Catherine Ralston, 12, of Ohio Takes the Cake at Hasbro’s Easy-Bake 2009 ‘Baker of the Year’ Contest

Catherine Ralston, right, 12, from New Albany, Ohio, reacts as she is announced as the winner as the other finalists look on at the Easy Bake 2009 "Baker of the Year" Contest at the Walt Disney World Resort, in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, Thursday, May 7, 2009. (Ray Stubblebine/Hasbro)

Catherine Ralston, right, 12, from New Albany, Ohio, reacts as she is announced as the winner as the other finalists look on at the Easy Bake 2009 "Baker of the Year" Contest at the Walt Disney World Resort, in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, Thursday, May 7, 2009. (Ray Stubblebine/Hasbro)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Catherine Ralston, a 12 year-old from New Albany, Ohio was named the EASY-BAKE 2009 “Baker of the Year” today after baking her delicious “Queen of Hearts Strawberry Tart” for a panel of toy, parenting, and culinary experts at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in WALT DISNEY WORLD® Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. This announcement concludes a search, started last summer, by Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE: HAS) and the EASY-BAKE brand, that combed America’s kitchens looking for the next “Baker of the Year.”

Assisted by her “sous chef” mom, Teresa, Catherine set the hearts of the judges aflutter with her “Queen of Hearts Strawberry Tart,” a mouth watering marriage of fresh strawberries and EASY-BAKE sugar cookie mix.

“Wow, I can’t believe I’m the 2009 EASY-BAKE ‘Baker of Year!’ I love to cook and had so much fun baking with and spending time with the other kids,” said Catherine. “I especially love that I got to share this experience with my mom, the person who taught me to cook!”

“We are happy and proud for Catherine, the new EASY-BAKE ‘Baker of the Year.’ Her recipe ‘Queen of Hearts Strawberry Tart’ was the perfect combination of strawberries, EASY-BAKE sugar cookies and lemon curd which really impressed all the judges,” said Kim Losey, official judge and Senior Brand Manager Global Marketing and Development, Hasbro’s EASY-BAKE Brand. “We are proud of all our finalists who worked so hard to create such tasty and unique recipes using the EASY-BAKE Oven.”

In addition to the coveted EASY-BAKE 2009 “Baker of the Year” title, Catherine received a culinary-inspired trip for four to San Francisco, CA, where the group will visit local food-related sites and attractions.

Catherine was selected from seven finalists representing different states across the country. These budding bakers met just yesterday, when they arrived at WALT DISNEY WORLD® Resort for the final competition. The finalists are: Drew Adams, 9 years old from Elizabeth, West Virginia; Elizabeth Adams, 12 years old from Elizabeth, West Virginia; MaCall Prengel, 10 years old from Olympia, Washington; Morgan Sartor, 8 years old from Portland, Connecticut; Taylor Spallanzani, 11 years old from Morganville, New Jersey; and Hannah Toomey, 11 years old from Allentown, Pennsylvania. They each received a $500 VISA gift card and a one-year supply of EASY-BAKE brand mixes. All finalists will have their recipe and a photo of their creation appear on the EASY-BAKE website.

At the finalist competition, each aspiring chef worked at a personal bake station equipped with EASY-BAKE Ovens, cooking utensils, and all the ingredients needed to whip-up their recipe. Helped along the way by their “sous chefs” – mom or dad – the finalists spent the morning baking their creations, the best of which was submitted to a panel of judges. Esteemed judges included Chris Byrne, aka The Toy Guy ®, Content Director TimetoPlayMag.com; Joe Hardiman, President, Orlando Culinary Academy Le Cordon Bleu Program; Yoly Lazo, Pastry Sous Chef, BoardWalk Bakery at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort; Kim Losey, Senior Brand Manager Global Marketing and Development, Hasbro’s EASY-BAKE Brand; Elizabeth Werner, Chief Toy Officer, iVillage.com and her daughter Simone, age 7. The panel judged the seven entries on the following criteria: creative use of ingredients, presentation, ease of preparation, and taste.

The real “icing on the cake” for the winner and remaining finalists came after the EASY-BAKE event, when they acted as honorary grand marshals for the ‘Celebrate a Dream Come True’ parade inside the WALT DISNEY WORLD® Resort’s Magic Kingdom park.

Being chosen as a finalist in the EASY-BAKE 2009 “Baker of the Year” was not a “piece of cake.” Contestants entered their favorite original recipes using one or more EASY-BAKE mixes. Entries were submitted online at www.easybake.com or via mail with a photo featuring their creation, themselves, and their “sous chef.” All EASY-BAKE 2009 “Baker of the Year” contest entries were judged based the same criteria used at the finals: creative use of ingredients, presentation, ease of preparation, and taste.

For additional details on the EASY-BAKE 2009 “Baker of the Year” contest and the official rules and conditions, log onto www.easybake.com.

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