Joy the Baker

So… No Pressure or Anything…

April 12, 2010

Pillsbury Bake Off 

I’m at the Pillsbury Bake Off in Orlando, Florida.  There are 100 finalists here… dicing, slicing, frying, baking and otherwise stressing out in a giant hotel ballroom.  At stake?  One.  Million.  Dollars.  In their faces?   Cameras.  Lots of cameras.  

Me?  I’m not baking.  Not baking a thing.  Thank heavens.  I’m not a competitive baker.  Just the thought of competitive food production makes me want to crumble.

Pillsbury Bake Off 

The 93 women and 7 men competing here  at the 44th Annual Pillsbury Bake Off are champions.  Cooking with this sort of pressure and media is a looooong way from home cooking.  

Want to see what this whole shindig looks like?  It’s serious business.  

Pillsbury Bake Off 

Camera crews, lighting dudes, sound men and journalist ladies all gear up for the four hour long competition over breakfast.  

Pillsbury Bake Off 

Hardcore branding.  Hardcore advertising.  Mega sponsorship.  Loads of contestants and family and annoying bloggers like me milling about.  

Pillsbury Bake Off 

Pre Bake Off… some dudes are giving me camera envy.  

Pillsbury Bake Off 

Know what the Bake Off has taught me?   That husbands are super awesome!  Here’s one hubby taking a picture of his wife’s finished product slot.  I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve overheard between anxious husbands.  Tender moments.  Serious tenderness. 

Pillsbury Bake Off 

There are cameras exactly everywhere.  

Pillsbury Bake Off 

Before the grand entrance of the hundred contestants, the ballroom smells like new ovens and photographers.  It’s complex.  

Pillsbury Bake Off 

Moms.  Sisters.  Grandmas.  Husbands.  All getting ready for the entrance of the BakeOff-ers.  

Pillsbury Bake Off 

Blue aprons.  Finalist ribbons.  Smiling faces.  I think I might me almost as nervous as they are. How utterly self indulgent of me. 

Pillsbury Bake Off 

You’re pretty and you’re baking.  Go!  Fight!  Win!

Pillsbury Bake Off 

Super concentration.  

Pillsbury Bake Off 

Every competitors cabinets are stocked with the exact ingredients they need for their recipe.  Whomever stocked these cabinets… I’d like to hire you to be my permanent sous chef.  Please and thank you.

Pillsbury Bake Off 

Um… this lady looks like she might be peeking at her neighbors work.  Is that allowed? 

Pillsbury Bake Off 

There are plenty of little gentlemen like this cheering on their mothers.  Kinda precious.  

Also… old man elbow.  These things can’t be avoided.  

Pillsbury Bake Off 

There’s a lot going on back there. 

Pillsbury Bake Off 

And there’s a lot going out here.  

Pillsbury Bake Off 

So… no pressure or anything.  I know you’re trying to win a million dollars, but it’s interview time.  

Pillsbury Bake Off 

Just look at how graceful and lovely JoAnn is.  Pretty smile.  Hands clasped.  Finalist ribbon gleaming in the camera lights.  These people are lovely and gracious home cooks.  Their families are buzzing with excitement.  It’s such an exhilirating event to be a part of.  

Pillsbury Bake Off 

Four winners are being announced later tonight.  The grand prize winner of the Pillsbury Bake Off is being announced live on Oprah tomorrow afternoon.  Whaat!?  Yea.  Crazytown.  That’s happening.  

Thank you to Pillsbury for generously flying to to Orlando to take dorky pictures of your grand Bake Off. That sure was swell of you.  

66 Comments Add A Comment

  • Cool! The hubby and I watch cooking competitions on TV and it’s nice to see some behind the scene images and blog about it. Blog on! *love*

  • oooooh..lucky!!

    Looks like a fun/crazy time had by all! :)

  • I think I had an anxiety attack just looking at your photos! That looks way more intense than the video footage even. Crazytown is right. Whew!

  • I’m so jealous that you’re there! I am fascinated by the Bake-Off. I was just reading about the early bake-offs in a really interesting book called “Something From the Oven: Reinventing Dinner in the 1950s”. The entries provide a great snapshot of what’s popular during any given time period.

  • You need to be in the bake-off Joy! You’d be a shoo-in (or is that shoe-in???)

  • OMG, bake off! I entered a TV baking competition myself and this morning I had to do a timed baking – with the cameras right on me! It was terrifying! I was shaking and so nervous!! But what terrifies me more is that if I get through this round, I’ll be one of 10 candidates battling it off for 6 weeks to become Britain’s Best Amateur Baker! Ahhh! The terror! :-)
    Really Joy, you’re so spot on when you say competition baking is miiiiiles away from home baking!

  • Joy,

    I’m one of your newest and biggest fans (and I mean that in a totally un-Kathy Bates way;). Loved the behind the scenes of the bake-off. Thanks!

  • awesome! I think I would crumble under the pressure too!

  • It’s Monday morning and I should be working, but saw your post and I am really thrilled to see this. You have captured this well. I just love your blogging, your baking, and humor!

  • I love the Pillsbury Bake Off cookbooks. I love home cooks. Thanks for sharing this!

  • *that’s supposed to say so exciting, no “I.” Doh! :)

  • So I exciting. My heart is racing just reading about it!

  • Wow…that’s so neat! I thought you were competing when you tweeted about it…oops!

  • it all looks super exciting! and who got to do the taste testing?! because i’d like to apply for that job… ;)

  • I remember my mom’s copy of a Pilsbury Bake-Off cookbook (it was/is very well used & loved!) I would look at the pictures inside the cover of the room with rows and rows of the ovens & ‘kitchens’and marvel at what was going on (magic!). I had no idea it still takes place — these pictures make me want to get my hands on that old battered cookbook :-)

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