Nantucket's biggest account. "We picked some local people that a lot of people know or they go to that restaurant and associate; thought it would be a fun community thing."

The eat-off will be across the street from Nantucket at the church parking lot. Each contestant will have a dozen cupcakes to scarf down in seven minutes. Nantucket counter staff will ask the gathering crowd for donations. A cupcake stand will also be set up outside of Nantucket, and a part of the proceeds will go to God's Kitchen.

"I think everybody thinks they can eat more than we are going to be able to," Haley said. "I think Jim's got a really good shot. He's probably got the biggest sweet tooth of the bunch, but there are a couple of them that are super competitive."

Haley would have liked to open up the competition to more customers, but since this is the first eat-off, she had logistics to consider.

"I just don't know how many to make and I was afraid that [the bakery] being so small, it's hard to be able to make that many cupcakes. If I had a hundred people sign up, that would be hard to make a hundred-dozen cupcakes," Haley said.

Haley will adjust the structure for the second annual eat-off from lessons learned if this weekend's event is successful. The cupcake eat-off starts at 10 a.m. this Saturday at the Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation's parking lot (540 Crescent NE).

"Everybody loves cupcakes and it's such a fun thing to watch versus the hot dog eating contests that are kind of gross," Haley said. "Cupcakes will be a little more fun and less disturbing to watch."


**UPDATE: Nantucket donated $500 to God's Kitchen.


Compiled by Denise Cheng, MNA board member

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I just put two and two together. I've developed a sweet tooth in Michigan, and I've noticed a trend when I ask people what the best cookie is in town: Haley's Comet. I thought this was some sort of astronomical reference, and while it probably is, I just realized it's Haley McNeil!

The results are in! Jim Stubbleton took the lead with 5.3 cupcakes while the rest of the contestants put down between 3-4.5 cupcakes.

Due to heavy rain, the eat-off was moved to Martha's Vineyard. There were approximately 20 onlookers. Cupcakes will be sold at Martha's all day, and proceeds will benefit God's Kitchen.



 Wine from Cupcake Vineyards flanked the competition space. Complete coincidence, apparently.


The challengers dig in. Left to right: Haley McNeil, Nick Natale, Peter Eizel, Jim Stubbleton, Justin Golinski.


 Haley McNeil finished fourth, stomaching 3.5 cupcakes.



Nick Natale and Peter Eizel double-fist it.


Justin Golinski's sticky fingers.


Winner Jim Stubbleton with frosting on his beard.


Nick Natale's leftover cupcakes, sprinkled with the carcasses of cupcakes that have come before.