Local woman wins Food Network challenge

Published: Dec. 24, 2021 at 8:38 AM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Roberta Cota-Montgomery won the Food Network’s “Christmas Cookie Challenge”.

‘I honestly did not think I had a chance. At all,” admitted Cota-Montgomery.

She beat out five other bakers from around the country, including two other finalists. The show was recorded in Tennessee back in June, but it just aired earlier this month.

“We had to keep it a secret for seven months,” exclaimed Cota-Montgomery.

Local baker wins Food Network Challenge
Local baker wins Food Network Challenge(kolo)

She was discovered thanks to her Instagram page, where she posts pictures of her creations. She opened the Sugared Squirrel back in 2017, after being urged on by her friends and family.

“Could you make some cookies for my birthday? Could you make some cookies for this baby shower,” explained Cota-Montgomery. “And so it started to kind of snowball.”

She now runs the business out of her own home in Gardnerville, and she’s usually booked out two months in advance.

“I have one oven. And I have about a 3x3 counter-space that I do all of these thousands of cookies a year on,” said Cota-Montgomery.

The win has gained her a lot of notoriety, and brought some national attention to her small Nevada town.

“I have people walking up to me at the grocery store and congratulating me, and I’m just not used to it. Sometimes I get kind of embarrassed,” admitted Cota-Montgomery. But it’s really cool. Everybody’s been so supportive.”

She plans to use the $10,000 prize to finally take a honeymoon with her husband, after twenty years of marriage.

You can find out more about the Sugared Squirrel by clicking on the link below.

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