Pillsbury Bake-Off: Miami's Naylet Larochelle in Running for $1 Million

Categories: Kitchen Stories

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Courtesy of Pillsbury
Who doesn't love Pillsbury? With its adorable chubby Doughboy and love-handle-inducing cinnamon rolls, it's an American institution. And in search of top baking talent, the kitchen mega-brand is giving away $1 million in a bake-off.

And because Miamians are multi-talented, it's no surprise that a local woman is in the running. Naylet Larochelle was chosen as a semifinalist by the Bake-Off Kitchen judges, and if she makes it to the next round (by popular vote), she'll head to Vegas to compete against 99 other contestants for the big prize. So rep the 305 and vote!

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Larochelle was born and raised in Miami. Of Cuban descent, she grew up eating Latin food.

"My grandmothers have been my inspiration in the kitchen," she says. "No matter how many times they showed me how to make delicious dishes like yuca with mojo or paella, I have never been able to replicate the simple goodness in their dishes."

"They cooked with such love and passion that I fell in love with cooking and baking very early in my life."

The recipe that's taken her this far in the big-money competition is her Turkey and Pear Sandwiches With Spicy Orange Marmalade.

The dish was inspired by an appetizer at a family shindig, she says.

"My cousin's mother-in-law combined cream cheese and hot-pepper jelly. It was absolutely delicious. The simplicity of the tangy, rich cream cheese with the sweet yet spicy jelly was an explosion of flavor."

Contestants were required to use two of a series of eligible ingredients. Larochelle's were Smucker's Orchard's Finest Pacific Grove Orange Marmalade Medley and Pillsbury's Crusty French Loaf. They had to include seven ingredients or fewer and take 30 minutes or less to prepare.

There are three categories: Amazing Doable Dinners, Simple Sweets and Starters, and Quick Rise-and-Shine Breakfasts. Submissions are being accepted for Sweets/Starters.

There are a couple of other Floridians in the running thus far, but none local. If she wins the million bucks, Larochelle would set up shop in her hometown.

"I would probably look to open a pie bakery. It has always been a dream. I would love to have my family members working alongside me. Recently, my youngest daughter drew a picture of herself and me in our future pie bakery. It brought a tear to my eye!"

The final round kicks off in Vegas November 10 through 12, when Larochelle will take on Sin City with her kitchen skills.

You can vote for Larochelle's recipe here. Spread the word, 'cause we could totally use $1 million spent in our local economy -- and more deliciously fattening baked goods in our lives too.

Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahalexs.

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