Meet the Judges


Amy Moore Mercer

Amy Mercer has always loved to bake but got her start baking for a wider audience when a friend asked her to bake her wedding cake. Many cakes later, she opened a small in-home baking business in Albemarle County and taught cake-decorating classes for kids. When she and her family lived in France from 2017-2020, the world of French patisserie was opened to her. Amy spent time taking pastry classes, interning briefly at a French bakery and pursuing a diploma as a French pastry chef (the completion of which was ultimately scuttled by Covid.) In 2022, Amy came on staff at the Joshua Wilton House as their pastry chef. Amy is also a social worker who has worked with the immigrant and refugee community and dreams of using her passion for baking to serve this population through an enterprise in-the-works called Jubilee Kitchen (

Jennifer Murch

Jennifer writes about food, everyday life, and homeschooling her four children (only two are still at home) on her blog, She works part time making pies and pastries at Magpie, has acted in a few local theater productions, and is currently sitting on a half-baked manuscript How I Threw School Under The Bus. Along with writing and baking, she enjoys leisurely conversations with friends over coffee, playing pick-up Ultimate Frisbee, making a ridiculous variety of cheese from the cows she’s convinced her husband to milk, and then teaching what she’s learned about cheesemaking on her YouTube channel.