Make us your home page
Instagram

Three Tampa Bay area cooks make it to Pillsbury Bake-Off finals

The Tampa Bay area will have at least three contestants in the Pillsbury Bake-Off this year.

Bethany Perry of Largo; Marie Valdes of Brandon; and Debbie Reid of Clearwater, are among 33 semifinalists in the Amazing Doable Dinners category who won enough online votes to advance to the biggest competition in all of amateur cookdom. The winner of the 46th Pillsbury Bake-Off, this year in Las Vegas Nov. 10-12, takes home $1 million.

From 180 semifinalists in three categories, 100 will make it through to the finals. This is the first year that Pillsbury has invited the public to select the finalists through an online vote and is doing so in stages. The next voting period, for Simple Sweets and Starters, opens June 13.

Perry, 38, a homemaker and mother of seven, was especially nervous about the online voting since she has very little presence online. "I don't do Facebook or any of that stuff," she said when she first learned she'd made the semifinals for her Chicken and Spinach Biscuit Gyros. Perhaps it was the enticing photo of the finished dish prepared by the Pillsbury kitchen staff that swayed voters. Apparently, no social media blitz was needed.

Valdes, 52, who works in the human resources department at Express Scripts Pharmacy in Tampa, got a spot with her Honey Chicken and Corn Rafts. Valdes' veggie-heavy dish was inspired by a TV program she saw recently on the White House gardens and beehives, and first lady Michelle Obama's healthy-eating initiative.

Reid, 49, who works in administration for the Clearwater Parks and Recreation Department, would seem to have the edge in the competition, not because of her Sweet Pulled Pork Pizza, but because she has been on a cooking contest roll. In the past year, she has won contests sponsored by St. Francis Winery, Fage yogurt and a joint competition sponsored by ABC's The Chew and Bush's Beans. Her winnings have included trips to New York and the wine regions of Northern California and Oregon.

Recipe entry periods for the remaining categories are:

• Simple Sweets and Starters: through May 9.

• Quick Rise and Shine Breakfasts: July 4 to Aug. 8.

Voting periods are announced on BakeOff.com, where rules and the list of eligible ingredients can be found. Besides the $1 million grand prize, which has been awarded since 1996, other awards include cash and GE appliances.

Janet K. Keeler can be reached at jkeeler@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8586.

Three Tampa Bay area cooks make it to Pillsbury Bake-Off finals 04/05/13 [Last modified: Friday, April 5, 2013 1:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. There's a bar in Tampa where you can roller skate and eat sushi

    Food & Dining

    Roller skating, it's not just for kids birthday parties and the 1970s anymore.

    The exterior of Pattinis features this mural by Art Aliens! [Pattinis South Tampa via Facebook]
  2. At 'American Idol' auditions in Orlando, there are life lessons in line

    Music & Concerts

    LAKE BUENA VISTA — From her spot across the lawn, Sasha Orihuela studies her son.

    Jeremy Joshua Dorsey reacts after past American Idol contestants walk by ahead of his audition at the Disney Springs in Orlando, Fla. on Thursday, August 17, 2017. 

Hundreds of people showed up for the first auditions for ABC's reboot of 'American Idol'. CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times
  3. Carnival announces five more cruises from Tampa to Cuba

    Tourism

    TAMPA — Carnival Cruise Line is adding five more cruises from Tampa to Cuba in 2018, Port Tampa Bay announced Thursday.

      Carnival Cruise Line announced additional cruises to  Cuba. Pictured is its Paradise cruise ship departing on its inaugural voyage to Cuba from Tampa. | [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
  4. Beach Drive mural is a first for St. Pete's swanky waterfront street

    Blogs

    Mural mania in St. Petersburg is spreading east.

    This mural in progress is on the side of the Smith & Associates building on Beach Drive in St. Petersburg.
  5. Is that it? Hardly. Katrina of the Waves still walking on sunshine

    Blogs

    Appearing on both Retro Futura and The '80s Cruise is Katrina Leskanich, who we know better as Katrina of Katrina & the Waves. When thinking about Katrina & the Waves hopefully …