North County team wins 'Next Great Baker'

FLORISSANT, Mo. – St. Louis area natives Al Watson and Lia Weber won the TLC reality competition "The Next Great Baker" Tuesday night.

After competing against nine other teams from across the country, the two Wedding Wonderland bakers and cake decorators rose to the top and impressed "Cake Boss" Buddy Valastro to win $100,000 and the opportunity to run Valastro's Las Vegas bakery.

In a previous interview with NewsChannel 5, "Midwest flavor is different. The work ethic is different." Watson also said that you don't grasp how large the opportunity is until you get to this level."

The pair were front runners from the very beginning of the competition, and despite coming close to elimination a couple of times, the two forged ahead to win the whole thing.

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In the finale episode, Weber and Watson, who were designated as the blue team, were the last of three teams along with Maroon team Kai and Rox and Black team Manny and Al.

After winning the final challenge to bake and decorate a cupcake, wedding cake and sugar sculpture, the duo moved onto Vegas against the black team where they each had to create a show-stopping piece for the window of the new bakery.

Although the Manny and Al created a Venetian cake to complement the bakery, the judges couldn't overlook the impressive work of Weber and Watson's pagoda.

Valastro complimented Weber and Watson for their consistency throughout the season as well as their incredible teamwork.

Watson and Weber attended weekly watch parties at Hendel's and Yacovelli's in Florissant and celebrated with viewers Tuesday night.

Following the episode's airing, the two posted the following on their Facebook page:

Is this real life!? It has been so hard to keep this a secret but now we can finally say that we are the Next Great Bakers!! What an amazing experience & adventure this has been. We would like to thank Buddy Valastro, Bobbi Lloyd, Jacque Torres & TLC for all their advice & guidance throughout the season, acknowledging our talents, & for ultimately choosing us to be the Next Great Bakers! Our teamwork is what got us through, we worked so well together & we couldn't be more proud of ourselves. Words can't describe how honored we are to have been able to compete on the show against so many amazing & talented bakers, that turned into friends we will have for a lifetime. Thank you to all who have supported us along the way especially our families, employers, coworkers, friends & fans..we couldn't have done this without you! We are beyond grateful for this experience & are so excited to see what the future holds! Thank you thank you thank you!!!

No word yet on whether the two will jet off to Las Vegas to run Valastro's bakery.


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