Would you be interested to know there are 100 women and men electric with excitement in Orlando, Florida, tonight... each knowing they have a 1 in 100 chance of being awarded a $1 Million dollar prize tomorrow morning!? Chances are, they are also completely exhausted and running totally on adrenaline after competing in the 44th Pillsbury Bake-Off today! If you are interested in seeing more about the Bake-Off, there's a lot of information, a blog, photos, and the finalist's 100 recipes all online at http://www.pillsbury.com/. I've had a lot of fun looking at this website today.
Chances are, you don't keep track of the Pillsbury Bake-Off, but I've been pretty excited today knowing it's going on! In early 2007, I entered a recipe in the Pillsbury Bake-Off on a whim. What the heck... you can't win if you don't enter, right? When August 2007, rolled around and I was de-cluttering my house a bit, I stumbled across my recipe and threw it in the trash. I figured if they hadn't called me yet, certainly they had not picked my recipe. After all, for every Bake-Off held, they receive "tens of thousands" of recipe submissions. A few weeks later, I just about died when I "got the call" at work, telling me I was a finalist in the Bake-Off in Dallas, Texas, in April 2008. It was a whirlwind... an opportunity of a life time. I enjoyed every moment but it was especially great because my mom accompanied me to Dallas for the Bake-Off and we had a fantastic time. Here are a few snap shots from the Bake-Off two years ago (the photos are in a very random order).
My mom with Keegan Gearhard. He's a celebrity from The Food Network show called "Food Network Challenge"... I guess you would say he's the host or the Emcee of the challenges featured on the Food Network... cake challenges, sugar challenges, etc. He saw my mom and offered to pose with her for a picture; she had no idea who he was but she went along with it!
My completed recipe on the display table. Phew! I was done. You have to make your recipe at least two times; once for the judges and the second time for this display table. You are given ingredients to make your recipe three times in the allotted time period.
All 100 mini-kitchens ready to go on Orientation Day. The folks on the ballroom floor in this photo were all contest people from General Mills/Pillsbury... not finalists. We had Orientation in the ballroom the day before the Bake-Off and the room temperature was super cold! They turned the temperature down low so the next day during the Bake-Off, when 100 people cranked up their ovens, the room would still be a tolerable temperature. Funny, huh?
Me standing in front of the display table. Yipee, I was done! I was exhilarated but pooped!
Look at us all cooking away. While we cooked, we had runners from Pillsbury/General Mills to help us out and escort us to the judges with our prepared dishes. We also had photos taken in a photography booth, posing with our completed recipe.
Me and my mom having lunch right after the Bake-Off. Do I look tired!? I am holding my prized possession... my hot pads from the Bake-Off floor! I still have them in my kitchen!
Last day of the Bake-Off... dressed up for the Awards Ceremony. The hotel had these poster boards with great photos of our completed dishes. I am pointing to my dish... center column, second row down from the top.
Mom and I are all dressed up for the super fancy Welcome Dinner.
My friend, Tracy, took this photo of me... practicing my recipe in my kitchen at home.
A kitchen mock-up in the hotel. Contest winners won GE appliances.
Recognize this lady? It's Sandra Lee from the Food Network. She was the hostess at the Awards Ceremony.
The Pillsbury Doughboy and me!
Late tomorrow morning sometime, the $1 Million prize will be awarded. It should be posted on the Pillsbury site.... I am anxious to see who the big winner is! And if you are wondering... No, I did not win any of the prizes at the Bake-Off when I was there, but just being there was amazing. If you'd like to see my original recipe, here is the link: