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Pillsbury Kids Bake-off heats up here Saturday

Thursday, February 18, 1999

By Nancy Anderson, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Forty budding bakers and cooks, 9 to 13 years old, will compete in the Giant Eagle/Pillsbury Kids Bake-off from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Carnegie Science Center.

The competition will take place downstairs in the sleepover room near the cafeteria, where 10 ovens await the clatter of cookie sheets, cake pans and pie tins.

The youngsters, whose names were drawn randomly from nearly a thousand entries, hail from such diverse neighborhoods as Bethel Park and Verona, New Kensington and Washington, Oil City and Youngstown, Beaver Falls and Carnegie.

The rules are simple. Each recipe must contain at least one Pillsbury product.

Contestants will try to win over the judges with dishes such as Tater Tot Casserole, Fast Chicken Pot Pie, Meatball Biscuits, Doughboy Express, Scottish Shortbread, Roman Apple Cake, Mexican Shepherd's Pie, Chocolate Lollipop Delights, Spinach Bleu Cheese Foccacia and Sweetheart's Delight, to name a few.

For several years Pillsbury has been holding this event on a limited basis in Sacramento, Calif., and Hawaii, where the company had a tie in with a supermarket chain. Having a local sponsor to promote the bakeoff is a must.

This year it was offered to grocery biggies in cities like Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Rochester.

"Because Giant Eagle is a strong supporter of kids in the community, we presented it to them and they took it," said Kristin Huibregtse, local spokeswoman for Pillsbury. "We're doing it in Cleveland with Giant Eagle also."

The Science Center with its friendly Kitchen Theater , which offers programs on the science of cooking and nutrition, seems the perfect venue for the bake-off in Pittsburgh.

Other cities offer diverse settings. In Indianapolis, for instance, it was held in a tent in a parking lot while some towns use hotel meeting rooms.

The top prizes are impressive: grand, a trip for four to Orlando; first, a home computer system; second, a $1,000 U.S. Savings Bond; and third, a $500 U.S. Savings Bond. The 36 who do not place will receive a $50 gift certificate from Sears and a gift bag filled with goodies.

Justin Miller, the "world's youngest chef" from Baden, will give cooking demonstrations between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Other activities include cookie decorating for kids, face painting, and photographs with the Pillsbury Doughboy, KD Bear, Pirate Parrot and the Giant Eagle mascot. The free event will be broadcast live on WSHH radio all day.

Judges are Yvonne Zanos, KDKA-TV, Judy Dodd, Giant Eagle nutrition consultant, and Suzanne Martinson, food editor of the Post-Gazette.

Other sponsors are Royal Travel, Sears, the Post-Gazette, WSHH and KDKA-TV.

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