MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota is home to a new champion.

The Food Network has named 11-year-old Paige Goehner from Blaine the best of the best.

Goehner won the Kids Baking Championship Monday night.

On a national stage, Goehner performed under pressure. It was her rich chocolate checkerboard cake that made her a champion.

Goehner beat out seven other top kid chefs from across North America. One of the two other finalists, 10-year-old Meadow Roberts, is also from Minnesota. The two are now close friends.

“It’s really sweet to know there’s someone who understands how much you can love baking,” Goehner said.

The Kids Baking Championship created bonds and anxiety.

The young people tackled challenges that would make most adults crumble.

Goehner met WCCO’s Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield at Workhorse Coffee after school at Hill Murray where she finally got to share her secret she’s been keeping since the show wrapped in August.

“All my friends say they can trust me with their secrets because I kept one for nine months,” Goehner said.

She watched alongside 160 friends at her church as the secret was revealed.

“I didn’t believe it actually. I thought it was either a dream or they were pulling a prank on me. It was surreal. It was so crazy. It was so cool,” she said.

Goehner got into baking after arthritis put her out of sports.

“I tried out for season four of Kids Baking Championship and I didn’t make it, but I knew that I was going to keep trying and I knew that eventually, hopefully, I would make it, and I did,” she said.

A champion who realizes victory is sweetest when shared.

“It feels amazing just to know that I’ve inspired and I’ve touched the hearts of a lot of people throughout the country and throughout Minnesota; it’s made my day,” Goehner said. “It’s made all of my days to know there are people out there who support me and who I’ve inspired.”

Goehner filmed the show last summer over a three-week period in New Orleans. Her mom told WCCO she formed an incredible bond with her fellow bakers who all stay in close contact.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

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