On Tuesday, Nelson found out that she was selected as one of 100 finalists competing for $1 million and other prizes. She'll travel to Las Vegas in November.
ORIGINAL STORY (6/24/13):
In many ways, Jeanette Nelson, 33 of Bridgeport, has already made her mark on the culinary world. She has traveled across the country, competing in nearly 30 cooking competitions.
There's still one thing on Nelson's mind, and she's got her eye on the prize: $1 million dollars, to be exact.
"I think this is great. I've seen her on TV before, in different contests, but I would love to see her win this," said Elisa Belasco, Nelson's friend.
Nelson is a semifinalist in the Pillsbury Bake-Off, and she's not intimidated. She recently entered a national burger competition and fell short of winning by two points.
"You learn your lesson, and you just go on...you congratulate the winner, and be happy for them, and know that one day, it will be your turn," said Nelson.
Nelson says she started cooking when she was 26 years old and began competing a few years later. She credits her family for inspiration.
"...My mother-in-law, we would go to her house, and I would see her prepare these big meals, and how it brought the family together, and I wanted that," said Nelson.
It was a lesson that made Nelson the person she is today: a wife & mother of three girls.
"My girls, they love a home-cooked meal. If we're out and somebody asks them to get something to eat, they give them a snack, and they're like, 'No we want real food like Mommy makes!" said Nelson
They especially love her competition recipe: sweet chili chicken sliders.
"It's a sweet savory combination , it's like an Asian meal in one bite, and they're absolutely delicious. It's got that sweet heat that people would find irresistible," said Nelson.
Nelson is competing in the "Simple Sweets and Starters" category. You can help her win a trip to Las Vegas to compete for the million dollar prize. To vote for Jeanette Nelson, click here.