A Pillsbury Bake-Off Finalist on Cooking for Competition

Friday, April 16, 2010 - 06:46 AM

Last week, we talked with Pillsbury Bake-Off finalist Christina Verrelli, just days before she headed to Orlando for the Superbowl of cook-offs. Now back in Pennsylvania, she tells us how it went...

Adrenaline Rush!! Who knew a cooking competition could bring on such a rush of excitement and adrenaline! Wow! I just returned from my trip to Pillsbury’s 44th Bake-Off in Orlando on April 12th. This rookie’s head is still spinning from the big event. I am in awe of the huge amount of behind the scenes work this event entailed! Just imagine the electrical requirements alone needed for 100 ranges, microwaves, food processors, mixers, refrigerators and lighting. I blow a circuit in my house ever time I vacuum!

I’m thrilled with how my Savory & Sweet Breakfast Biscuit Sliders turned out. I was surprisingly not nervous, just determined to enjoy every minute of this once in a lifetime experience. I made my recipe three times in the four hour time period. The first came out beautifully but the press had descended upon us 20 minutes into the competition and it took a little longer than expected to acclimate to my mini-kitchen and complete my first round. I used that first platter of sliders for the mandatory photo session and display. My second round went perfectly and I felt energized and tingly as I called for a runner to escort me to the judges’ table. The runner walked ahead of me clearing the way and yelling out, “finalist entry coming through!” The photographers were snapping away and there were cheers from the guest viewing area! If only my family cheered this way each night when I bring dinner to the table!

My third round of sliders was for sampling. They went very quickly with everyone “oohing” and “aahing” and telling their colleagues to come taste. I was hopeful the judges would be smitten too! Later that night at the awards program, all 100 of us stood together as The Food Network’s Sandra Lee called the winners. My name was not called as a winner, but I was happy to be surrounded by a big group of new cooking friends and honored to have been part of the 44th Bake-Off — an exhilarating slice of Americana!


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