Lynchburg Woman Wins Food Network Christmas Cookie Challenge

Baker Tarsha Joyner, right, reacts as judges declare her overall winner during the judging of the final challenge round while runner ups Megan Greulich and Jen Musky watch, as seen on Food Network Special Christmas Cookie Challenge.

Lynchburg, VA - What started as a student's graphic design project resulted in a business, and network television recognition.

Tarsha Joyner of Lynchburg was the only amateur baker in the Food Network's Christmas Cookie Challenge, and she won!

Joyner flew to Los Angeles and taped the show in August, but it wasn't until Saturday night that her family and the world knew what happened.

Joyner started Mrs. Joy's Absolutely Fabulous treats three years ago.

She had to design a label for a fake business as a class project but then made her business real.

She started selling shortbread cookies at the Community Market downtown.

Now she makes any kind of treat you can think of.

Winning the competition on Food Network with her Winter Wonderland cookie got her 10 thousand dollars.

She says she's been planning to open a shop on Commerce Street for the past year and a half and the money is just what she needs to get the last few pieces of equipment.

"I couldn't believe that I beat out these professional bakers, I couldn't believe actually that I was even in Los Angeles, actually there for real. It was so surreal, like a dream and I guess the dream didnt become real until Saturday night when my family got to know exactly what happened."

Mrs. Joy's Absolutely Fabulous Treat Shop should be open in January.

And she will have duplicates of her winning cookies for sale Saturday at the Mistletoe Market.

You can watch the episode where Joyner wins when it re-airs on the Food Network Sunday at 2:00 p.m.

You can learn more here.

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