Sugar Monster Sweets' Ashley Holt won last night's season three finale of TLC's Next Great Baker. Holt took "the baker's challenge win for her volume baking and bake sale at the Venetian for the Vegas showdown," according to Ace Weekly. The 25-year-old former model is also the head pastry chef at the Louisville Country Club, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported. She won a $100,000, a job at host Buddy Valastro's New Jersey bakery and a feature in Redbook.
The finale is set to re-air Sat., Feb. 16 at 9 p.m. with the "Next Great Baker: Road to the Finale" running at 8 p.m.
Louisville's Ashley Holt was a fierce competitor from Episode 1 on, when she won MVP and a Mexico trip perk. She went Kentucky straight out of the gate, in the first challenge, a brown sugar and bourbon pie with an oatmeal cookie crust, "familiar but unique." She won the baker's challenge again in episode 3, for "a cardamom chocolate cake with a butternut spice filling with a cardamom-toasted meringue and candied butternut squash." She won Episode 4?s MVP with an "Oreo Cookie cookie?a traditional chocolate chip cookie" with a few ingredients changed, and an Oreo tart and an Oreo bourbon ball. She again won the baker's challenge in Episode 7, beating Paul in a relay triathlon and winning a sheeter. In episode 8, she took the baker's challenge (and coverage in Redbook magazine) for her Buttery Nipple Cupcake.
UPDATE 5:30 p.m.: And via Louisville Hot Bytes user Wes P. (Foodie, 297 posts), more details about Holt:
Ashley is from central GA. She left GA as a teenager and went to NY to model. She has modeled internationally. She has done some local modeling, including a cover and spread in Leo [Weekly, Louisville's alt-weely]. She has worked for me [at Louisville's Impellizzeri's Pizza] off and on for the last 4-5 yrs. She has waited tables and tended bar at all 3 of our stores. Sugar Monster is her new bakery business. It's not a brick and mortar site yet, but you can find it on line. Her work and creativity is unbelievable!
UPDATE Feb. 15, 10:55 a.m. TLC 'Next Great Baker' Winner Ashley Holt Speaks with WAVE 3
Did Holt deserve the title? These kids thought so.
[H/T Louisville Hot Bytes]
[Photo: Twitter/Ashley Holt NGB3]