(This post contains spoilers)
I love to bake. It’s so much fun to create shape, structure and color with ingredients. You can take ordinary items eggs, flour, chocolate and butter and make something that is delectable (i.e. my newest baked love- Swedish Chocolate Cake) and special. When I saw Jeff Foxworthy on The Tonight Show last week talking about a new show he was hosting called The American Baking Competition, I knew that I would be watching.
The concept of the show is a basic reality show format. Ten contestants, who are not professional bakers, compete to prove who is the greatest amateur baker in America. I’m really glad that they will be eliminated one at a time- it means a longer run and it makes things less complicated. Each night the contestants compete in three challenges based on the theme for the week: a signature item, a recipe from the judges with steps missing, and a wow-factor baking item.
Jeff Foxworthy is the host of this sweet treat show as well. He does a good job of both lightening the atmosphere and presiding over his functions as host. It’s also fun to hear his opinions of the pastries. Paul Hollywood is your typical “cranky Brit” reality show judge, but in a much more knowledgeable and less unkind fashion. He proved his awesome pastry skills by demonstrating his meat pie and he seems like a nice guy. He also totally looks like Taylor Hicks. Marcela Valladolid is the only woman on this judging panel and she seems to be a tough, but fair judge. Jeff Foxworthy makes me laugh (don’t judge- I grew up in East Tennessee) and I feel like I can learn from Paul and Marcela. I’m very pleased with the host and judges.
The theme for the first episode was pies and tarts. I loved it! In the first challenge, Southern girl Francine wowed Paul with her chocolate, peanut butter and bacon pie! I had already said that I would make my signature pie with bacon, so I feel a very strong kinship with Francine. The contestants were then called upon to create a freestanding meat pie. Francine rocked it, again! Finally the chefs had to create 36 tartlets. Francine made fantastic looking chocolate and cherry tarts! She was the baking star of the week for sure. I agreed with the elimination of Carlo, he just wasn’t baking at the same level. And, I really appreciated that they were kind and told him to keep baking!
I love Francine and I’m cheering her on to be the winner. I also like Darlene and Effie.
I love this show. It’s not smutty or about drama between the contestants. It’s just about baking. I love it! Now, I can’t wait to get moved to our new place and be able to start baking again!
Wednesday night, The American Baking Competition premiered on CBS. Like many reality shows, this one started out in Britain, as The Great British Bake Off. The American version stars Jeff Foxworthy as the host with judges Marcela Valladolid and Paul Hollywood.
On this show the contestants are all amateur bakers. They range from housewives, to fireman, to college students. It’s really neat that these people are shown to really be able to bake, and not made fun of like The Worst Cooks in America, or Masterchef. You don’t have to be a professional chef to be good at cooking. It’s nice to see a celebration of people who may be talented, but haven’t had the chance to work in the restaurant business.
This first week was all about making pies. In the first challenge they had to make a signature pie. The one I liked the looks of best was a chocolate, peanut butter, and bacon pie. The second challenge forced the contestants to create a savory, free standing meat pie that was the recipe of judge Paul Hollywood, which amounted to a chicken potpie without a tin. The hardest part for the contestants was finding the right width of crust. Finally, they had to make 36 tartlets of their choosing.
The contestants are all fun to watch. I’m especially interested in following the progress of Francine, who Jeff Foxworthy described on the Tonight Show as so country that she makes him look like he’s from Brooklyn. It turns out she is a good baker. I’m also rooting for firefighter Jeremy Cross. He’s really endearing, and is showing promise. Thankfully, there’s no one I find too annoying to watch so far.
Jeff Foxworthy is a pretty good host. He stays out of the way when appropriate, and helps explain everything to us at home with a great sense of humor.
Essential to any reality show is the expert and personality of the judges. In this case, the judges seem expert, but not mean to any participants. Paul Hollywood is apparently very famous in England and has been on many shows there, including the original version of the show. He seems very knowledgeable, but I haven’t seen enough yet to like him. Marcela has worked at Bon Appétit and came in fourth on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart. She also seems nice and fair.
I’ll totally tune into this show next week, and keep following it unless something unforeseen happens and it takes a horrible turn.
All images are from www.cbs.com