XENIA — Stacie Baxley learned a big lesson during last year’s 4-H Baking Contest at the Greene County Fair.
“Always read the ingredients over and over again,” the 10-year-old Xenia resident said. “I forgot an ingredient last year.” And it cost her first place.
In Monday’s contest at the fair, the McKinley Elementary School fifth-grader’s preparedness made the difference as she won the Beginner Division in a too-close-to-call finish. In a virtual tie, Judge Lauren Menke cited Baxley’s slightly better preparation in making mini pizzas as the difference.
It made Baxley a first-time baking champion.
“I literally jumped up and down,” Baxley, a member of the 4-H Buds, said. “I’ve never won first place before in baking.”
Despite the euphoric reaction, Baxley said she was “really confident” as the contest began. She kept positive thoughts in her head.
“I got this,” she said to herself, and out loud. “I think about (the contest). Everything else goes blank. I’m concentrating on my cooking.”
A little practice helped too. The beginners get the ingredient list and the recipie ahead of time so they can practice. Baxley made the pizzas for her family on Sunday. But she modified the parameters to make sure she was ready for Monday.
In the actual contest, the budding chefs have three minutes to set up and 30 minutes to prepare and cook the recipe. Baxley gave herself only two minutes to set up, just to make sure she was really ready.
“She’s learned a lot from watching her older sister (Alexis) not be prepared,” Baxley’s mother, Debbie Baxley, joked.
Sam Lewis from Clover Patch was second while Karleigh Godfrey from Husky Hustlers 4-H was third.
In the Intermediate Division, Stefanie Burban from Clovers for Christ 4-H was first, followed by Molly Rubio from Eager Beavers and Elizabeth McDonald from Greene Acres.
Amanda Perkins from Clover Patch was the only entrant in the Senior Division while Alexis Adams of 4-H Buds was the lone contestant in the Best of the Bakers Division.
Judging criteria consisted of correct measurements, neatness of the work space, taste of the product and a short interview consisting of nutrition questions.
Menke said the baking was close and that everyone did a good job. She encouraged everyone to enter again next year.