Teacher Cuts Finger But Still Wins Food Network Christmas Cookie Contest

The Food Network’s Christmas Cookie Challenge is a fast-paced show that has five skilled bakers competing to make the best Christmas cookies that they can. Each of the three rounds in this challenge involves a different theme — past examples include 3D art, ornaments, or Christmas past and future.

The show just started this November, and the first season has thus far been a success! This is likely due to the extensive vetting process. For example, the latest winner of the show — Rhode Island resident Doug Alley — submitted a 50-question application (photos of cookies and cakes included), interviewed over Skype on ten separate occasions, submitted even more of his work, and had one last interview with the Food Network’s top producers before being allowed onto the show.

Speaking of Doug Alley, the man took home the $10,000 top prize after baking up some delicious cookies on episode 7, ‘Crafty Christmas’, of the Christmas Cookie Challenge. While his skills as a baker are unquestionable, what is even more impressive is his drive as a competitor. Alley ended up cutting his finger before the conclusion of the episode, meaning he had to work (and win) while he was in pain.

The judges found Doug Alley’s classic sugar cookies, along with his unique take on a lemon rosemary cookie, to be the most delectable offering out of all five contestants’. And these judges are definitely qualified. They include Pioneer Woman food blogger Ree Drummond, cookbook author and food photographer Joy Wilson, and director of culinary development for The Institute of Culinary Education, James Briscione.

With such big names rating his work, it is no wonder that the brave baker felt so driven to continue competing even after the injury. After all, the interpersonal competition that is so-often dramatized on these types of cooking shows was, according to Alley, quite exaggerated. In fact, the baker stated that he and his competition were actually quite close during the filming of the competition. The competitive slant was really more of an editing trick than anything else. After Doug Alley won the competition, all of the competitors on the show celebrated right alongside him!

Their friendship has gone beyond the studio: onscreen rival Marisol Morley (proprietor of Tiny Kitchen Treats in NYC) sent his wife birthday cookies. Alley and his wife also included another contestant’s cookies in a charity sale meant to raise money for victims of Hurricane Harvey — which they ran out of their bake shop, Patticakes.

So, despite injuring himself during the filming of the Christmas Cookie Challenge, professional baker Doug Alley brought home the prize money — not to mention some brand-new friendships. The professional connections he has forged on the show are likely to last him (and his prior competition) for a long time.

But, what does he plan to do with the ten grand? Well, he’s headed to Disney World. Alley, his wife, and his 17-year-old daughter are headed on the trip in the near future. Plus, he now has the money to work on a new cookbook. Perhaps most excitingly, there is even talk of Doug Alley and his daughter headlining their own cooking show together! All we know for sure is that we aren’t done with tough Doug Alley.

Did you watch Christmas Cookie Challenge? What were your favorite moments? How about your favorite cookies? Let us know in the comments below!

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