Bruegger’s Bagels, known for its authentic New York–style bagels prepared in the traditional method using just five simple ingredients, has named its top baker in the company’s first Ultimate Bagel Bake-Off held during its annual conference at the William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh.

David Creighton of Raleigh, North Carolina, kettle-boiled and baked 12 varieties of hot, fresh bagels to perfection to claim the top prize, which included $2,000 cash, a trophy and a starring role in upcoming Bruegger’s Bagels training videos. Creighton, who surpassed bagel artisans from more than 275 other bakeries nationwide, has been with the company for 15 years and currently works at the Bruegger’s Bagels in Stonehenge.

“With so much talent in our bakeries, we knew this would be an exciting competition,” says vice president of marketing Judy Kadylak. “David is an asset to Bruegger’s Bagels, and now bagel artisans company-wide will benefit from his expertise.”

Creighton and two other top finalists faced off at Bruegger’s Bagels locations throughout Pittsburgh, where judges randomly selected a baker’s dozen to compare against the brand’s high standards for shape, appearance, and proper baking technique.

The three-day conference also included keynote addresses from author and speaker Stephen Covey Jr., author and former commander of the USS Benfold Captain D. Michael Abrashoff, and author Jim Sullivan. President Paul Carolan opened and closed the conference outlining Bruegger’s road map for continued growth and success. The event concluded with an awards ceremony honoring top performers from around the country including Tim McNamara, another Raleigh native, who was named General Manager of the Year. Conference attendees also assembled and donated 36 bicycles on behalf of the Sarah Heinz House and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in Pittsburgh.

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