Louisville’s Ashley Holt Wins Next Great Baker, Season 3

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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

Episodes 1,
Episode 2,
What’s Next for Next Great Baker’s James Brown?
Episode 3,
Episode 4,
Episode 5,
Episode 6,
New Year’s Eve Hoboken Style special,
Next Great Baker Update on James Brown, post Brain Surgery
Episode 7,
Episode 8
Episode 9

Next Great Baker Winner on Cake Boss

  • labman57

    If there is any justice in the world, karma will take a bite out of Gretel Ann’s ass … and she will find her Vermont bakery being boycotted by locals who can’t stomach patronizing the shop of a proud, blatant cheater.

    • eat, sleep, breath dance

      Ya. she sabotaged Jen who was supposed to be her friend. Go Ashley, you rock!

  • Sweet Thing

    That’s awesome. I’m so glad Ashley won!!! Could Gretel-Ann really have won the next great baker if she had not pulled so many antics. I think Gretel-Ann wanted everyone to feel sorry for her and that is pathetic. Gretel-Ann, Its a competition not a feel sorry the person who cheats and throws the f-bomb at the end of the show because Buddy chose Ashley. GOOD JOB Ashley.

  • LaVerne

    So glad Ashley won because I was sick of cry baby Gretel-Ann. As Sweet Thing mentioned in post, she always wanted people to feel sorry for her. Hell everybody had trials and tribulations so she need to get over herself. She always slid thru whereas others worked their butts off and not to mention what she did to Jen stove in order to secure the win. Karma is a bitch Gretel-Ann. Lastly, regardless of her outburst-his ass deserved every bit of it. She still is a great baker in my eyes. Congrats Ashley!!!!!!!!

  • Su

    Well done, Ashley!!! Your family must be so proud of you!! I’m so glad you will have a chance to learn in Carlo’s Bakery and have a bakery of your own in the future!

  • Julie R

    Ashley wasn’t very likeable throughout the season, but she was obviously talented and refreshingly transparent. She didn’t pretend to be anything but the cut-throat that she is. Gretal Ann, on the other hand was a whiney cheater whom I believe should have been disqualified for her unsportsmanlike conduct. She should have not been in the finale at all. She is an embarrassment to the show.

  • Richard Seiler

    Had Gretel-Ann won I would have been very disappointed at another Cheater being rewarded for bad behavior. I have little respect for Paul because; early on he learned to push Ashley’s buttons. He criticized her youth and lack of life experience and attacked her and undermined her repeatedly because her talent far exceeded his. We have all seen such personal conflicts in the work place and I seriously doubt that any employer would give up a talented individual over a conflict without watching what was going on and seeing the real cause. I suspect that Paul will always have issues with someone in a group of people; especially if they are talented and younger than him. He is insecure and attempts to deflect attention to his issues by attacking someone who is more talented and younger.

  • disqus_7TtJ46q5Ug

    Congrats Ashley!!!!!!

  • Addicted to the Crumb!

    Congrats Ashely!!! I am so glad she won Next Great Baker! She remained true to herself throughout the entire competition. If the prize would have gone to Gretel-Ann, she would be the “Lance Armstrong of the Next Great Baker”….cheater, cheater, cheater! Way to go Ashley! You deserved the title and didn’t have to sabotage anyone to get the crown!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/iloveslots Angela Parnell Godwin

    great job Ashley I think you did an amazing job.
    from Haley G
    Bedford,NS,Canada
    (posted from my moms facebook account)

  • oct02

    I am appalled that Buddy did not reprimand Gretal-Ann for her cheating. You just be judged on how good you are and not how well you sabotage someone else. Jen would probably have been in the top two if Gretel-Ann had not messed up her oven and hid pans. I really hope Buddy will not allow this to go on in the next season. If Gretel Ann had won, I would have been forever through with watching both Cake Boss and Next Great Baker.

    • http://www.facebook.com/emily.enfinger.3 Emily Enfinger

      I agree completely. I don’t think I can contiue watching this show. Buddy really disappointed me with his cavalier attitude toward the cheating.

      • pinkella

        Absolutely agree–did Buddy actually say he was PROUD of Gretel-ann? He totally lost all credibility with me at that point.

      • http://www.facebook.com/donna.geary.71 Donna Geary

        Yep. I Agree completely.

    • http://www.facebook.com/donna.geary.71 Donna Geary

      I’m totally in agreement. If the last competition had been Ashley and Jen I probably would have been rooting for Jen. (especially after Ashleys outburst.) That being said – Cheating or sabotaging should not be laughed off or allowed by Buddy.
      Even though I feel Ashley was much more talented, skilled and creative than Greta Ann – I’m wondering if Buddy found out that Greta Ann was cheating and that swayed his final decision???

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1372100147 Renee Warren Carroll

        I bet he did. If he did they should let us know because IMO it hurts the integrity of the show.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1372100147 Renee Warren Carroll

      I agree she cheated Jen should have been in the finals not the crybaby foul mouthed sore loser cheater!!

  • oct02

    Gretel Ann, if you read my comment I want to clairfy that I am not attacking you personally. I just did not agree with your tactics.

    • http://www.facebook.com/emily.enfinger.3 Emily Enfinger

      Greta Ann, If you read my comment I want to clarify that I think your behavior was terrible. What a dissappointment.

  • debi.ramey@gmail.cono

    I am very disappointed in you, Buddy. I thought you were a man of honor and integrity. Gretel Ann should have been disqualified immediately. I think you cheated Jen out of a chance to win this.You should be a ashamed of yourself. What does this teach your children? Do you want them to behave in this manner? I think you had better rethink this whole fiasco with Greta Ann. I am not sure that I will continue watching if this is what is a sign of what will be allowed. I have been a business woman for 23 years And I would never
    hire someone like Greta Ann. I think you owe Jen a huge apology!! Congratulations Ashley!! You are a fair, honest and talented baker.

  • pinkella

    Yes, congrats Ashley–a well-deserved win. So angry about Gretel ann cheating and Buddy saying he was PROUD of her–I couldn’t even watch the rest of the show. Blatant reality show BS. And Gretel ann was SO unlikable that it hurt when I did watch. Too bad for Jen, if not for the cheater she def would have been in the top 2.

  • http://www.facebook.com/donna.geary.71 Donna Geary

    I think we need to hear from Buddy regarding Greta Ann? That kind of behavior should not be tolerated.

  • http://www.facebook.com/donna.geary.71 Donna Geary

    I think we need to hear from Buddy regarding Greta Ann? That kind of behavior should not be tolerated.

  • rosemarie_tyson2002@yahoo.com

    I agree with a lot of the post. I’m very surprised that Buddy condoned Gretal-Ann’s cheating. Jen is owed an apology for Buddy allowing her cheating.

  • rosemarie_tyson2002@yahoo.com

    Oh look Greta-Ann is crying like she’s upset that Jen is leaving and now she’s trying to justify her cheating. Buddy like I said before you owe Jen an apology for not disqualifying the cheat.

  • sg54

    ~ To those that took exception to Ashley’s response to Paul: Ashley was operating
    on what 3 hrs. sleep in how many days? Let a person who has masterfully handled
    every situation while in a state of sheer exhaustion, criticize Ashley.

    ~ Frankly, Buddy set her up by even calling on Paul, who is a nasty, bullying
    tough-guy EXCEPT when crying crocodile tears to Buddy in the elimination room.
    Paul hated Ashley & Buddy should have not rewarded his bad behavior by
    taking his question.

    ~ Ashley walked-the-walk and had every right to talk-the-talk.

    ~ Even Buddy’s Mom didn’t get her panties in much of a twist over Ashley’s response to Paul.

    ~ Had the shocked family members been aware of Gretel Ann’s many evil ways, they
    may not have been so charmed by her fake niceness. Had Gretel Ann won, they’d
    all have to be watching their backs.

    ~ Her niceness went right out the window with her poor-looser “day care
    operation” comment. Gretel Ann’s age/wisdom didn’t do much for her with
    all of her mean, immature, looser comments.

    ~ NOTE TO GRETEL ANN AND PAUL: Last year’s winner, Marissa, was younger than
    Ashley.

    ~ The smirk on Paul’s face when he thought his insulting question sunk Ashley’s
    chance of winning, was every bit as disgusting as Gretel Ann’s evil,
    manipulative, saboteur behavior (because she couldn’t win on talent.)

    ~ This competition is about talent as a baker. Ashley had it all over Gretel Ann.
    Ashley came up with her own idea on her final cake challenge. Mauro had to come
    up with the main cake theme for tired Gretel Ann.

    ~ Buddy did not say the cake had to tell the competitor’s in-depth life story. He
    said to make it personal & Ashley did with her Ashley-Elvis.

    ~ I’m sure Buddy’s father thumped him on the side of the head when he said he
    admired Gretel Ann’s “drive to win,” when he should have been outraged by her cheating. Hopefully he’s a little wiser now, seeing how decent people have reacted to Gretel Ann’s “drive.” Buddy, perhaps in these after Las Vegas clips, couldn’t give away who the winner was going to be if he openly condemned Gretel Ann’s unacceptable actions. If I was Buddy, would have been scouring the dictionary a whole lot to come up with a better description than “drive,” that wouldn’t give the results away.

    ~ Lastly, Buddy needs to be able to stay on top of unacceptable behavior, so that such would disqualify a competitor immediately. Jen should have been in the finals, certainly not Gretel Ann. (It makes me wonder if Gretel Ann stole tickets from Jen, since deviousness was her method of operation.)

    ~ Kudos to the Venetian exec who recognized a winner!

    ~ THANK YOU BUDDY FOR MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICE!

    !!CONGRATULATIONS ASHLEY !!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1372100147 Renee Warren Carroll

      Well said!’

  • Love2shop

    Congrats to Ashley! Jen deserved to be in the finals. Gretel-Ann was a cheating, cry baby….whoa is me…blah,blah,blah…she had the same story every week. Wonder how she gets by in real life? I would not patronize her bakery, I could barely stand watching her. Hope they rethink the contestants and acceptable, ethical, criteria for next season.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1372100147 Renee Warren Carroll

    So glad she won!! Gretal Ann was a cheater. Raising the oven temperature on Jensen oven. Hiding the cookie pans really ??? Cheaters never win and winners never cheat. Congrats Ashley you deserved the win fair and square!!

  • Kerry Brabazon

    Gretal Ann was a devious, vile piece of humanity. She showed no compassion, camerarderie or any sense of team playing what so ever. If I was one of her customers then there is no way that I would set foot in her baker ever again, and I sincerely think that most of her customers will do the same. She in no way showed herself in a positive light and I think she should be thoroughly ashamed of the way she behaved throughout the entire series. Ashley I’m afraid didn’t far too much better in my opinion. Yes she’s young, but there’s no need for her to be as rude as she was, OK Paul wound her up, but she deserved it she was horrible and condescending toward him.. Chad, well his comments when Garrett went home that if someone was sick he would fire them, that finished it for me with him.

    I totally understand that it was a competition, it was not however an assassination. I hope that when they sit at home and watch the series they will be horrified at the way they behaved.

    The only person that behaved with dignity, and did not deliberately set out to upset, sabotage or make a fool out of their fellow competitors was Jen. I think she should be very very proud of herself, she behaved with professionalism, decorum and in my opinion is the true Next Great Baker



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