Blogs > News-Herald Food and Travel

Food and travel captivate Janet Podolak, who chronicles both for The News-Herald. Get the back story of her three decades of stories here. Guest bloggers and fellow News-Herald staffers also periodically share details of their trips.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Pillsbury BakeOff Orlando

I'm here in Orlando for the Pillsbury Bake-Off along with Linda Bibbo from Bainbridge and 99 other finalists vying for the $1 million top prize. The excitement is building as judges and food writers from all over the country arrive at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek headquarters. It's an every other year competition that this year will be done a little differently.. the top winner will be announced Wednesday on the Oprah Winfrey Show instead of here at the Bake-Off.

Many of my fellow food writers are not too happy about this turn of events since our food sections are published on Wednesday and we won't be able to announce the big winner as we had planned. Instead we will be telling our readers the names of winners in the four main categories: Breakfasts and Brunches; Dinner Made Easy; Entertaining Appetizers, and Sweet Treats. Those four will be whisked off to Chicago where the Oprah Winfrey Show is produced as we fly home ourselves. We learned about this just a week ago.

Food editors and the 12 judges gathered last night fir dinner behind the scenes as EPCOT, where we met each other over tastes of some of the newest dishes being served at Disney World venues. We also met the chefs and heard about directions Disney is going in its food service.

We were told not to discuss the Bakeoff contenders or their recipes with the judges, who must remain unbiased. They'll be cloistered away when the contenders take to their 100 identical mini-kitchens on Monday to prepare their creations.
I caught up with one woman who had served twice as a judge and this time is here as a food writer. She advises that judges pace themselves for tasting the 100 dishes and to come hungry.

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