I met Poppin’ Fresh in September 2010 when I filmed a spot at Pillsbury in Minneapolis for From the Kitchens Of…and knew I had to see him again. For months, I harassed the folks at Pillsbury for a way to get to the Pillsbury Bake-Off contest; I volunteered to be a food runner, a shopper, anything to get on that Bake-Off floor to witness 100 home cooks go at it for $1,000,000. As a food professional, I can never enter the mother of all cooking contests. I should have entered before starting culinary school. Too late now!
Persistence pays off because I was asked to be on the judging panel! The Bake-Off is something I’ve been obsessed with since I was a kid. My mom had the Bake-Off cookbook and I fell in love with the famous Tunnel of Fudge cake. I ate crescent roll quiche and pizza dough creations for weeks while she was testing out recipes to enter. I’ve got to get her to submit again the next time around–she would have SO much fun.
In addition to the Bake-Off itself, Pillsbury organizes an entire food seminar for industry folks and food media to attend. I got to sit next to CakeSpy!!! I met Jessie very fortuitously at St. Cupcake last fall in Portland when she was doing a book signing. Sunday started out with a seminar on family meal time, hosted by Smucker’s and presented by Kelsey Nixon.
Then these guys did a tasting for McCormick’s where they presented future flavors and trends. I was too busy eating their tiny samples with their tiny utensils to take notes. I think grapefruit and harissa are on the rise?
After lunch, there was a panel with the talented ladies of Martha Stewart: Pilar Guzman from Martha Stewart Living , Sarah Carey from Everyday Food, and Lucinda Scala-Quinn of Mad Hungry, followed by a demo sponsored by GE, featuring Chef Jeff Henderson from Food Network.
And then it was time for the good stuff…dinner with Martha Stewart at Emeril’s Tchoup Chop!
Okay not really. She was AT the dinner, but I can’t really say that I had dinner WITH her, as she plugged her upcoming book, Martha’s American Food, and then sat with her staff rather than mingle about. I DID, however, have dinner with CakeSpy and Rachel from Coconut & Lime. Food was EH, company was lovely. Miss Martha scares me a bit, so I didn’t want to join the crowd asking for photos. But I wasn’t afraid to take a photo of her, stalker-style. For 70 years old, she is looking goooood.
Post-dinner, we all went back for some rest before the big Bake-Off day…can’t wait to reveal the secrets from the judging room!