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Pillsbury Bake Off

The bake off contest is coming up in April and I wondered if many people follow it? I know the recipes have been bashed on Chowhound because they use a lot of convenience products. However, I'm a finalist this year and happy to be a part of it, convenience products or not!

I think there are a lot of interesting/varied/ethnic recipes this time around. And yes, I love to bake/cook from scratch but I don't think it's necessarily bad to use store-bought products from time to time. Anyway, I'm proud to have made it this far.

Anyone intersted can see all the recipes at http://www.bakeoff.com I'd love to hear what others think about finalist recipes. And I'm sure I'm opening myself to some bashing, but oh well...my recipe is Mango, Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Appetizer Pizza. Can't wait to hear from all the goat cheese haters! :-)

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  1. Anyone who bashes you for being a finalist in a food cooking contest that pays a million bucks must be independently wealthy... So what if they use convenience foods. Actually, there's a ton of money to be made in all sorts of cooking competitions (e.g. 50K for the build-a-better-burger). Much better odds than the lottery. So good luck!

    1. Congratulations.....i love goat cheese and i have never had it with mango but it does sound good!!!!
      i will check out the recipes and by all means YES you should be pretty darn pround!!!

      1. Congratulations on being a finalist! I know a couple of people who have been submitting recipes for years and never made it - they've stopped trying now.

        Good luck and I'd be interested in reading about your experiences and how well you did.

        1. Hey, three of my favorite ingredients! I'll vote for you - AND you're local to me in MA, which makes my vote even more important! :-) Congratulations on being one of the 100 finalists; do you get to go and make it for the judges, or do they narrow it down and only bring in a select number of contestants?

          ETA: Never mind - found the "about the contest" informational page, and it looks like you're going to Dallas in April! (along with 4 others from MA, I see). Good luck!

          1 Reply
          1. re: LindaWhit

            Yes, I get to go to Dallas. It's amazing to think that they get tens of thousands of entries and from those they narrow it down to 100. It's an honor just to make it this far, although winning would be great!

          2. Congrats on being chosen! I voted for you.

            1. Congratulations and please keep us posted on how you progress throughout the competition. And I am one of the "bad" hounds who uses convenience foods and even eats at chain restaurants <g>

              1. Thanks everyone, for the kind words and support. I'm kind of freaking out. In 8 weeks one of the 100 will win a million dollars!

                And I'm a bad hound too Janet. I eat in chain restaurants as well and I've been using Pillsbury pie crusts for years and passing them off as my own. Nobody ever knows.
                Well, I guess they do now! ;-)

                1. How exciting! Congratulations! Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the entire point of the Bake Off to use, first and foremost, a Pillsbury product and other "convenience" products that make cooking easy? And then combining those ingredients with others to make an appealing and tasty dish? If so, then there should be no bashing. A good recipe is a good recipe, however you slice it. And yours sounds good :) (As do most of the recipes I've seen cooked or read about.) Good luck, JPan; can't wait to hear how it goes!

                  1. Just wanted to report back from the Bake Off which happened this past week. The winner was Double Delight Peanut Butter Cookies.

                    The entire experience was a lot of fun, even tho I didn't win any of the prizes. There has been a lot of flack about the winning recipe not being very inovative or interesting, or different from other peanut butter cookies. But I say congrats to the lady for turning a simpe recipe into a million-dollar winner.

                    The history of this contest shows that the winning recipe is always something simple and traditional with a twist. I guess Pillsbury doesn't think the world is ready to embrace mango and goat cheese as every day ingredients. I will definitely try again next year and maybe work on something less exotic that would have a better chance of winning.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Jpan99

                      Jpan, I had read about the winning recipe - I couldn't believe it! What you said - I couldn't believe it wasn't very innovative or any different from other peanut butter cookie recipes, other than the cream filling?

                      As for next year, I'd stick with '"interesting and innovative" ideas for your submission - they obviously thought enough of your recipe to include you in the top 100! And it looks like another pizza creation from Massachusetts won the pizza category....although I think your mango/goat cheese sounds better - even if it is in the entertaining appetizers category. :-)

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        Thanks Linda. I've noticed that while interesting and innovative may get you into the 100 finalists league, it never wins the ultimate prize. I was surprised to have been chosen as I think the recipe was too exotic for Pillsbury.

                        So if I want a real chance at the big prize, I think simple and traditional is still the way to go. The contest rules state you can be a finalist 3 times, so I feel like I have two more chances at the million, and I intend to do everything I can to try and win!

                    2. Congratulations to you Jpan99. Thank you for sharing your first hand and personal experience with a Pillsbury Bake Off. Even if you didn't win the official title, you have the honor of sharing your original recipe with everyone and there are other contests out there that may see your recipe worthy of prize...so my 2 cents, keep entering!

                      I've placed your recipe in my file! Thank you for sharing the details.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: HillJ

                        Thanks! One of the best things to happen as a result of being a finalist is that my recipe is not only online, but in this months Bake Off recipe book. It's in super markets now, at the checkout stand. Every time I'm in my local grocery store and see the book I get chills! It's so very cool.

                      2. Congratulations...what a great experience!!!!

                        1. Congratulations, what an exciting experience....you should be very proud!

                          Peanut Butter Cookies, puhleaze!

                          Your pizza sounds great, I'm on my way to the grocery store to pick up the ingredients I need to make it tonight.

                          Do you know when the Food Network will be airing their special, so we can look for you?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: byeCalihelloBahamas

                            Don't know when Food Network is broadcasting, but I'm probably not on it. They followed 5 individuals before and during the competition and I wasn't one of the five. And since I didn't win anything, I'm probably nowhere on the tape, except maybe in the background if I'm lucky!

                            Please let me know if you do make the pizza and what you thought. I've not heard anything negative. Only some people don't like that the sauce is sweet. But I love so sweet, so it works for me!

                          2. Hey Jpan99! Congratulations on being selected. I just watched the special on the Food Network, and it made me curious about the world of food competitions. What was the event in Dallas like? Was it open to the public? Did you get to taste the other competitors' dishes? Was it just one afternoon of cooking, or were there other Pillsbury-sponsored events/demonstrations to attend?

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: charmedgirl

                              It was fun. It was about 2 1/2 days long. On Sunday they have registration and orientation, where you go over all the rules and can ask questions. You also get to see the kitchen stations from a seating area, you can't go and inspect your workstation. They do some photo stuff, you get your apron and then they have a nice dinner that evening. Nothing is open to the public but each contestant can bring a guest to the event.

                              The actual Bake Off is Monday morning. They march you onto the floor a few minutes before 8:00. The media and guests are all waiting for the 100 finalists for what they refer to as the Grand March. Then you have from 8:00 - 1:00 to make your recipe up to 3 times. You have to make it at least twice but you can make it a 3rd time if you didn't like the first two. One completed recipe goes to the photographers, another goes to the judges. The 3rd is for samples. You get to decide which you want to bring to the judges, and obviously you choose what you think is the best recipe.

                              Once you are done, or even if you aren't, you can walk around the kitchens and see other contestants, and sample if they have something available to taste. To be honest, I only tried 5 or 6 other things. By the time I was done with my 3rd pizza, more than half of the contestants had finished and were off the floor.

                              That evening they took us all out to a Country-Western themed dinner with music and open bar. Then the award show is the next morning, I think it was 8:00. So by 9:00 am on Tuesday, it was all over and there was nothing to do but hang out and talk with the other non-winners until it was time to leave for the airport!

                              It all went pretty quickly but was fun. I will definitely try again. You can be a finalist 3 times so I have two more opportunities to try for the million dollars again!

                              1. re: Jpan99

                                Hey, thanks for the detailed report! Every time Food Network profiles one of these national competitions I've been curious about how they work. I appreciate you taking the time to tell about your experiences. Congratulations again, and good luck next time around!

                            2. A shame someone beat you to it, but I am in the middle of a book The Ungarnished Truth: A Cooking Contest Memoir" by Ellie Mathews, who details her journey at the Bake-Off....

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: L_W

                                Yes, several of the ladies at the Bake Off were talking about that book. Good luck to the woman who took the time to write it. I wouldn't have thought of it, and I don't think my experience was interesting enough to fill that many pages! I suppose if I had won, it would have been more interesting!