Who Won Next Great Baker Season Three? The Finale

Who Won Next Great Baker Season Three? The Finale


In last week’s penultimate episode of Next Great Baker, cake boss Buddy Valastro told Gretel-Ann she would be going to the Vegas finale with Jen and Ashley, but as an underdog.

The finale begins with Luck… blackjack. Ashley wins, and gets first pick of teammates — from Buddy’s bakers and family members — for the baker’s challenge: baking and selling at least 400 cookies, 100 pastries, 10 cakes, and 10 pies. The baker that sells the least is going home. Ashley takes sister Mary (for her sales acumen) and baker Danny.

At the kitchen, former contestants Peter, Paul, Em, Garrett, Letty, and Melissa are assembled to be drafted. Ashley is given first pick to assign a former contestant to a competitor’s team. She sends Paul to Gretel-Ann. Gretel-Ann sends Garrett to Jen, “because he quit.”

Jen opts to bake: amaretto Italian cream cake, caramel apple pie; scones and cream puffs; and chocolate chip, molasses, peanut butter, and whoopie pie cookies.

Gretel-Ann goes for: chocolate dulce delight cake; chocolate pecan cake; no-bake, thumb print, whoopie pie, and rugelach cookies; and lemon bars and eclairs.

Ashley makes: black forest fudge cake; chess pie; lemon raspberry tart and profiteroles for the pastries; and applesauce spice, chocolate chip, peanut butter chip, and oatmeal cookies.

To kick off, Gretel-Ann hides sheet pans. “It’s not cheating; it’s being creative.” Then she cranks up the oven temps on the cookies from 350 to 425.

Then she all but twirls an imaginary mustache.

Ashley and Jen each sacrifice some product to the sabotage. Now it’s a one-hour Bake Sale selling war. Despite the lost product, Ashley wins the highest sales (by hundreds) and the Baker’s Challenge. Gretel-Ann beat Jen by 24 ticket sales. Jen goes home. Instead of a box truck, a gondola picks her up. “Get in the boat.”

Buddy takes Ashley and Gretel-Ann for a night out in Vegas (Elvis impersonators, pink convertible rides etc), and then tells them at dawn the Elimination Challenge is on. Back to the kitchen. Back into their chef’s coats.

From eliminated bakers and Buddy’s crew, Ashley picks Ralph, Frankie, Chad, Jess.

Gretel-Ann gets Chris, Tyne, and James Brown.

The theme is a Las Vegas showstopper cake.Go big or go home.

Ashley goes with her-as-Elvis theme.

Gretel-Ann wants her cake to tell the story of Gretel-Ann.

Ashley voice-overs her team’s work, “I want my own business. I want to have my own bakery. I don’t have the money to do that. I don’t have the credit to do that.”

Gretel-Ann says, “being selfish is not always a bad thing…I had to do what I had to do. It’s not because I’m this evil, conniving bitch. I have this bakery at home that struggles every day. If we have to close it, that financial burden that’s going to be put on my husband’s and my head is unfathomable. Ashley’s young. She doesn’t have as much riding on this as me. It’s not that she doesn’t deserve to win. I just deserve it more.”

Next, Ralph has Ashley take off her chef’s coat and pose so he can “sculpt” her.

The finished entries are: Gretel-Ann’s team presents a slot-machine cake (The Venetian is misspelled on it.); Ashley’s has a tiered cake topped by her-as-Elvis.

The judges assemble: Buddy, Buddy’s mom, and Joey Fatone.

Gretel-Ann tells the story of her cake through tears. Ashley is more composed, but still enthusiastic.

Both cakes are lauded by the judges. Then Buddy adds a twist: the former competitors will get a chance to vote. Gretel-Ann is worried. “I am the only one who realized this was a competition. And people are pissed off at me.”

The Q and A starts with Letty asking Gretel-Ann if she has learned to be a team player. Gretel-Ann blames her early clashes on nerves and being intimidated by such great fellow contestants.

Next, Paul asks Ashley, “how does a 25-year-old kid have the life experience to become the Next Great Baker.”

Ashley is not taking a page from Gretel-Ann’s playbook:

“Is that a serious question? You’ve been a condescending person this entire time. So for you to say…I’m a 25-year-old kid is bullshit. Life experiences? You have no idea what the hell you’re talking about. You don’t know me. You think you’re better than everyone here. You’re an arrogant asshole. You have been this entire time. I don’t need to answer your damn question.”

Ashley gets the teammates’ votes, 7 to 4.

Buddy’s family and crew: Head baker Joey admits Ashley’s outburst bothered him. “You took a chance on blowing $100,000 just to tell him what you thought about him? Was it worth it?” Gretel-Ann wins that vote.

Joey Fatone votes for Ashley’s cake.

Buddy’s mom says Ashley’s cake is better, but she disapproved of the outburst.

Buddy gives the two of them one more shot to make a plea. Ashley still isn’t going to eat crow, “I might have a bad mouth sometimes… but I’m not ashamed of who I am. I don’t regret a single thing.”

Gretel-Ann describes her sacrifices, and says, “I know I can be what you need me to be.”

Buddy drags it out…. and then crowns Ashley: Next Great Baker.

Gretel Ann’s response is less conciliatory than it was when she still needed votes: “Are you f*ing kidding me right now? You just chose a child over me. Good luck Buddy with your daycare operation. Your family wanted to work with me.”

Now Ashley’s in tears, and is joined onstage by her sister and fiance. Next stop: $100,000 which will allow her to turn her baking business into a brick and mortar store, but first, she’ll go to work with Buddy.

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


  1. Thank God Gretel Ann didn’t win! She’s a liar and a cheat and should have been disqualified. This is a COMPETITION! Last time I checked, cheating isn’t part of competition. I hope she realizes by pulling all the stunts she did that it only hurt her business. Who wants to do business with a cheater?

    • I feel sorry that she was gulible enough to let herself be set up to do that on National TV. She MUST have been paid a huge wad of cash for lowering her standards that way.(If she had any to begin with. I was a set up, otherwise WE the TV audience, would never have known she turned the ovens up and hid the trays…

  2. So happy for Ashley! Her outburst was warranted and Gretel Ann didn’t deserve to even be in the finale and had the family known how much of a scumbag she was I doubt they would’ve picked her. She should be ashamed that she couldn’t win the bake off on her own merit..she had to cheat and screw over Jen! Gretel Ann defiantly got what she deserved and should’ve been disqualified!

  3. I’m very disappointed, I think Gretl-Ann should of been told to leave after turning the oven temp up. The show down should of been between Jen and Ashley. They both competed by what they could do not by trying to back stab the other players. Buddy my little grand daughter even questioned why you let a cheater stay.

    • Sorry, Gretel-Ann—-it WAS cheating to hide the baking sheets and turn the ovens up. You should have been disqualified. If you can’t win a competition on your own merits, you don’t deserve to win. Trying to sabotage your opponents speaks volumes to your character and, in my opinion, negates your win.

  4. I didn’t follow the show that closely – but when I watched I thought Greta-Ann had talent but something was wrong with her – she was sneaky and she cheated – did not deserve to be in the finals. Jen belonged in the last round. Ashley was pissed with the Staten Island slob – but in business you have to choose when to vent and in front of the audience is not the right place.

    • I’m with everyone else Gretel Ann was a snake in the grass! If she did’nt CHEAT Jen would have made it to the top 2! She lost those cupcakes cause the CHEATER turned her oven up!! It made me sick to watch the lows that woman slumped to! All she kept saying is its a competition. Yea ya loser its a competition on your baking skills! If you cant win on that alone than that speaks volumes about your baking skills and also explains why your bakery is failing! Karma, I sure hope you don’t tell your children when a math or spelling bee comes around to cheat cause after all its just a competition. All I can say is shame on you Gretel Ann! Not only does everyone world wide know the person you are but so does your children and employee’s and customers you were so worried about! Sleep well tonight if you can!!

      Also take it easy on Buddy he didn’t know what was going on til it was to late or I/m sure he would have called her out! I loved(NOT) the comment that GA made about a kid being picked over her and good luck buddy running a day care! No I guess he would much rather watch over some under handed woman who might do anything or sabotage anyone in Carlos Bakery to make it up the rungs

  5. 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.

    • Totally agree with this!! I would NEVER buy anything from Gretel Ann’s Bakery… Having said that, I think it was set up that way to cause DRAMA… I have lost respect for Buddy and his family for allowing this to happen.

  6. I’m glad that Ashely stood her ground and spoke her mind against that arrogant jerk. She’s a hard worker and she’s won more times in this season than anyone else. Gretel-Ann was a cheater and a two-faced liar. Of course people weren’t going to vote for her in her favor! She screwed a lot of people! Good job, Ashley! You deserved it!!

  7. This stand off should have been Jen & Ashley. Gretl-Ann was the real kid in this. The next great baker should be a team player & that’s exactly who & what they got. “Well done, Ashley!”

  8. Glad to hear how ot ended……. Watched only 30 min and turned it off. I thought buddy was a more stand up guy than that. Wont watch a season after this……… She should have been disqualified from moving on after the BS she pulled. Pathetic

  9. I would of quit watching the Next Great Baker and Cake Boss if cheating Gretel Ann won. She should be ashamed of herself. What is she teaching children that it’s O.K. to cheat if you want to win. She will never get my business. She sold herself out. She knew she didn’t have the talent to win so she cheated and YES a 25 year old did beat you fair and square YOU BIG CHEATER.

  10. Gretel Ann should have been disqualified for cheating. Jen deserved to be standing with Ashley till the end. Lousy judging by Buddy to keep Gretel Ann.

  11. .The real loser of the “Next Great Baker” is Buddy and his family. This season’s competition tarnished his reputation as a caring, stand-up guy (but who now apparently condones cheating) and changed the bakery’s focus from great cakes to side-show antics. Sorry, but I won’t be watching future episodes of any show involving the Velastros

    • Couldn’t agree more! He should be embarrassed. I would never do business with Gretel Ann, and neither should he. Seriously, I wouldn’t let Gretel Ann take out my trash!

    • I did not like it when Buddy said something to the effect of well Gretl-Ann really wants to win (right after her sabotage) and he kind of admired that. Really? That is all you can say? Disgusting, And wait til Jen and Ashley see how GA was all nice to their faces…

    • I’ll give Buddy one chance in the next season, if there is one, to make it clear that cheating like Gretl-Ann did is an instant kick-off the show. Otherwise he can take all his churchy behavior and flush it down the toilet of unreality.

  12. I think the show has lost is proffesionalism and Buddy has become too dramatic and sensationalized. Is the show about baking or all this ridiculous drama that happened in this last episode. Let’s take the “Hollywood” out of the show and let it be the baking challenge it should be. I was very disappointed with the shows foolishness this past season and with Buddy’s lack of expertise in his judging. Gretal Ann should have been kicked off before Chad ever was…crocodile tears saved her place rather than Chad’s expertice and talent. Perhaps Buddy was intimated by Chad and didn’t want a better baker than him working for him. Good job Ashley…you were fabulous…control your mouth and you will go farther in life.

  13. I lost all respect for Buddy letting that cheater go forward. Buddy cheated Jen out of a chance. Even though I was rooting for Ashley Jen should have been in the final two.

  14. I’m so glad that Ashley won, she was my pick. I think Buddy should have disqualified Gretal – Ann for cheating. I’m sorry but it’s not ‘creative’ when you tamper with someone’s sheets and oven temperatures. It’s flat-out cheating. But even her wicked back-stabbing, snake in the grass exploits couldn’t put her over the top – because she’s sub-par. I bet if Jen knew how Gretal-Ann tried to sabotage her twice she wouldn’t have voted for her in the finale. Some people are very good at being two-faced.

  15. congrats Ashley! If Gretl-Ann would of won. I would have NEVER watched that show again. Cheaters never should prosper! Buddy how could you not kick her out. Others deserved that finale spot. Ones that did not CHEAT.

  16. I totally agree!!! Gretel Ann should have been kicked off!!!! Cheaters never win!!! If they would have chosen her I would never watch again!! I love the show but fair play should always be the number 1 priority! Would she have acted that way at Carlos bakery if she didn’t get her way?? Congrats to Ashley she deserved it all the way!!!!!

    • I said the same thing about her. I stopped trusting Gretl-Ann when she tried to sabotage Jen a few weeks back (remember how she didn’t do the border on purpose and half did the squares.)

  17. i am so glad gretel ann lost. If she would have won i never would have watched anything related to cake boss anymore. She was so grimy and played the game dirty. You should be able to win because you are amazing at what you do. If you are truly good at what you do then compeition wouldnt be a problem. But Gretel Ann’s cheating ways are no way to win and thankfully she didnt. All she cared about was her own bakery. She doesnt care about cake boss. Very selfish person. Go Ashley!!!

  18. I really thought Buddy would make things right by calling out Gretyl-ann for her cheating …over and over again.
    I’m wondering if I misjudged Buddy’s moral compass………I sure did think he was an honest man who espoused good values, but now I he has gone down several notches in my estimation..
    Not sure how long I’ll watch his shows after he goes along with Gretyl’s cheating……

  19. Grow up Gretel Ann!!!!! Ashley is more mature then you will ever be! She did NOT have to play games to win, and she won many many times, can you say the same ? NO!
    I wanted Jen to win, but since you screwed her out of it, I’m happy it was Ashley. to be honest I wouldn’t have minded if it was Paul who won over you & I didn’t like him at all.
    he was obnoxious, but at least he played fair! yes it was a competition but that doesn’t mean you play DIRTY. and you had stink all over you!!! thats why you have always heard NO & thats why you are a LOSER!!!!!!

  20. to Ashley Barnes, she did alot of crying about her shop needed this, but she never gave a thought about how she made an ass out of her self & should the world that shes a liar & a sneak & NOBODY wants to do business with someone like that!!!

  21. It’s too bad that Gretel-Ann was able to be in the finale. She is such a cheater. Cheating is not how you compete. Competition is when parties perform the same tasks on a level playing field. The winner of any competition should always be the person with better performance… Not a person that sabotages her opponent’s equipment! Jen should have been standing with Ashley at the end. Both ladies acted with integrity and would have been gracious in the end. Shame on Gretal-Ann and shame on Buddy for letting her be on the pedistol that she should have been removed from long ago! You both owe a public apology to Jen!……..by the way, congrats, Ashley!

  22. My Wife and I agree — Listen up Cheater Gretl-Ann: Just goes to show you that cheaters never win — even if you think that you did, in the long run you really don’t. Remember this also — your customers in VT saw the show and that you couldn’t win the NGB without cheating. If we lived in the area we wouldn’t be doing business at your bakery any longer! Yes, this was a competition but to have to cheat — and cry — to win is not an approrpriate way to do it. What kind of example is that to anyone who wants something and is that something you would allow one of your employees to do to you? Buddy: If you want to have any future viewers of NGB, make sure that you say up front that cheating will not be tolerated and the contestant will immediately be removed from the competition. Had G-A won, both of your shows would have had 2 less viewers. For Jen: You should have won and if/when we are in the San Jose area, we will be come to see you!

  23. Buddy, I hope you can make this right with Jen! She came a long way and deserved a fair shot. Please let us find out later that you didn’t know what Gretal-Ann was doing behind the scenes!

  24. Between a foul mouthed kid (because she acted like a little brat with her response, thanks for proving Paul right! Ashley should have responded like a grown adult, not with cussing like a teenager.) who no one in your family wants to work with, and a cheater who pulled stunts to get ahead through out the whole show who thought that was okay… JEN totally should have been in the finals, and should have won. She never had outbursts or cheated.

  25. Last night I turned off the TV and never watched the sorry ending. I will not have my children, who I let stay up late to watch this family favorite, think that it is ok to cheat, lie, and sabotage others to win. Did we not just go through this with Lance Armstrong? I am not surprised that there are unscrupulous selfish people out there like Gretl-Ann, what I am surprised about is that Buddy, whom portrays himself to be an upstanding honest man would stand by and act like what was occurring was a way to “fight hard”. I was more disappointed with Buddy and TLC for promoting cheating as “strategy”. Buddy, do you honestly want your four children to use these tactics one day? Well, my four children will NOT if I have anything to do with it, we turned off the TV and had a family talk about ethics and honesty.

    • My guess is that Buddy knew right from the start that GretlAnn was going to turn the ovens up and hide the coveted trays… just to add spice to the show… They purposely televised it and informed and “showed” everyone that she was doing it, otherwise WE (TV audiance) would never have known. I totally disrespect the owners of the bakery for this and I would NEVER buy anything from Gretel’s bakery becasue if she could do what she did, God knows what she would substitute if she ran out of the right ingredient for her baked goods. Perhaps Melamine like the Chinese did in the baby food?… AND~~~ nope, I’m not finished yet…. in my opinion, if she was not “paid” to act like a cheat, she should have said something…. and refused to go along….

  26. Gretl Ann should NOT have been in the final. She hid pans and sabatoged the oven temperature. She is whiney, dishonest and deceiptful. I am not happy that Ashley won, but I am happy that Gretl-Ann did not. I also find it disgusting that Buddy was amused by Gretl-Ann’s tricks and back stabbing. I am pretty much done watching his shows, not integrity, just interested in ratings and money. F.Y.I. I have tasted his cakes, look good, not that tasty.

  27. It was right that GA lost because she cheated, however, it as clear from the begining that Ashley was Buddys favorite, he passed her through on compatitions that should have gone to someone else. How disrespectful it was to Buddys wife and family the way he drooled over Ashley. Jen was the best and should have won hands down. Don’t know if I’ll be back next season.

  28. Buddy, I enjoy your shows, and will continue to watch, but…you need to make it clear that the cheating that happened this season will not be acceptable in upcoming seasons. I fear you will have a room full of bakers thinking that is what they need to do to win. I doubt that is the kind of show your Mother watches on TV, it certainly isn’t the kind of show I enjoy. I am glad you didn’t pick Gretal Ann, but, she should have been “fired” instead of promoted to the finals.

  29. I sincerely hope that Buddy didn’t know Gretal-Ann cheated until after the fact. If he did know, and still promoted her to the finale – he should lose his contract, and no longer be the host of this show. They should get Rachel Ray or one of the Iron Chefs, anyone who doesn’t promote dishonesty and cheating.

  30. I always loved that this was a family show, one that even my “littles” could watch. I am so disappointed in Buddy for allowing a cheater to move on into the finals. By doing that, he showed that cheating is acceptable when trying to reach a goal. Shame on him and the producers!

  31. Jen got ripped! Gretel Ann should have been told to leave, what is this teaching our children it is ok to cheat if your in a competition? Cheating is NEVER ok. Jen and Ashley would have been a better competition. Who knows Jen could have won!

  32. Congrats Ashley. I agree it should of been Jen and Ashley. I was very disappointed that Gretle Ann was allowed to stay in the competition after all her cheating ways. I had a long talk with my daughter explaining it’s not ok to cheat. It’s called karma G-A it will bite you in the butt. People will boycott your bakery. You brought it all on yourself. Ashley God takes care of the pure of heart. Congrats and good luck.

  33. I agree completely that Gretel-Ann should not have been in the finale, but Buddy tweeted after the show that he did not know Gretel-Ann turned the ovens up. She may have cheated, but everyone saw who she really was, and it ended up biting her in the butt. So happy for Ashley, she is a team player, not a cheater.

  34. I cannot believe she wasn’t immediately kicked out of the contest for cheating. Who in the world would say cheating is OK to win! I’ve lost a lot of respect for Buddy since he knew there was cheating & didn’t deal with it. Sickened me that Jen was beat by Gretel-Anne. Should have been Jen vs Ashley. Feel like nobody won – left a very bad taste in my mouth for the entire bakery.

  35. Shame on gretel Ann. She used tears EVERY SINGLE WEEK to further herself. She was unethical and dishonest. Should have gone home when she sabotaged Jen with the piping weeks ago. I have watched every episode of cake boss and next great baker and am surprised that buddy let her get away with these tactics. What is this…the bachelor? Even with her cheating and scheming she STILL LOST!!! Bravo Ashley I picked you on week one you deserve this!

  36. I am also disappointed in the series for allowing someone to overtly cheat and stay in the contest. How dare we get to the point that this is ‘good TV’ and what? ups the audience. Why allow such to happen and continue. She cheated when she had immunity and thought she had the right to do so and was allowed to continue her sabotage. Jen was cheated out of being in the final two. If anyone should be complaining now it is her. It is hard to find programs you allow your grandchildren to watch and this was one I loved and we loved to watch together. Now, all of us are disappointed in the producers and if Buddy was aware of this, shame on you too.

  37. I will seriously never watch another season of this show. I loved most of it, but I was so disgusted that Buddy regarded Gretel Ann’s back stabbing & cheating as ‘spirit’ or ‘passion’. Her lack of character, morals & loyalty is disgusting & should not be celebrated. Anyone who finds that positive or charming lacks ethics themselves. Shame on you Buddy, you should’ve been a man, called her out & then kicked her out.

  38. So happy that Ashley won. Should have been her and Jen in the final. So very disappointed in the way Buddy handled this. His father built this company on hard work and morals and Buddy allowed a cheater and a liar to wreck the competition. Compete to win on your own merits. This is what is so wrong with our society! My children will no longer be allowed to watch anything having to do with Buddy or Carlos Bakery. Sad state of affairs! I hope his mother is very disappointed in him allowing Gretel Ann to continue. I also hope that Gretel-Ann will take a long, hard look in the mirror and realize that winning is not worth the shortcuts and cheating she participated in. Sad for her mom to see such a degredation of character after she appeared on the show with her. I would be embarassed to be Gretel Ann or Buddys mother.

  39. I would never turn my back on Gretel-Ann. She started cheating in the Carabba’s episode, when she tried to sabotage her own team so she could see a strong competitor go home. Her evil increased exponentially from that point on.

    And she had the gall to admit to her strategies in her confessionals. What did she think the others would think once the show aired? Will she ever have any friends again?

  40. I am so disappointed in Buddy. I thought he was better than that. I kept waiting for him to pull the rug from under the cheater, but he seemed to admire her. My family will NOT ever watch the show again!

  41. Correction to the story: The Venetian was misspelled, not on Ashley’s cake, but on Gretel-Ann’s. Apparently she is not only ugly and immoral, but ignorant as well.

  42. Gretl-Ann did not deserve to be in the finals. She got there because of tears and cheating, not talent. She should have gone long ago. I think she is dispicable and I think Buddy and TLC should be ashamed of themselves for promoting and probably encouraging this behavior for ratings. Congrats to Ashley! You are talented but you definitely need to mature and watch your mouth if you want to see success.

  43. Probably can’t watch the show again. I had no answer for my 11 year old girl that loves to watch the show with me. If this is reality TV then Buddy must be OK with cheating to get ahead. That’s not what we teach in our home. Unless they reconcile this huge error in judgement, you just lost 2 fans and killed the desire for us to make a special vacation to visit Carlos bakery. I was a little confused by Jen voting for Gretl-Ann. Maybe the whole show is a joke which would be disappointing I thought it had integrity.

  44. I am very glad that Ashley’s solid performance and ethics were rewarded and my only complaint is that Gretl-Ann’s poor sportsmanship cost Jen her shot at winning cause both Ashley and Jen were better Bakers.