Chef with Kentucky Baptist roots winner of ‘Best Baker in America’

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PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (KT) – A Kentucky native who grew up in Prestonsburg and was a member of Fitzpatrick Baptist Church is Food Network’s “Best Baker in America.”


Jackie Joseph was crowned the baking champion in the network’s finale Monday night. She watched the show with a packed audience at the Mountain Arts Center.


One of those in attendance was proud Fitzpatrick Pastor Tommy Reed, who said he wasn’t surprised at her rise to the top of the baking world.


“I knew she was going to be successful and this was an affirmation of this,” Reed said. “Everybody has been rooting her on. The town was so supportive of her and proud of her.”


He said Joseph, who graduated from Prestonsburg High School, took photos with children after the presentation that ended late Monday night.


Joseph graduated culinary school from Sullivan College in Louisville and she has worked at The Omni and the Brown Hotel.


Reed said she went on a beach vacation with his family once, and when they went out to eat she ordered “brussel sprouts lightly grilled with sesame seeds.” He said he knew she was going somewhere then and there.


The pastor said her family – mother and father and two brothers – are members of Fitzpatrick. The church and the community have been rooting for her since the series started.


“I can see her being the grand marshal of the Jenny Wiley Festival parade,” Reed said. “That’s a big deal.”


The pastor said he told Joseph once that he wanted her to move back to Prestonsburg and open a Panara Bread-type business with him and his wife, Dawn. “I told her Dawn likes coffee and tea, so she can handle that part, and we’d let her do the bread and bakery.”


He tongue-in-cheek added, “I told her I thought the Lord was in it.”


Joseph won the $25,000 grand prize but more importantly, the title of “Best Baker in America.” This is the fourth season of the baking version of the Food Network series.

Joseph is anxious to launch her own baking business. JJBakes & Co. INC will be a custom order bakery specializing in wedding cakes, specialty cakes and desserts. Joseph will announce the launch of the business' website on her Facebook and Instagram.

One of the judges for the competition had Kentucky roots as well. Jason Smith, who is from Grayson, won the Holiday Baking Championship on Food Network.  

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