Andrea Spring reacts to the news that she just won first place in the National Pie Council�s pie-baking contest in Orlando for her Key lime pie. Along with the award goes a $5,000 check, which is being presented to her.
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
It was a great weekend for Ed and Andrea Spring.
The owners of the Sign of the Mermaid restaurant in Anna Maria spent Saturday and Sunday in Orlando where Andrea had a "pie-in-the-sky" dream of winning a prize at the National Pie Council competition, held at the Sheraton Safari Hotel at Disney World.
She did more than that. She won the big one.
True, Andrea�s Chocolate Express Explosion won first prize in the professional division�s Other classification and her Key lime pie took first place in the Citrus competition, but she went on to win Best Overall with her Key lime pie.
For Andrea, it was proof of what people had always told her.
"I always felt like we made the best Key lime pie around, and this proves it," she said. "Even people who said they don�t like Key lime pie said mine tasted good when I gave it to them."
meals, and Andrea is the baker. She said she made up her entries at the restaurant on Saturday and she and her sister drove them to Orlando that evening. The next morning, they turned them in.
"Whirlpool, one of the sponsors, had mini-kitchens set up for entrants to use," she said, "but I felt that a bit too much for me, so I made them at work."
Andrea received $200 for each of her first place finishes during the awards ceremony at Celebration, and a glass trophy and $5,000 from Crisco, another sponsor, for the Best Overall.
"There were photographers everywhere taking pictures and they were taping it," she said. "I hope they show it on the Food Network when they air it in November. Last year, they didn�t show our division, only the amateur division.
Andrea said the Key lime pie she cooked for the competition is the recipe she uses for the pie they serve every day at the restaurant. She said the Chocolate Express Explosion is something she sometimes makes.
You can order the pie when you dine at the Sign of the Mermaid, 9707 Gulf Drive, or you can order pies for takeout.
"I usually need 24 hours notice for a whole pie, but you can get a piece of pie anytime," she said.
And you can probably expect to see more of the Chocolate Explosion Express on the menu.