NORTHFIELD, Ohio — A local cookie decorator has made her hometown and her family’s bakery proud after she was crowned the winner of The Food Network’s Christmas Cookie Challenge. She proved her skills, all while representing her city and winning $10,000.
In the episode that aired on Monday night, Leslie Srodek-Johnson, a third-generation baker at Stan's Northfield Bakery and the granddaughter of Stan Srodek, made it happen in the fierce bake-off, which included other talented bakers from across the country.
Johnson voiced her appreciation to family, friends and the community for the congratulatory messages after Monday night’s episode.
"I know my grandparents were watching me from Heaven and guiding me through this journey," she said in a Facebook post. "This is AWESOME! I cannot believe how many people that I have met through the years and that have moved all over the country… Came together tonight to watch the show about the little blonde girl from the hometown bakery. I am still crying... good tears! Yeah!!!”
Johnson spoke to News 5 several weeks before the episode was scheduled to air on The Food Network.
“The entire experience was a whirlwind. I didn’t sleep and was flying on adrenaline. I lost 10 pounds because the nerves were so intense,” Johnson said. “So many nerves because you don’t know what to expect.”
Throughout the week-long competition, she had her family's legacy in the back of her head.
"My grandparents started this in 1961, so we have been in the community for so long. I was nervous because what if the judges didn't like my cookies that were from recipes that are nearly 100 years old? That would've been a problem," said Johnson.
The late Stan Strodek died a month before Johnson was born, but his legacy lives on.
"I would like to think he was extremely proud and shocked that the bakery is still in business after all these years, " she said.
The Santa beard on a stick cookies she made on the episode are available at the bakery, starting on Tuesday. Stan's Northfield Bakery will be closing at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday for a private family celebration.
If you missed the episode, The Food Network will re-air the episode on Sunday, Dec. 22 at 5 p.m.
RELATED: A Northfield cookie decorator boasts her family's 100-year-old recipes on Food Network's Christmas Cookie Challenge