El Jebel woman makes it to finals in baking competition | AspenTimes.com

El Jebel woman makes it to finals in baking competition

Kim Wille

EL JEBEL – Kim Wille, of El Jebel, might have a $1 million recipe on her hands.

Wille learned last week that she qualified for the finals of the 46th Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest for her Thai shrimp pizza. She is competing in the Amazing Doable Dinners division.

Wille was selected by judges as one of the 60 semifinalists in March. The top 33 in online voting advanced to the finals. She mounted a widespread social-media campaign to alert Roaring Fork Valley residents and friends elsewhere about the opportunity to vote on the Pillsbury website. She said she got hundreds of messages from well-wishers who said they were voting for her.

Pillsbury is holding separate competitions in the appetizers and sweets division and the breakfasts division. Winners in each division will be crowned.

Wille will head to the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas Nov. 10 through 12 on an all-expenses-paid trip for the bake-off finals.

“It’s a little far off to be nervous,” she said.

The contestants in her division will share a huge kitchen to prepare their food. Judges will make the final call based on taste, appearance, use of allowable ingredients and cooking the dish in less than 30 minutes.

Wille said contestants aren’t allowed to tweak their recipes at this point, not that she wants to. She believes she’s got a winning recipe – as do the many friends who have tried her Thai treat. Wille thinks she gained an edge by using ingredients made by three Pillsbury companies: Pillsbury pizza dough, Jif Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter and Smucker’s Orchard’s Finest Pacific Grove Orange Marmalade Medley.

Getting this far in the competition is impressive enough. Tens of thousands of entries were submitted. Wille said her research indicates there has never been a winner from the Western Slope of Colorado. She aims to change that and bring home the grand prize.

“I think I have pretty good chances,” she said.