Did you tune in to the first episode of American Baking Competition on CBS? I am utterly addicted to watching cooking shows… especially competitions. Totally love watching people create unbelievable things especially when faced with odd ingredients or surreal time limits. What I love about this competition is that that the contestants are passionate baking amateurs, so maybe I can relate to them just a little. I know I could NOT work under all of that pressure, but it sure is fun to nail bite behind my TV screen.
So, yeah it was pretty freakin cool to be able to hop on a conference chat with the fabulous Marcela Vallodolid (esteemed chef, author and judge alongside Paul Hollywood on the show) and then Carlo Fuda who was the first person to be voted out of the competition. So excited to share a little insider buzz with you! Curious? Read on!
Talking to Marcela was awesome, she is really down to earth and just love the authenticity she brings to the show. I just had to ask about that pie with BACON that Francine (or southern spitfire as I like to call her) made.
Me: Knowing that you like to cook fresh and with a more healthful approach, what did you really think of that chocolate bacon peanut butter pie?
Marcela Valladolid: It was awesome! I thought it was really good the only thing is that it is incredibly rich. I appreciated that just by looking at it, you knew it was going to be a huge explosion of richness and flavor. There was no misleading in that sense. You looked at that thing and it was garnished in like a quarter pound of bacon so you knew what was coming in your mouth. I would have maybe found a way to make it a little more subtle in terms of the presentation, she didn’t need as much bacon on the top because there was so much wonderful bacon flavor in there. I love the combination of smoky bacon with rich sweet chocolate and it’s a great combination that’s very much in and happening in the culinary world right now. I thought it was great. It was rich. I maybe would have liked to see it in a more delicate presentation and the size of it, but her flavor combination and the level of sweetness and the level of salt was perfect. Francine absolutely knows what she’s doing.
Me: With all the delicious baked goods made on the show, how do you stay so fit.. because you look FABULOUS?
Marcela: I’m one of those annoying people who’s going to attribute that a lot to DNA. If you come down to San Diego and you have dinner with myself and my family you’ll see that we’re just a bunch of small Mexicans and it is what it is. We all just happen to be really tiny. But at the same time I am a single mom to a child who has more energy than the energizer bunny so if I’m not working I’m at the park, or I’m hiking or kayaking or I’m very much into physical activity. I’m yoga obsessed, I need it to stay sane. I try to keep myself very active for the reason that I love to eat and I love my food. It’s not about how I look it’s about how I feel. I need to be able to run around after Fau so I try to keep myself actively busy.
Me: What are the stress levels like while the contestants are racing to finish?
Marcela: So stressful! You’d never think so much drama could come from baking a cupcake or a cookie or whatever they were making. It was incredibly stressful but I love that that let’s everyone know that these guys are amateurs. When you’re a professional, the first thing you dominate and master is time management because you just have to. If you went to culinary school, that’s what they’re always going to bug you about. That’s what’s ironic about the show. Most people bake to relax or de-stress or bake out of love for their families, and then we put them in this situation where they’re in Alpharetta, GA, we have fluctuating temperatures which makes it really difficult for baking, new kitchens, new equipment, they’re on the clock, they’re competing for $250K and a Simon & Schuster book deal. It’s a very high stress situation. You will see in the show that there are many times where they just didn’t make it. That’s when you can tell that these guys are home bakers.
When I spoke with Carlo, I told him that it was sad to see him go… I totally loved his Italian Easter Pie! I did not think it was too “busy”, looked awesome to me! I need that recipe! I asked him what he is planning now after being on the show. Loved what he had to say, very inspiring and you know I’ll be stalking his food blog at CarloFuda.com.
Carlo Fuda: I wasn’t feeling like myself in the corporate environment I was in. I had such a strong passion for food, for Italy, for cooking and baking, and I never had the confidence or the exciting or the boldness to take these steps that I’m now taking and pursuing my passion. What’s next? I’m working a lot on my food blog which I started when I was in my corporate setting and I wasn’t able to dedicate the time to my blog, and I worked in social media for my company so I all kind of went hand in hand looking back now even makes more sense. I’ve been to italy 30 times i worked in a professional capacity, and now I feel really prepared to take the next steps in this new path that i’m following. I have long term aspirations of opening up a cafe. I was also living in Connecticut, so this was a launch pad for me to come home to Pennsylvania which I’ve been wanting to do for the past 7 years. Ever since I left I’ve been home sick so now I’m back and I want to open a cafe here in PA and continue my work in social media and blogging and I’m also a singer so I want to pursue that dream as well. I’ve learned that dreams are not impossible, dreams should be followed, and that’s exactly what I’m doing now. I’m so excited and happy and the support from my friends and family gives me the confidence and the momentum and the energy to do everything that I want to do.
Now seriously! I can’t wait to see what Francine is going to come up with next! Totally loved her energy, I think I’ll be routing for her to stay in the competition from hereon out. This week’s episode is all about cookies, yum! Do you think she will add some bacon to hers? We will see! And uh oh- I hear one of the contestants gets BURNED for deceiving the judges! Yikes! Here is a sneak peek:
Tune into the THE AMERICAN BAKING COMPETITION on Wednesdays (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Did you tune into the American Baking Competition?
Could you ever go on a show like this? Why or why not?