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No Cook County Fair? No problem. Enter the ‘Chicago’s Best Baker’ contest


Think your lemon meringue pie could win an amateur baking contest? Well, you can put your baking chops to the test at the annual Chicago’s Best Baker Competition on July 20 in Uptown.

“Chicago has a lot of baking competitions for people who are professionals,” said Genesis Winter, who started this contest back in 2018. “And so I wanted to do something that was just, you know, [similar to] a county fair. Your mom who's in the kitchen and she makes an amazing cookie and she wants to go show off and get the blue ribbon. That's what we're going for.”

Much like a county fair, winners go home with a ribbon and bragging rights. Non-baking attendees can taste what’s on offer in exchange for a donation to Cornerstone Community Outreach, a Chicago homeless shelter run by Winter’s husband, Andrew.

In this episode, Rundown podcast host Erin Allen sat down with Winter and last year’s overall winner, Alia Zander (a.k.a. Chicago’s reigning amateur “best baker”) to talk about the origins of the contest and what it looks and feels like to enter (and win).