Saturday Sweets: Miami Is Represented in Food Network's Spring Baking Championship
Spring is almost here and with the change of season comes the change of one of our guilty pleasures — Food Network baking shows. On Monday, March 18th at pm the Spring Baking Championship makes its debut.
Vibrant colors, fresh fruits and bright flavors are on display as 10 of the best bakers in the country (including two from Miami) compete for the title of Spring Baking Champion and the $25,000 prize. This season’s judges include Nancy Fuller, Duff Goldman and Lorraine Pascale.
In the season premiere, the bakers are tasked to celebrate the beginning of spring by combining all things cute and delicious in a pre-heat challenge creating spring animal-themed donuts. In the main heat the bakers must get in touch with their inner artists as they design watercolor cakes featuring iconic spring fruits and vegetables, but only nine bakers will continue in the competition.
Other episodes include baking up blue ribbon-worthy rhubarb pies, crafting an "ooey gooey" marshmallow dessert in honor of Easter, and the first Spring Baking Championship Spelling Bee - where the bakers must make colorful cream tart words that evoke all things spring. Don't miss all the fun and excitement to see which baker earns the sweetest title of Spring Baking Champion!
If you follow Miami’s pastry scene (or are a regular Saturday Sweets reader) then competitor Karina Rivera is probably someone you already know. She’s Antonio Bachour’s right hand and you can find her at the new bakery in Coral Gables when she’s not jet setting around the world teaching pastry classes with her mentor. Born and raised in Mexico City, Karina loves her job because it allows her to inspire people. “When somebody thanks you for inspiring them, there is nothing better than that,” she says. She loves spring because she can play with fresh flavors and vibrant colors. One of her favorite spring desserts to make is key lime tart with coconut ganache and strawberry foam. She would love to eventually start her own business.
Also on this season’s Spring Baking Championship you’ll find Tracey Marionneaux. Tracey is currently the cake artist at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach and runs her business Sweet Revolution from home. She’s made custom cakes for celebrities like Kanye West, Steve Harvey and Kid Rock. Her favorite spring dessert to make is a simple lemon tart with a sweet butter shell and fresh lemon curd. She could eat lemon curd by the spoonful.
We got the chance to sit with Tracey to learn a little more about her, and here’s what we talked about:
How did you get your start in pastry and desserts?
My grandmother had a passion for baking. My early memories are of her letting me help piir in the flour. I remember being so excited when I was old enough to crack the egg! There was always a cake in her house for visitors to enjoy. I loved the smell of her home and I loved how a slice of cake made people happy!
What's drew you to competing in the show?
The encouragement of family and friends. But, I’ve watched competition shows and always wanted to compete along with them. I visualized myself on the show and knew I could handle the pressure.
How did you overcome the added pressure of having cameras on you while you work?
The pressure was intense, but I’m a mindful person. I managed it by isolating my thoughts and only focusing on the task at hand, and not the chaos around me.
What's your favorite thing about spring?
As a Chicagoan, Spring makes you feel alive. The whole city is alive again, people are smiling again, there’s warmth in the air, green leaves on the trees and buzz in the air! I recently moved to Miami, and I’m not accustomed to warm weather all the time, but I’m loving it!
What would you do with the prize money if you were to win?
Simple, help my daughter and invest in furthering my career as a pastry chef.
If you could shadow anyone in the pastry world for a day who would it be?
Pierre Hermé because his work is like A Van Gogh or Da Vinci, it’s beautiful, it’s artistic and the icing on the cake is that it’s delicious! That’s my goal in my career, to make beautiful delicious art! I recently went to Paris for vacation, one of the highlights for me was going to his restaurant. It was everything I imagined it to be!
Food Network’s Spring Baking Championship premieres this Monday at 9pm. We’ll be watching and cheering these sweet locals on — will you?