ZEELAND, Michigan — A Zeeland woman is getting national recognition after winning a baking contest on Food Network and Magnolia Network. The Silos Baking Competition is hosted by Joanna Gaines of HGTV hit “Fixer Upper” alongside top bakers. Annie Paul now plans to reinvest her prize money in her community.
Paul has been a baker his whole life – first for fun, then as the owner of AP Baked Goods in Zeeland. So when she found out about the first-ever Silos Baking Contest in Waco, Texas, she knew she had to apply.
She submitted her summer sea bass recipe and a few weeks later received a Zoom call from Joanna Gaines to find out she was one of six finalists.
“Joanna had some really sweet things to say about how bar-friendly and easy to eat, carry and share,” Annie said.
At the competition in March, she had three hours to make her bars in the hot Texas sun, while four months pregnant.
“I was drinking a lot of water,” Annie said. “Sneak crackers under the table often enough to relieve morning sickness.”
She said what got her through was the support of her husband Joe and knowing her daughter Etta was watching mom live her dream.
“I was so excited for her for all the work she puts into the craft,” Joe said.
Family was the determination Annie needed. Morning sickness and pressure aside, she won the top prize – $25,000 and her bars to feature in Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Silos Baking Company in Waco.
“I was like in shock. I immediately started crying. I couldn’t believe it,” Annie said.
The episode aired earlier in June on the Food Network and the Magnolia Network, where she watched her big win with friends and family. Now she says her bakery is busier than ever. Annie strives to fill all of her berry bar orders and is also thinking of ways to give back. She plans to invest all of her prize money in the community.
“I had a lot of great opportunities at a young age, so we want to be able to give back,” Annie said.
She says she hopes to teach young children and teenagers baking skills, so they can achieve their dreams and be successful one day too.