A Chilliwack woman is hoping your last-minute votes will earn her top spot in the opening round of the Greatest Baker competition.
Melissa Reed is competing against bakers from all over the world in an online contest hosted by two-time Food Network Baking Champion Jen Barney.
“This is something I came across on Facebook, and I thought, ‘Oh cool!” Reed said. “You can win $10,000 USD and a feature spot in Baked from Scratch Magazine. You also get a trip to, I think it’s Pennsylvania where the Stuffed Puffs factory is, and spend the day with the CEO.”
One more thing Reed is gunning for is a year’s supply of Stuffed Puff marshmallows, and if you don’t know about those tasty morsels, they’re marshmallows filled with chocolate.
“So far I’ve had requests for a lot of Rice Crispy squares,” she laughed.
The opening round of the Greatest Baker competition opened Oct. 27 and closes tonight (Nov. 5) at 8 p.m. PST. As of 3 p.m. Reed was second in her group, with the top 10 advancing to the second round.
There are five rounds altogether, with the grand prize winner being announced Dec. 10.
This week, Reed has baked up a storm and posted pictures of her creations in her online profile.
“Oh my gosh. I’ve done chocolate crinkle cookies and fresh raspberry muffins,” she said. “I’ve done carrot cake, apple pies, blueberry pies. I have baked my little heart out so far.”
It’s a strange baking competition where success is based not on what something tastes like but what it looks like.
“I find it very strange for that, and I’ve definitely become a Facebook hound, tagging all my friends and asking them to share with family and friends,” Reed said. “But I’m also trying to bring my baked goods to as many people as I can in a COVID safe way, so they know they’re not just voting for someone who posts pictures. My food actually tastes good.”
Reed has found other peoples’ pictures to be intimidating.
She is a home-baker, but she’s aware of other Fraser Valley bakers in the competition who are professionals, with professional looking pics.
“Cakes are decorated amazingly and I’m definitely going to have to step up my own game,” she said. “I’m quite competitive. There was a moment where I jumped into first place for a few moments, and I ran into the lunchroom at work all excited. Then I dropped back down to second a while later and I was like, ‘Awwww.’”
Reed calls baking her de-stresser.
“I work at a busy retail store,” she said. “I come home, and the more complicated the recipe the better. I zone out. I’m lost and I just do my thing. It’s my go-to hobby and my personal saving grace.”
Should Reed make it through five rounds, she’s started thinking about what she’d like to make that would get her the ultimate win.
“It’d have to be cheesecake. That’s my thing,” she said. “My two days off of work this weekend, I’ll be experimenting. My favourite is my toasted coconut cheesecake, which has converted a few coconut non-lovers.”
There are two ways to vote for Reed, and both can be found at greatestbaker.com/2020/melissa-reed.
Supporters can choose the ‘free daily vote’ option, completed through a Facebook login. Or, they can choose the ‘hero vote,’ which costs $1 USD and benefits the No Kid Hungry Foundation.
Anyone choosing that option can vote as much as they wish.
Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.