The Pillsbury Bake-Off is a cooking contest, first run by Pillsbury Company from 1949 to 1976 as an annual contest. Since then, the contest has been held biennially.
The Grand Prize in the first contest — then called the Grand National Recipe and Baking Contest and hosted in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel — was $ 50,000. The winner of the 2008 contest held at the Fairmont Dallas Hotel took home a million dollars.
The only required ingredient in the early contests was Pillsbury's BEST Flour. There was no contest in 1965 because the contest was moved from October to February.
Since 1996, the Grand Prize has been $1 million. The first $1 million prize was won by a man (Kurt Wait of Redwood City, CA), and that year 14 of the 100 finalists were men.
Until 2002, CBS televised the event. Hosts have included Arthur Godfrey (1949–1950s), Art Linkletter (1960's), Bob Barker (1970's), Gary Collins (1980's), Willard Scott (1990–1994), Alex Trebek (1996–1998), Phylicia Rashad (2000) and Marie Osmond (2002). The television airings were produced by Mark Goodson Productions. Bob Barker was the first host to have a male category champ in 1978. Willard Scott & Marie Osmond also had male category champs (1990 & 1992 for Willard) while Alex Trebek had the pleasure to witness history when Kurt Wait won the 1996 Bake-Off.