We have four amazing judges for this year's Kids Christmas Cookie Bake Off. They are so excited to meet the contestants and taste their creations! Read each judge's bio below.
(HERO Doughnuts and Buns) Georgia native and Birmingham, Alabama resident, Wil Drake is the creative mind behind Hero Doughnuts and Buns. Drake began working in a Starbuck’s Coffee while attending Samford University in Birmingham where he received a degree in Nutrition. Setting his focus on a culinary career, Wil has worked as a baker, hustled in a busy BBQ restaurant, flipped burgers with celebrity chef Richard Blais, and prepared nutritious meals for those suffering from eating disorders. He spent time in Ireland learning the art of whole animal butchery and returned to Alabama where he returned to his love of baking breads and pastries. Hero Doughnuts was a passion project that started as a “pop-up” concept and after partnering with The Pihakis Restaurant Group, they opened the first Hero Doughnuts and Buns in Homewood, Alabama in 2017.
EMMA COOLEY (2021 Kid's Christmas Cookie Bake-Off Winner)
Emma is last year’s Kid's Christmas Cookie Bake-Off winner for Best All Around Cookie. She is in 7th grade at Chelsea Middle School and has been baking since she was 6. She began attending Itty Bitty Bakers classes at 7 years old, which inspired her love for baking. She started a little baking business for family and friends called Sprinkles on Top Little Bake Shop and has an Instagram page called @bakingwithemmaclaire. She helped to teach and host two Itty Bitty Bakers summer baking camps and is an IBB Youth Helper. Emma also enjoys playing volleyball, skateboarding, and hugs from her pug, Poppy!
(Cookie Lane Co.)
Whitney Overstreet started Cookie Lane Co after becoming a stay at home mom and wanting a creative outlet during nap time. For her son’s birthday she decided to try her hand at decorated cookies, never knowing it would turn into a full time adventure! Having a cottage food bakery has allowed her to continue being a stay at home mom with her three kids. She offers custom cookies for personal and corporate occasions, has frequent pop up shops, and regularly holds cookie decorating classes where she seeks to inspire the next generation of cookie decorators.
(The Three Earred Rabbit)
When Christine Leonardi heard that The Three Earred Rabbit in Trussville was for sale, she knew it was time. After visiting her brother here in Alabama a few times each year, she knew that one day this would be where she settled. That’s when Leonardi packed her bags and drifted from New Jersey to Alabama, and took over the soup and sandwich shop in downtown Trussville. Since February 2015, she has been serving up a wide selection of delicious menu options, which even includes wedding cakes and catering services. Leonardi prides herself on being part of the community, donating to almost any cause or offering party and meeting space for charities.