I have heard of the Pillsbury Bake-off since I was a little girl. My mother always bought the books and we went through them, admired each recipe, but never really thinking that average people made it to this contest.
In 2006 I became interested in entering contests and truly have been very honored to be chosen as a finalist for the Pillsbury Bake-off 3 times. According to the rules for this, a person may only attend 3 times.
I attended in 2008 Mascarpone Filled Cranberry Walnut Rolls
I attended in 2010 Peanut Butter Toffee Cheesecake Brownies
This is my final journey to the 47th Pillsbury Bake-off Contest. My recipe was Strawberry Mascarpone Hazelnut Chocolate Tart
Early last year, the contest rules were posted on the Pillsbury web site. There were 4 categories you could enter. I did enter a few recipes in each one. In June, I received an email stating that I was a potential finalist. After a screening process that all finalists go through, I was confirmed as a finalist.
The following months were filled with completing forms, media events, a photo session, hotel and travel arrangements, getting the lists of ingredients and equipment completed and lots of practicing my recipe. My husband was able to attend with me this time so there was also shopping for clothes for both of us. A facebook page was set up for those of us going to the bake-off, some that had been there previously, and ones who hope to get chosen in the future. There is so much support and well wishes from everyone. The excitement just continued to build.
The bakeoff was being held at the Omni Hotel in Nashville Tn this time. Pillsbury treats each and every finalist as royalty. They were so helpful with questions or concerns. Each finalist was given a Visa gift card and a new microwave before we even went. When we arrived, our hotel was beautiful and all of our lodging and meals were covered by Pillsbury. We also received gift bags with gifts from each of the sponsors.
This is a picture of the hotel as we drove up to it.
Looking out our window in downtown Nashville
When we arrived to register, the hallway was filled with excited people, the Doughboy, and a wall of the finalists recipes on a silk screen.
We then attended an orientation and a sneak peek at the grand ballroom that had been transformed into the contest site with 100 mini kitchens.
Group picture of the 100 Finalists
Next came a reception with our sponsor grocery store. Mine was Kroger. They gave each of us a card with a gift card enclosed. Afterwards was a dinner in another room that had been transformed with different stations for foods, drinks, and a live band playing country music. This was so much fun and a great time to connect with old friends as well as meeting new ones.
The next morning was breakfast and the actual bakeoff!!
The finalists were led into the room by a girl playing the fiddle and the Doughboy!!! A live band was playing country music inside. We danced our way around the room to our assigned kitchen units. The hostess for the event was celebrity Chef Carla Hall from ‘THE CHEW’. PLEASE NOTE THE FIRST FINALIST COMING IN….. she is a wonderful lady 89 years young!! So this goes to show you are NEVER too old to pursue your dreams and as grandparents….you can do this too.
We cooked and baked our hearts out, sampled each others recipes and talked to media, sponsors, bloggers and other invited guests. It was a whirlwind of fun and crazy activity.
We had a few free hours that day so my husband and I walked around Nashville. It was such a beautiful, clean town with so many interesting things to see.
The evening concluded with a Blue Carpet walk and pictures with the Golden Statue of the Doughboy, another very fancy dinner, and then the awards. For the first time in the history of the bake-off, America is helping to chose the 1 million dollar winner. The judges chose the 4 category winners and they were placed on the Pillsbury Facebook page for voting. The winner was announced on The Chew on December 3, 2014. I am so happy to say that one of my friends, Beth Royals won the million dollars!! She is such an awesome lady and so deserving.
I was not one of the category winners but this whole experience was nothing but a win!! I have met so many people that are now a part of my life and true friends.
This post was linked to Grand Social on Grandma’s Briefs.