Boys enjoy success at kids’ bake-off |

Boys enjoy success at kids’ bake-off

by Merrie Leininger

Even though Brandon Llewellyn and John Gerhauser say they have no dreams of becoming chefs, the boys very well may look back one day on the Pillsbury Kids Bake-off as the beginning of great careers.

Brandon, 9, and John, 13, both of Gardnerville, participated in the childrens’ bake-off held in San Francisco Feb. 27.

John, an 8th-grader at Carson Valley Middle School, was one of five finalists out of 60 children chosen to attend the event. Although his “meatloaf Italiano” didn’t win him the $1,000 savings bond (the prize went to a 10-year-old’s tortillas), John and his family enjoyed their stay in San Francisco.

“We had a lot of fun and stayed in the Marriott on Mission Street. It was a lot of fun. It was a nice family getaway,” said John’s step-father, Dwight MacHutta. “When he was chosen as a finalist, I got so excited and was jumping around and screaming, ‘Yeah!’ He didn’t win, but still, it was a great time and we’re proud of him.”

John’s mom, Denise Leathers, and his sister, Kendall, 13, traveled with him to the contest.

John said he practiced making his special meatloaf many times so he would be confident under pressure.

He first found out about the contest through a friend of the family, chef Patrick Glenn.

“He gave it to my sister, but she didn’t want to do it, and I wanted to win the money,” he said.

When it came to the finals, John said he was only a little nervous.

“It was out of five people and the guy who was judging was looking at me all the time, so I thought he was going to pick me, then he didn’t,” John said.

However, John did receive a $100 gift certificate to Raley’s for being a finalist, so he said he was glad he went.

– Brownie pizza. Brandon Llewellyn is homeschooled by his mom, Denise. The two of them conspired to make “brownie pizza” after Brandon heard about the contest. He, like John, wanted to win the big money.

Like the other 60 bakers, John and Brandon were chosen to go to San Francisco from a random drawing of over 600 entries.

Brandon said the brownie pizza uses brownie mix for the crust with pink icing for tomato sauce, crushed Oreos replace olives and crumbled white chocolate chips for cheese.

Brandon and his mom practiced making their pizza eight times before the contest.

“I don’t think we will have it again for a very long time,” Denise said.

The whole family, including, dad, Randy, traveled to San Francisco a day early to visit family, and Brandon baked another pizza there, just to be sure the pizza baked the same at sea level.

The night before the contest, the Llewellyns stayed for free in the Marriott with the 60 other contestants’ families. While in town, Brandon rode a cable car to Chinatown and ate at Planet Hollywood.

Brandon said he’s not too upset his dessert pizza wasn’t picked, but at the time of the bake-off, his knees were a little shaky.

“I was kinda nervous. I was too focused on it,” he said.

Nevertheless, Brandon received a backpack full of toys, coupons and a T-shirt that was given to all contestants.

And, this Pokemon-loving kid said he wasn’t discouraged by his loss.

“I want to go back there again,” he said.