Mississauga woman wins Food Network’s Christmas Cookie Challenge


Published December 1, 2023 at 2:45 pm

food network winner mississauga
Mississauga baker Stephanie Pacheco competes in the Food Network’s Christmas Cookie Challenge.

A Mississauga woman won big in the Food Network’s Christmas Cookie Challenge.

Stephanie Pacheco, owner of the Little Rose Cookie Co. in Mississauga is celebrating after winning episode four of seventh season of the Food Network’s Christmas Cookie Challenge.

Pacheco hosted a community watch party on Nov. 23, the “elf-themed” episode four. More than 150 people attended, including Ward 11 Councillor Brad Butt.

The community watched as she competed against three other “cookiers” to win $10,000 and the coveted golden ornament.

“I am proud to have brought home the golden ornament to Mississauga,” said Pacheco.

The win was a surprise for the Mississauga baker and small business owner.

“I was truly shocked. I was like shaking and I was so excited,” she told insauga.com.

The episode’s theme was Elf in celebration of the movie’s 20th anniversary. Elf, starring Will Ferrell as Buddy, a human raised by Santa’s elves, was released in 2003.

Pacheco says Elf and Last Holiday are her two favourite Christmas movies.

There were two rounds in the episode — in the first round, competitors had to create a cookie based on two of the imaginary places Buddy visits during the movie. Pacheco chose to do one cookie depicting Buddy going through the peppermint pixie patch, and the second cookie was Buddy going around the cotton candy castle.

During this first round, Pacheco feared she was going home.

“Truly, I didn’t know I was going to even make it past the first round because I couldn’t see completely what everybody else’s cookie looked like,” she said. “In the first round, I was running around panicking thinking I wasn’t going to get things done.”

But she won that round and because of the win, she was given a personal shopper “elf” to grab items she needed for the second cookie challenge.

“It saved me a lot of time because I struggled in the first round with grabbing my ingredients in time.”

The second challenge was to create a cookie pop-up book based on a favourite scene from Elf.

Pacheco chose the scene where Buddy goes on a date with his co-worker Jovie.

“There’s a bunch of places that they go on their date that are really cute and quirky and so I put that as the pop-up elements on my cookie book.”

The pop-up book cookie was quite large, Pacheco said.

food network winner mississauga

Coun. Brad Butt congratulates Stephanie Pacheco on her win of the Food Network’s Christmas Cookie Challenge.

Her creation impressed the judges and she won. Because this was a special episode, Pacheco also won an Elf-theme prize pack.

There are winners of each of the eight episodes and in the past the show creators have invited the winners back for a champion challenge. But nothing has been announced yet for season seven winners.

Since the win, customers have been coming into Pacheco’s shop, Little Rose Cookie Co., 13 Main St., Streetsville, to congratulate her.

“They say ‘I watched you on TV, congratulations, I’m proud of you,'” she said. “It’s truly heartwarming. And it’s really sweet.”

The award-winning peanut butter and candy coated chocolate sugar cookies are for sale in the shop. She has made them into cute elves.

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