Back to the Bake-Off

Back to the Bake-Off:

I just knew it was the place I had to be!  The 46th Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest was quickly approaching and I really wanted to be a part of the excitement.  I reached out to the Pillsbury Bake-Off Team and was thrilled to pieces when they invited me to come and be a part of the action!  I could not wait to cheer on the finalists in Vegas!  The Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest is the "Super Bowl" of cooking contests with an amazing history that dates back to 1949.  I was lucky to be a finalist in the 2010 and 2012 contests and I can tell you there is nothing quite like it.  The energy is contagious and the people are just the best.

The finalists this year had no easy task to earn their slot at the Bake-Off.  The recipe requirements this year were tightened up and I think pretty challenging.  Pillsbury was definitely looking for streamlined recipes that anyone could pull together in a jiffy.  The entrants had to create an original recipe using two different eligible ingredients, not to exceed seven total ingredients (besides salt, pepper and water) and the active prep time could be no more than 30 minutes.  They also had to make it through a stressful voting period that narrowed down 200 semi-finalists to 100 finalists.  So I say a huge congrats to all the 200 semi-finalists that had their recipes chosen from the tens of thousands that were submitted!  I hope you feel very proud!   

I had my big Bake-Off moment in March of 2012.  Since then I have experienced a whirlwind of excitement and made thousands upon thousands of Pumpkin Ravioli!  It was going to be a unique experience for me to come back to the Bake-Off.  This time I wouldn't feel the pressure of the competition for myself, but I knew exactly what the finalists were going to be feeling and I felt like a mother hen who wanted to make sure all her chicks were feeling great and having an amazing time!  I wanted them to walk away with wonderful memories just like I had!

Plans for the next Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest in Nashville are underway.  The rules and details will be posted at Pillsbury.com sometime in January.  Hope I get to cheer for you in 2014! 

Bake-Off Pre-Game:

The logistics of the Bake-Off always amazes me.  It is a huge undertaking that used to take place every other year.  This year, the event was bumped up to take place every year, so the prep time for this event was even more condensed this year.  As I'm sure any finalist would agree, the General Mills team working there are some of the nicest and most hardworking people around.  From the runners who look after your every need when you are a finalist (even clearing the way through the crowd when you have to walk your recipe to the judges table) to the photographers, to dedicated kitchen staff, they all are some of the nicest and most hardworking people around.  Thanks to you all!   

The Venue: The Aria Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV

100 mini-kitchen stations with brand new GE ranges getting set-up, calibrated and pre-heated.

The calm before the storm.

Was thrilled to meet up with these two talented ladies: Jessie of Cakespy and Angie of Bakerella.  

I had the pleasure of meeting with Jennifer Buege who writes for the Pillsbury Bake-Off Blog.  You can check out her post here.

I participated in a Twitter Chat with Kevin Hunt of General Mills.  Check out his blog about it here.

Game Day: Let the 46th Annual Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest Begin!

Leading the Grand March with the Doughboy!

The event started off behind the scenes with the finalists getting lined up and ready for the traditional Grand March onto the Bake-Off floor.  I had the honor of leading the Grand March alongside the Doughboy!  

This day was a blur of delicious aromas and tasty nibbles!  The Bake-Off floor was buzzing with energy, nerves and excitement!  I tried to make my way to each finalist to offer some encouragement!  The best part of the event for me was meeting so many great people!  

One of my favorite moments was getting to meet these two great ladies.  Mari Petrelli who won the Bake-Off in 1966 and Padma Lakshmi!

Here is Nancy Fahey with her Almond Cafe Cookies.  Such a sweetie!  I got to chat with her and her husband on the shuttle bus from the airport.

Denise Pounds is preparing one of her yummy Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Sesame Crescent Noodles for me to taste!  Lucky Me!!

Bake-Off Buddies!

Here is Donna Fogel of Whitehall, PA working on her Creamy Coconut Mocha Hazlenut Pastries!  Looks great Donna!

Post Game: Awards Show & Dinner!

Anticipation was thick in the ballroom as everyone eagerly awaited the awards announcements!  I was on the edge of my seat!

The Pillsbury Kitchen Band got the party started!

Padma Lakshmi announcing the winners!

First up, are the special award winners.  Here is Julie Beckwith of Crete, IL.  She won the "Crisco is Cooking Award" with her Upside Down Tomato Basil and Chicken Tartlets.  Yay Julie!!

Then Padma called up the 2nd, 3rd & Grand Prize Winners in no particular order...

The big winner, Glori Spriggs is announced!

Big hug from Padma.

and the confetti flies!  Woo Hoo Glori!!

Big Hugs & Congratulations to all the Winners!!  

Way to go ladies!!

Check out their award winning recipes below:

Grand Prize Winner:

Glori Spriggs of Henderson, NV

"Loaded Potato Pinwheels"

2nd Place Winner:

Sheila Suhan of Scottdale, PA
"Easy Caprese Pizza Bake"

Third Place Winner:

Antoinette Leal of Ridgefield, CT
"Cherry Almond Brunch Tart"

GE Imagination At Work Award:

Kellie White of Valley Park, MO

"Honey Sesame Bagels"

Jif® Peanut Butter Award:

Kim Doyle Wille of Carbondale, CO

"Thai Shrimp Pizza"

Crisco Is Cooking™ Award:

Julie Beckwith of Crete, IL

"Upside Down Tomato Basil and Chicken Tartlets"

Eagle Brand® Signature Recipe Award:

Karen Harris, Castle Pines, CO

"Bacon Corncakes with Warm Maple Cream"

Thanks for spending some time in the cloud with me!  It was fun to share my Bake-Off experience with you!  Tina ( :