El Jebelian eyes top prize in Pillsbury Bake-Off | AspenTimes.com

El Jebelian eyes top prize in Pillsbury Bake-Off

Scott CondonThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO, Colorado
Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times

EL JEBEL – El Jebel’s Kim Doyle Wille has a reputation in the Roaring Fork Valley as a good cook. Now she’s trying to prove it to the world.She recently was named one of the 60 semifinalists in the Amazing Doable Dinners division of the 46th Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest. She’s vying for accolades for her Thai shrimp pizza, as well as the $1 million grand prize. (Pillsbury jokes that it’s 1 million in dough. It gets paid out at $50,000 per year for 20 years.)”This has been a lifelong dream since I was a kid,” Wille said.She cooked for her family starting at a young age while growing up in Georgetown. Both parents worked, so she chipped in by taking care of dinner, she said. She whipped up legendary goodies at the Last Stand, a concession stand at Aspen’s Iselin Park in the 1980s.She entered the cook-off before but never advanced this far. Thousands of recipes were screened for the semifinals by Pillsbury representatives. Now the public will vote on whom will advance to the finals. Voting is currently taking place at http://www.pillsbury.com/BakeOff/Voting-Home/Voting-Gallery.Later competitions will take place in the appetizers and sweets division and the breakfast division. The top 100 from the three categories will advance to the Bake-Off Contest Finals Nov. 10 through 12 at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.The competitors have the added challenge of working with no more than seven ingredients, and their selections must take only 30 minutes or less to prepare, not including baking or cooling time. Lists of possible ingredients were provided to contestants, mostly coming from Pillsbury and affiliated companies.Wille said she looked at the lists, and the idea of Thai Shrimp Pizza hit her “right off the bat because of that Jif Extra Crunchy peanut butter.”It took trial and error before she was satisfied with the outcome. “I had to make it three times to nail down the recipe,” Wille said.She’s pleased to have made it the semifinals, in itself an impressive feat. “There’s usually about 10,000 entries,” she said. But she wants to win the grand prize. Second and third place also are awarded.So, what if she wins the $1 million? On the top of her list is to travel with her son, Cody. “I haven’t had a vacation with Cody for 15 years,” she said.Next is insurance and then repairs on her house. She wants to go to Colorado Mountain College and earn a degree in the Isaacson School for New Media and apply her skills to activism in social issues. In addition to being a good cook, Wille is a highly skilled photographer and a tireless worker on issues such as hunger. She’s hoping victory in the cook-off will let her polish skills on all those areas.scondon@aspentimes.com

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