Nov 07, 2013 • By

Mothers and daughters face off at the Bake-Off Contest

The 46th Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest is just days away, and this year two finalists will go oven-to-oven with the women who taught them how to bake to begin with – their mothers.

JoAnne Tucker and her mom Anna Zovko, both from Tampa, Fla., are finalists with recipes in the Quick Rise and Shine Breakfasts category.

JoAnne says she isn’t bothered by the fact she and her mom are competing against each other.

“I was just crying. I couldn’t believe with both made it. I was so excited. I’m just happy to go with her. I hope she wins!”

pillsbury bake off

Anna Zovko and JoAnne Tucker.

Donna Fogel from Whitehall, Pa. is a finalist with a recipe in the Quick Rise and Shine Breakfasts category, as well. Her mother, Christine Wilson from Sellersville, Pa. is a finalist with a Simple Sweets and Starters category entry.

Like JoAnne and Anna, this duo is thrilled for the opportunity to attend the Bake-Off Contest together.

“Of course, I would be ecstatic if either of us won the grand prize. Even just an opportunity for a ‘girls trip’ like this is an awesome treat that we wouldn’t have done for ourselves!”  Donna tells us.

“I feel like we are competing with, not against each other, but I guess we are!” says Christine.  “I would love to see her win. It’s the mother in me!”

Coincidentally, both mothers have competed in the Bake-Off Contest before. Christine was a finalist in the 44th contest, in 2010.

bakeoff contestants

Christine Wilson and Donna Fogel.

“My first trip to Pillsbury’s Orlando 2010 contest was amazing. I was in awe of the magnitude of the event and planning that had to bring us all together. My Golden Breakfast Bruschetta didn’t place in the event, but I certainly gained more experience which may help me the second time around.”

Eight years before that, Anna was a finalist in the 40th contest. It was that trip that inspired daughter JoAnne to enter.

“I was mom’s tag-along 11 years ago at the 2002, 40th Bake-Off Contest. It was so exciting! I couldn’t believe a hundred people baking in that hotel ballroom all at the same time, all of the activity … I thought, Oh my gosh, I need to do this too,” says JoAnne.From that time on, on and off, we’ve both been entering.”

This year, JoAnne entered a total of 11 recipes. She came up with what she thought was a killer muffin recipe, but Anna insisted JoAnne send in her breakfast bar recipe, too. Mother knew best.  JoAnne landed a spot in the Bake-Off Contest Finals with her recipe for Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Breakfast Bars.

Anna began submitting Bake-off recipes in the late 60s. This year, she became a finalist with her recipe for Chicken Alfredo Brunch Pizza.

pillsbury brunch pizza

“It turned out so good. In fact, the first time I made it, the children came over, and they thought it was delicious, so I entered it.”

Donna, who concocted a winning recipe for Creamy Coconut Mocha Hazelnut Pastries, sent in six recipes over the past couple years.

“Growing up, my mom taught me how to make favorites like crepes and fortune cookies, mostly breakfasts and desserts.  We love to experiment. I learned from the best!”

Donna’s mom, Christine, found success with a recipe for Lime in the Coconut Cookie Fudge.

“I like to experiment in the kitchen with new ideas and ingredients and can often be found there, even when I should probably be doing other things, like the laundry! My mom was my biggest inspiration in the kitchen and won lots of contests but was never in a Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest.  I think she’d be proud that her granddaughter and I are in the contest.”

pillsbury doughboy

Christine Wilson

No matter what happens at the 46th Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest, it’s safe to say the mothers and daughters have already won big.

“What I’ve enjoyed most is being with my daughter,” Anna shares. “It’s a joy just baking and talking back and forth and exchanging the recipes.”

Like her mom, JoAnne is savoring every second of the experience.

“It is a dream come true to be doing this at this level with my mom, but more importantly just the whole process of it … the whole experience together as mother and daughter, I would say we have become closer through the years because this is a hobby that we do together.”

We’ll be at the contest in Las Vegas on Monday – Nov. 11 – and will bring you some highlights, and the winner, here on “A Taste of General Mills.”