LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - How sweet it is! Louisville pastry chef Ashley Holt won it all this week on TLC's reality show, Next Great Baker.
Holt took home the top prize of $100,000 and her victory also earned her a job this season on the popular TV show, Cake Boss.
She's been flying back and forth to New York to tape Cake Boss, but she's still the head pastry chef at Louisville Country Club and we caught up with her back in the kitchen making some sweet treats for the club's Valentine's Day dinner.
The talented chefs at Louisville Country Club put out a feast for members celebrating Valentine's Day and this day sweet treats take center stage at the meal. Who better to serve them up than Holt.
Holt recalled of the reality show's finale, "When he said my name, I just fell to the ground."
Her country club buffet training was key. Winning involved excelling at a bake sale. It required that Holt make 400 cookies, 100 pastries, 10 pies and 10 cakes in 8 hours.
She said of the victory, "It's incredible because I've been trying for so long (to get on the show) and to just think, I kept coming back to win," she continued, "I get shaky thinking about it, but it's amazing!"
The 25-year-old former model won seven of ten challenges, but she feared her up front personality might have cost her the $100,000 when she went off on a competitor who she felt was bullying her at the finale.
"If he's going to disrespect me on national TV, I'm going to stand up for myself," Holt said.
Her spunk was one reason so many fans of the show loved the Louisville Chef. For example, some young fans on YouTube are seen working themselves into a frenzy when Holt's name was announced as the winner.
"That video of the kids that were so excited when they said my name, oh my God," Holt said, "I was crying like crazy!"
Equally excited was Louisville Country Club Executive Chef Dan Stage and Holt's co-workers who were left guessing from week to week. They told us, they tried to get it out of her, but she wouldn't budge.
"The funny thing is the night before the finale," Stage said, "I was talking with one of the sous-chefs and I was like, do you think she won? And he was like well, I think she won and then we went, maybe she didn't."
Holt joked of keeping quiet about the outcome, " I had my poker face on, and I was like, don't even try, you can't crack me."
The sweetest part of the win? "I'm going to use the money to finally open up my own shop," Holt said, "I can have my own bakery that I would have never been able to afford otherwise."
Holt will be busy in the next couple of months. Besides filming Cake Boss, she plans to open her Sugar Monster Sweets bakery before the end of this year and she's getting married in May.
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