XENIA — Three sets of siblings raced the clock — prepping, measuring, sifting, stirring — during the baking contest held July 31 in the Assembly Hall.
Nine-year-old Matthew Lee was one of the contestants in the beginners’ division to open the baking contest. He, along with four others, made french toast at their individual stations. The process involved a three-minute set up, 30 minutes to prepare the dish from a written recipe, time in the oven, clean up, and a few questions from the judge.
But the best part for Matthew Lee was, admittedly, “the eating part.”
A first-timer in the contest, Matthew Lee made his french toast in the oven — and shared it — but he said at home he likes to cook bacon the most. The hardest part, he said, is choosing when the dish is done and ready to come out of the oven.
Not long after Matthew Lee gave up his spot on the judging floor, two familiar faces carried their own ingredients to their assigned places and prepped their tables. These happened to be his siblings, Michael and Mary, who competed in the intermediate level of bakers with five others.
According to Michael Lee, 12, there’s more than one cook in his home.
He learned how to cook on his own, with a little help from his mom and grandma.
He and his sister faced-off one-on-one to bake buttermilk cornbread, a competition Michael said was just for fun.
“We just both wanted to do it,” he said. “It’s fun and we like to cook at home.”
Mary Lee, 13, agreed, adding, “My mom likes to cook and my dad makes pie.”
Other sets of siblings joined the Lees in the “kitchen” — including Braeden Gill in the beginners’ division and Kennedy Gill in the intermediate division, and Ben Pulfer in the beginners’ division and Katelynn Pulfer in the intermediate division.
In the beginners’ division, Ben Pulfer won a second place ribbon and Braeden Gill received third place. For the intermediates, Kennedy Gill won the second place spot while Katelynn Pulfer earned third place.
“(Today) we have contestants from the same clubs and families … it’s friendly competition,” Judge Amy Habig said during a break in the action.
The baking contest concluded with one senior contestant, Michael Montgomery, who won first place for tea biscuit pizza. Montgomery, 16, had never participated in a baking contest before.
In the Best of the Bakers division, Karleigh Godfrey was the only contestant, winning the blue ribbon for her 40-minute yeast rolls. Godfrey had won the senior division the year before, qualifying her for the final competition. The Best of the Bakers is different from the other contests, as the contestant is not given the recipe until a few minutes before the clock starts.