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The Final Three: Who Is The Next Great Baker?

02/12/2013

Last week, The Next Great Baker whittled the contestants down from 13 to a final three -- Gretel-Ann, Jen and Ashley. But you just knew it wasn't going to be that simple. The first challenge brings the women to Las Vegas, and has them tasked with making and selling at least 400 cookies, 100 pastries, 10 cakes, and 10 pies. That's certainly not a one-person job, so Buddy invites each contestant to choose a team to work with -- from Buddy's staff and family.

Oh, but that's not all.

Next_great_bakerThe final three are also given a choice of past Next Great Baker contestants -- including Peter, Paul, Em, Garrett, Letty and Melissa -- but are at the mercy of their fellow competitors to assign team members. Ashley gets first pick and sends her nemesis Paul to Gretel-Ann. Gretel-Ann then puts Garrett on Jen's team.

Each team draws up a planned menu for the challenge. Jen attemps to win Buddy over with an Italian amaretto cream cake, whoopie pies, caramel apple pie and a bunch of cream puffs.

Gretel-Ann chooses a chocolate dulce delight cake, along with a wide variety of cookies, and lemon bars and eclairs. 

Ashley opts for something called a chess pie (we're intrigued!), raspberry tarts and profiteroles and spiced, oatmeal, chocolate and peanut butter cookies.

Because she's not above doing something incredibly sneaky to win, Gretel-Ann hides the baking sheets from the other teams and alters the temperatures on Jen and Ashley's ovens. That. Is. Cruel.

The strategy works, sort of. Ashley still manages to completely outsell Gretel-Ann. But Gretel-Ann does manage to beat Jen, who goes home in the Las Vegas version of a box truck, a gondola.

And now it's on to the final challenge. Ashley vs. Gretel-Ann. Buddy wants both contestants to go hard, or go home. He wants them to design a cake worthy of the glitz and glamor of Las Vegas, but with a piece of themselves in there, too.  Again, they're given a selection of past contestants to choose from. Ashley creates a cake with an Ashley-as-Elvis theme. Gretel-Ann goes for a slot-machine cake. Special guest, *NSYNC member Joey Fatone is tasked with helping judge.

And then, ooooh twist! All of the past contestants are asked to vote for which cake they like better. Paul asks Ashley if he thinks "a 25-year-old kid" is ready to be the next great baker, and that really pisses Ashley off.

“Is that a serious question? You’ve been a condescending person this entire time. So for you to say…I’m a 25-year-old kid is bullshit. Life experiences? You have no idea what the hell you’re talking about. You don’t know me. You think you’re better than everyone here. You’re an arrogant asshole. You have been this entire time. I don’t need to answer your damn question.”

Tell us how you really feel, Ashley.

Despite her outburst, the former contestants vote for Ashley, 7 to 4. But what do the real judges think?

Yup, you guessed it -- Ashley takes home the whole damn thing! What do you think? Who do you think should have won the whole thing? Share with us in the comments!

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