Former Adel resident Daphane Trevillyan has been entering food items at the Iowa State Fair since she was 8 years old and has no plans on stopping anytime soon.
"I can really see myself doing this the rest of my life," she said. "Once you’re hooked, you’re hooked for life."
This year, Trevillyan acquired 23 ribbons out of 30 entries consisting of cookies, dessert bars, cakes, bread and salad. The most she has entered in a year was between 50-60 items.
"Every year I try something new in a different category or class," she said. "Then I try to come up with a recipe and make it my own. I’m always thinking about the next thing."
Thinking outside of the box is what 23-year-old Trevillyan does best and has been awarded for her creativity, especially with her double chocolate peanut butter oatmeal cookie creation.
"The double chocolate peanut butter oatmeal cookies actually got 100 percent straight across the board from the judges," she said. "That doesn’t happen very often, or so they say, so for me that was an accomplishment. I strive to improve on a recipe year after year so getting 100 percent really made me proud."
Learning to improve her recipes is Trevillyan’s motivating factor, not money she added.
"The one thing I tell people is that I don’t enter to win; I enter to learn because it’s something I like doing," she said. "Winning is just a bonus. Besides, I’ve been doing it for so long now that I realized that I won’t win everything so you have to do it for the fun of it."
Although she is in it for the experience, Trevillyan said entering multiple items can be very costly.
"I will honestly say that one trip to the grocery store can be at least $250 for only five or 10 items," she said. "In the cookie category, there are nuts and chocolate chips which aren’t cheap. Every year I haven’t made more (at the fair) than what I’ve purchased in groceries so that just goes to show that I’m not in it for the money."
In order to hone in on her skill, she says she surrounds herself with people who have had an extensive background in baking and cooking. "I surround myself with people who have been in the kitchen for years and that has improved my baking as well as my presentation," she said. "They teach you a lot about the kitchen and food in general."
She also lives by not freezing her baked goods.
"Some people freeze their food and pull it out a few days before the competition; however, I’m not comfortable freezing my food," she said. "Everything I make is fresh. It’s not wrong freezing food, but it just fits my lifestyle making the food fresh."
Even more rewarding to Trevillyan is her push for more fair contests to gear for those with special needs.
"My family sponsored three classes–Buddy Up, A Favorite Family Recipe and zart1312 Edible Wedding Creations–geared toward those with special needs," she said. "Special needs kids don’t have the ability, in my mind, to do the same things necessarily that the average person does because some can’t put something in the oven or microwave due to their bodily functions. We gave out medals to participants and they latched onto those like it was gold; It’s been such a fun experience seeing them compete."
If Trevillyan’s plate doesn’t seem full enough, she also is a full-time real estate agent, works for Link Associates and helps at her mother’s event business, zart1312, on the weekends.
"There’s not a time in my life that I’m not working or doing something," she said. "I like to stay busy."
However, she says she will always make time to enter items into the Iowa State Fair.
"Going to the fair and taking something absolutely amazing is so rewarding for me so I will keep entering," she said.