Mercer’s part-time reference librarian, Donna Wolfe, was the winner of the “Dinner made Easy” category for Pillsbury’s 45th Bake-Off Contest held March 25-27 at the Peabody Orlando Hotel in Orlando, Florida. Wolfe, who is from Hamilton, was one of four over-all finalists. Although she did not take home the million dollar grand prize, she did earn $5,000 for her chicken empanada cones.
The Bake-Off is one of the highest profile cooking competitions in the nation. It happens every two years and thousands of people enter, but the field is culled down to roughly 200 contestants. The competition has very strict rules, one rule states that contestants must provide a complete listing of all materials needed for the dish and all must be products of Pillsbury, Inc. and General Mills. It is the American Idol of cooking. This year the Bake-Off was hosted by Martha Stewart.
Wolfe, a first time contestant, was in competition with numerous veterans to the Cook Off Extravaganza. She told The VOICE she was very nervous when she first arrived at Orlando hotel, but she received tremendous support from “The Wolfe Pack” which included her brother Bill Wolfe and two of her best friends Neisja Yneawine and Genie Ferro.
Wolfe says “The reason I cook is because I like making people happy, and in my family food is love and a way of showing affection.” She say she began cooking as teenager, making grilled cheese melts for her friends on a waffle iron. Later she expanded her knowledge of cooking by using cookbooks and watching the Food Network and YouTube videos.
Wolfe began working at Mercer this past September. According to Diane Silverson, a fourth year Library and Circulation Assistant at Mercer, “Ms. Wolfe is very good with the kids and she goes above and beyond as a reference librarian. You can tell that she does really enjoy her job.”
Elizabeth Cribbs, another Reference and Cataloging Librarian at Mercer, had a chance to taste Wolfe’s empanada cones after she brought some in to share. Cribbs said, “There was a great balance of flavors, a really interesting blend, and they were not too spicy. I would love to make my own one day.”