If there’s one thing that isn’t lacking on television, it’s cooking shows. There’s Hell’s Kitchen and Top Chef for the professional chefs, MasterChef for the home cooks, and Cupcake Wars for cupcake enthusiasts. Of course, these are just a few players in that huge field. There’s something addicting about them – the competition, seeing how people act under pressure, and seeing what they are able to deliver. The American Baking Competition, CBS’ latest cooking show, brings all of that, but in a much nicer way.
The premise of the show is simple: ten home bakers were selected from around the country and each episode they compete in challenges based on a different theme. The first challenge is a signature bake where the competitors use one of their own recipes. Next is the technical bake where the bakers are given the same recipe but with some missing instructions. The point is to determine the skill level of the bakers who have no idea about the recipe beforehand. The judges then taste and rank the dishes blindly; after scoring, they discover who baked what. The final challenge is the showstopper, where the home bakers are expected to come up with one stunning dessert. At the end of it, the judges select one Star baker based on the episode’s challenges and somebody is sent home. Taste and appearance are big scorers in this competition. The show is judged by Paul Hollywood and Marcela Valladolid and hosted by Jeff Foxworthy who seems to be having the time of his life tasting everything.
So far only three episodes have aired, the themes being Pies, Cookies, and Cakes in that order. Overall, the show is nice although it’s a bit difficult to get invested at first. Throughout the episodes, little snippets of the competitors’ home lives are shown but they aren’t introduced all at once in the way many other shows do. Also, the heavy competition in shows like Hell’s Kitchen seems to be missing – the contestants are nice to each other, for the most part, and don’t interact too much as all the challenges are individual. One thing it does well is help viewers appreciate how much work goes into baking, and it’s always nice to see what people come up with for the showstopper. Overall, this is not my favorite show but I will definitely keep up with it anyway. The niceness is a welcome change to all the annoyance that some other shows bring, and I personally like seeing pretty desserts. It’s also nice to see little tricks that other bakers use.
The American Baking Competition airs Wednesday nights at 8p.m. Eastern / 7p.m Central.