La Crosse bakery owner competing for third Food Network baking championship
Owner Jen Barney is competing for a chance to win a share of $25,000, along with her third national honor.
Barney won the top prize on seasons four and five of the “Holiday Baking Championship”, and now has an opportunity to add to her trophy case.
“It’s always challenging, and I get to learn new things, I get to meet so many cool people, and it’s been a life changing experience,” Barney described.
Despite never envisioning herself being part of a televised baking competition, Barney jumped at the chance after the Food Network reached out.
“The initial show that I was on, it was a very long interview process that took multiple months,” Barney recalled. “I got on that show, but I feel like once you’re in this world, they just keep calling, and I’m so grateful for it.”
Multiple television appearances have helped Barney expand her business, resulting in the Meringue Bakery coming to downtown La Crosse in 2020.
“The amount of exposure that I got from the initial shows was just outstanding, and the community support that I received in La Crosse, I have no words for it,” Barney expressed. “It was so heartwarming, and authentic, and so wonderful, and this store is living proof of what can come from shows like this.”
Barney has competed on five shows in the last five years, and while she’s enjoyed the experience, she’s planning to take some time to focus on other ventures.
“I would love to grow the bakery into a place that is a national brand to some degree, and I would love to have product that we can ship regularly,” Barney said. “I would also love to have a cookbook, that’s on the five year dream plan.”
While Barney maps out her future, she hopes one constant remains.
“If I can be in La Crosse, and serving this community for many years, that’s a great dream,” she said.
New episodes of “Holiday Wars” are airing on the Food Network each Sunday at 8 PM CT until Dec. 19.
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