Carnival Cruise Lines hosted four of the country’s top pastry chefs on a seven-day cruise aboard the Carnival Dream during which they experienced a series of exhilarating and memorable shore excursions that provided inspiration for their extraordinary creations featured on the December 19 episode of Food Network Challenge:  Sugar Destinations. 

Food Network Challenge is a highly popular, long-running show on Food Network, which pits professional-chef competitors against each other to create incomparable feats in their food specialty.

This episode’s competition has the chefs experiencing four of Carnival Dream’s signature shore excursions and then creating edible sugar masterpieces that bring them to life.  The featured shore excursions include a Catamaran and Snorkel adventure in the crystal blue waters off Cozumel, Mexico; a Dolphin Encounter experience in lush Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras; an exotic Lost World Canopy Tour and Zipline adventure in Belize, and a fascinating visit to the Chacchoben Mayan Ruins deep in the tropical rain forest near Costa Maya, Mexico.  Each excursion provided inspiration for one of the astonishing feats of confectionary and sugar created by the competing chefs.

Contestants Chris Hanmer, owner of The School of Pastry Design, Las Vegas, Nev.;  Matt James, from the Everglades Country Club, Palm Beach, Fla.; Orlando Santos, from The Duquesne Club, Pittsburgh, Penn., and Tracy Dewitt from Le Cordon Bleu College, Scottsdale, Ariz., are judged by Carnival Cruise Lines’ Director of Advertising Jennifer Vandekreeke, as well as two highly-esteemed sugar-crafting experts.

To be successful, each chef must capture the extraordinary beauty and tropical ambiance of the Caribbean while evoking the magic of their own personal experience during their Carnival Dream shore excursion. The first prize winner receives $10,000.

 “Judging the competition was fascinating,” says Vandekreeke.  “I never knew you could do such amazing things with a raw ingredient like sugar.  It was exciting to hear how much they enjoyed their Carnival cruise and all the new experiences they had during their week.  The hardest part was choosing a winner.”

 See how the competing chefs’ sugar depictions of the Carnival Dream’s shore excursions fare at the judging table by tuning in to Food Network Challenge: Sugar Destinations on December 19that 8 p.m. EDT/PDT.

The 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream operates seven-day eastern and western Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral, Fla.  Carnival Dream is currently the newest ship in Carnival’s fleet and offers a wide range of innovative on-board amenities and facilities, including Carnival Cruise Lines’ first comedy club, elaborate outdoor recreation areas including a water park, several exhilarating water slides, an adults-only Serenity Deck, a delectable array of complimentary dining options and a 23,750-square-foot spa and health club.