LONDON, ONT -- Self-taught home baker, Valerie Straub, has been making delicious treats for as long as she can remember.

“I started baking when I was very young with my mom, then always tried any recipe I thought looked interesting. My sister’s friends used to call me Martha Stewart, as I was always baking when they came over.”

The Londoner says she has now entered the competition of her life, to be crowned Greatest Baker 2020. But she needs help to win the big prize, so she’s appealing to the community for support.

Currently in the top three, she needs votes to get her into first place, so she can move onto the next round. The competition requires that each contestant place first in their group, every week for the next three weeks. Straub realizes this is going to be tough, but says she is in awe of how many people have been supporting her.

“So many family, friends and strangers have been voting daily and promoting my link through social media.”

Despite the fact that Straub lives with Crohn’s disease, a chronic disorder of the immune system, she doesn’t let it stop her from being able to bake up a storm.

“I love making people smile and every time I bake for someone it makes my own heart happy. Just seeing someone smile from a simple treat makes me gushy inside.”

The Greatest Baker is a worldwide competition, solely based on votes. The winner will be featured in Bake from Scratch Magazine and get $10,000.

Straub says, if she’s the lucky winner, she would donate some of the money to Crohn’s and Colitis Canada she would also love to be able to rent a space where she can teach people how to bake and decorate sugar cookies.

“My soft, decorated sugar cookies [are] made from a versatile recipe that can be flavoured in many different ways. They are fluffy, soft and buttery, and melt in your mouth."

You can vote for Valerie by clicking on this link.

There is another London, Ont. resident who is also vying to be the Greatest Baker, competing in a separate group.

Subrina El-Kerdi has been baking since she was 13 and began doing it professionally seven years ago, specializing in delicious and beautiful cakes and cupcakes.

You can support her efforts in the competition by voting here.