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Mom of three wins $1 million after masses pick her Cheesy Garlic Bread Lay’s chip flavor

Karen Weber-Mendham collects her winning check from Lay's. (Image courtesy Lay's)

Potato chip fans have spoken and the flavor they’d like to eat more of is: Cheesy Garlic Bread. The flavor originated from a mom of three who submitted the idea in Lays’ contest.

Winner Karen Weber-Mendham tells KIRO Radio’s Andrew Walsh Show she doesn’t typically enter contests, but at her son’s prodding the two sat down to come up with a new flavor.

They settled on Cheesy Garlic Bread because, as Karen explains, “You just can’t resist the smell of garlic bread,” and being from Wisconsin, she’s of course, a big proponent for cheese.

After they entered, Karen says she forgot about the contest until she received a call at the school library where she works. Her flavor had been named a finalist. As one of three finalists, her flavor put her in the running for $1 million. Even the two runners-up would end up with $50,000.

The whole ride since has been surreal, she says. “Freaking out is actually a phrase I’ve used a lot. Throughout the whole contest, I’ve been completely freaking out.”

She was even more so this week when she was told her flavor had received the most votes and was declared the contest winner.

Speaking to Walsh about her flavor creation, she calls it “a chip miracle.” After the Cheesy Garlic Bread chip was created in January, Karen was blown away by her first tasting at Frito-Lay.

“They have executive chefs with incredible credentials that create the flavors. So two of them – it was like a cooking show, they created literally cheesy garlic bread. It was the most beautiful cheesy garlic bread you have ever seen and had us taste that straight out of the oven, then handed me the chip and I thought, ‘wow, that’s confidence,'” she says.

After tasting it, she says she couldn’t believe how close the Cheesy Garlic Bread chip was to the real thing. “It tasted like the bread.”

The other two flavor finalists were Sriracha and Chicken and Waffles. Karen says those chips were also great. All three were available for sale around the country during the public voting period.

The Cheesy Garlic Bread flavor will continue being produced for at least a year, says Karen. As for her future, Karen says she won’t be blowing her million bucks on a boat.

“I’m a mom. I’ve got three kids. I’m at a point in my life where I’m boringly practical, so braces and college.”

She does say they’re also planning a family trip to Mexico because her kids did a great job campaigning to get their Cheesy Garlic Bread flavor to the top, and it was her son’s idea, after all.

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