Pulling for our own

Olivia Fowler

Olivia Fowler

On The Way

By Olivia Fowler

A couple of years ago Iva and I had a great time interviewing Pickens resident Francine Bryson while she demonstrated step-by-step how she baked her upside-down apple pie, the renowned pie which won the grand prize at the North Carolina Apple Festival.

She sent one of these incredible pies back with us to the office, and everybody had a slice. It was something to write home about.

Baking is clearly Francine’s passion, and her warm and bubbly personality flavors everything that comes out of her oven.

It was a real thrill to see her on CBS Sunday night at 8 p.m. competing with cooks from all over the country in The American Baking Competition.

She came in first Sunday, and we were so excited we cheered for her in our den. She faces some tough contestants in the next few weeks of the competition, but we think she has a great chance of winning it all — $250,000 and a cook book deal.

Francine amazed the judges with her chocolate bacon peanut butter pie, then followed up with a chicken pot pie and finished with a chocolate cherry tartlet.

I love cooking shows of almost any variety and am a faithful follower of Chopped on the Food Network. Bobby Flay is one of my culinary heroes, and I enjoy Paula Deen and her sons.

I’ve learned a lot from watching. One thing I know is there is no way on God’s green earth I could cook anything at all under the level of stress these competitive chefs experience.

Having a crowd of relatives in the kitchen talking and laughing while I’m trying to finish preparing a meal often leads to disaster when I’m at the stove. I have to be able to concentrate when cooking. I can’t imagine having a camera crew with me in the kitchen filming the whole process while I explain what I’m doing. It might present them with the opportunity to demonstrate what to do when the cook catches the kitchen on fire.

We were pretty excited when Candace Holcombe from our state won first place in American Idol. But wouldn’t it be great if Francine Bryson brought a national prize home to Pickens?

She’s such a natural in front of the camera and clearly a creative and consistently excellent baker, there’s every chance she could go all the way.

We hope she does. We are pulling for her and plan to watch next week to see what happens. So good luck Francine. Win it for all of us back home.