Season 3 of Next Great Baker was a Kentucky Proud challenge, with two Kentuckians in the competition: Lexington’s James Brown of Brown’s Bakery, and Louisville’s Ashley Holt, a former model. Holt beat out a baker’s dozen of contestants to take the title, Next Great Baker.
Lexington’s James Brown made a tearful exit in Episode 2, in order to return home and be with his family and prepare for brain surgery. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor on the same day he was notified he’d made it to this season’s competition. He’s recovering successfully from his January 10 surgery at the University of Kentucky medical center, and is back at work at Brown’s Bakery this week, prepping for Mardi Gras and Valentine’s Day.
Louisville’s Ashley Holt was a fierce competitor from Episode 1 on, when she won MVP and a Mexico trip perk. She went Kentucky straight out of the gate, in the first challenge, a brown sugar and bourbon pie with an oatmeal cookie crust, “familiar but unique.” She won the baker’s challenge again in episode 3, for “a cardamom chocolate cake with a butternut spice filling with a cardamom-toasted meringue and candied butternut squash.” She won Episode 4’s MVP with an “Oreo Cookie cookie…a traditional chocolate chip cookie” with a few ingredients changed, and an Oreo tart and an Oreo bourbon ball. She again won the baker’s challenge in Episode 7, beating Paul in a relay triathlon and winning a sheeter. In episode 8, she took the baker’s challenge (and coverage in Redbook magazine) for her Buttery Nipple Cupcake. She took episode 9 for decorating a cake blindfolded.
In tonight’s finale, she took the baker’s challenge win for her volume baking and bake sale at the Venetian for the Vegas showdown, and the elimination challenge win for her Elvis Vegas show stopper cake.
Next Great Baker: Season 3 episode recaps
What’s Next for Next Great Baker’s James Brown?
New Year’s Eve Hoboken Style special,
Next Great Baker Update on James Brown, post Brain Surgery