(March 6, 2002) This week, I'm taking a break from the weighty news of the accounting world to focus instead on a subject nearer and dearer to my heart: food.

In case you weren't watching along with Marie Osmond and millions of others last week, I'll fill you in on the details. Ann Yennie, a CPA from Nashville, Tenn., won Pillsbury's $1 million Bake-Off.

The recipe? A fairly uncomplicated sandwich involving chicken breasts, frozen spinach, provolone cheese, garlic mayonnaise and Pillsbury pizza dough flattened into rectangular slices of panini.

I know what you're thinking. "A chicken sandwich won some CPA $1 million?" And, "How the heck did a working mom have the time to come up with a prize-winning recipe?"

For Yennie, the answers are refreshingly simple. She's convinced that the combination of flavors and textures belie the simplicity of her sandwich - and helped make it a contender for the top prize. As for making the time in her test kitchen to fine-tune the product, she simply didn't. She thought it out, tinkered once or twice with the ingredients, and voila! - a winning recipe was born.

After months of congressional hearings and SEC press conferences lambasting the profession, it was fun to see a perky CPA "everyMom" with her patriotic red, white and blue scarf win the folksy, feel-good competition.

While most CPAs, whether they're working on audits or tax returns, probably lean more towards takeout pizza and Chinese, Yennie felt it was important to show another side of busy business professionals.

"I was hoping to be the winner to show that professional people cook, too," she said, and to show that "anybody can do this."

As for the million-dollar prize, she's not plowing it into kitchen renovations, a new car, or a trip for her family of four. Instead, she's taking the bulk of the money and using it to grow her year-old consulting business, 2Renegades. And one day she hopes to somehow marry her love of cooking with her business background.

In the near future, however, she will be in the market for a CPA to help her manage her newfound wealth. The rest of the profession should be so lucky.

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