Christmas baking contest draws large number of entries


From left: Sobeys owner Stuart Trenchard, judge Ron Cust, prize winner Maryann Ozipko, judges Paul Krauskopf and Debbie Oyarzun. – Stephen Dafoe Photos

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – Judges in this year’s Sobeys Baking Contest didn’t go away hungry Saturday afternoon. With 42 entries bellies were busting when the judging was done. The discerning taste buds of judges Mayor Paul Krauskopf, CAO Debbie Oyarzun, Fire Chief Ron Cust, and local businessmen Joel Chevalier and Brent Melville were given a confectionary smorgasbord of pies, cakes, tarts, cookies and other festive pastries, so many treats it took the judges more than an hour to sample them all.

Although the initial tabulations resulted in a three-way tie between Dorsey Biddiscombe’s pumpkin flapper pie, Lena Keith’s hummingbird cake, and Maryann Ozipko’s entry called Everyone’s Favourite Pie, judges dug their forks and spoons in for another appraisal to determine the final winner. Ozipko’s pie proved to be the judge’s favourite, earning her a $500 store gift certificate to buy more baking supplies.

The local baker began making pies in earnest after breaking her hands. As the splints came off and doctors told her she needed to do more exercise to strengthen the hands, she began rolling dough. “I’ve been making all kinds of pies every week,” Ozipko said, adding Everyone’s Favourite Pie went through a number of variations before arriving at the version presented to judges Saturday afternoon. “Everybody loved this pie. I kept changing it. I’d vary my Jell-O, my fruit and everything. Everyone said this was their favourite.”

Ozipko said she would put the prize to good use by experimenting with more pies. “I’ve got an idea for a banana split pie,” she said, adding she has ideas for many other pies, including a few with liquor. “I have lots of ideas.”

Sobeys franchise owner Stuart Trenchard was pleased with the response to the store’s first Holiday Baking Contest. “I’m just so happy with how it turned out today,” he said. “A lot of entrants. We’ll be having it every year. I think it will be part of the community for years to come.”

Trenchard said he was grateful for the bakers who came out to enter and that the high turnout shows a lot of people are still baking at home. He is planning to compile the contest recipes in a book that will be sold at the store. Proceeds from the contest cookbook will be donated to the Morinville Food Bank Society.

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