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SilverStormm

Season One Talk: Spring Baking Championship

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This week, I noticed that Simone had a lisp and I hadn't noticed it before - Did anyone hear it?  Did she always have it and I wasn't paying attention before? Is there something wrong with the audio on my TV?  (note: I am seriously asking this question, I want to know if there is anything going on with my TV or my hearing)

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This show doesn't bother me as much as the Holiday one, probably because I like all the contestants.  Even the judges aren't that bad this time.  First reality baking show I like all of the ones participating.  Anyone who wins I'm happy for.  Although, if I have to pick, I would like Simone to win.  If she doesn't, anyone else who does I'm happy for.  

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I have Celiac and had she gone there about the weight loss I would have been SUPER annoyed. It is NOT a tool to lose weight. Most people who go GF and lose weight only do so because they've cut calories by not eating wheat based foods. I didn't get where she was going either.  And sure gluten-free can be good when you're making essentially a yogurt parfait. I thought she was going to go there with baking something that used GF flours to make a baked good that's traditionally made from wheat flour. I like Simone and am rooting for her, so I'm glad I didn't have a reason to stop liking her.

I am glad she didn't go there as well, because it makes me mad that gluten free has become the "popular" supposed weight loss diet. Everywhere I go, even little pharmacy stores with food, has gluten-free. I am lactose intolerant, which is much more common than actual Celiac, and there's hardly anything targeted to our group. In fact, products that I had enjoyed in the past have actually been taken out of production. So I get annoyed (I know it is petty and silly) when I see how everyone is going nuts to cater to the gluten-free group. No offense to you, since you do actually have Celiac. Really, a lactose-reduced diet would be a pretty effective weight loss strategy too, but people don't think to do it because dairy is seen as "healthy" (which it actually isn't so much). I definitely can't go crazy with all the junk food and desserts.

 

And back on topic - I do like Simone, but I've also noticed that she seems to think she is already on her own cooking show. Has anyone else noticed that in her TH, she is always explaining what she is doing in such a specific style that it sounds like she is leading a cooking show? Damiano doesn't bother me that much. He is a bit arrogant, but I think some of what is coming off in an annoying way is really just the combination of accent/difference in language usage and culture. Looking back, I don't think he has really done that much that has been so bad. I've seen worse on these shows.

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Okay, call me an ogre but I really have trouble with Simone's speech issues.  I have a thing about voices.  Seriously, listening to Meredith and Maggie chatting on Grey's Anatomy sends me around the bend.

 

Sad to see my favorite go but Sandy had been on the lower end of the judgments for a couple of weeks now whereas Simone has had more positive results.

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Damiano makes my eyes smile. So dang pretty.

Was there something going on with Duff's skin this week? Very yellow/orange around the eyes. Not sure if bad makeup or what, but he looked jaundiced.

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Was there something going on with Duff's skin this week? Very yellow/orange around the eyes. Not sure if bad makeup or what, but he looked jaundiced.

 

I don't know anything but I've suspected that FN has someone in their make up department who isn't very good.  On Cutthroat Kitchen, Antonia often looks like her makeup was applied around an eye mask and sometimes it looks orangish.

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I didn't have anything against Simone but really like Damiano so am glad he stayed. I'm a philistine, I guess, because I thought his plating was nice and best exemplified the silly challenge. Better than "the white is inside," anyway. Although the judges didn't think it tasted that good, either.

 

Maybe for the next iteration, Damiano's brother should compete. I'm tired of hearing about that guy.

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Well, we are back to Damiano never having done something before (I can't remember what it was).  

The eliminations this season make more sense - maybe the editing is better. It was no surprise that Simone left, based on the judges comments.  Last season (Holiday Baking ) there was a lot of "This tasted horrible, you didn't finish decorating it, and was undercooked, but, hey, you tried something different, so you stay."  I get giving bonus points for being creative and pushing yourself, instead of doing something basic (and if you can't do the basic stuff well, then you should go home), but it was like a horrible "new" thing was better than a so-so regular thing.  

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The minute Simone uttered the word "deconstructed", I knew she was going to be in trouble.

I'm glad Andy redeemed himself.

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Maybe for the next iteration, Damiano's brother should compete. I'm tired of hearing about that guy.

 

Massimo is not, let's say, decorative in the same way Damiano is. Not quite ready-for-TV. I was at the shop in Moorpark last week to pick up some gelato, and it appears their business has exploded. They now have valet parking! in the middle of the week! And they're in some low-rent strip mall, sharing with a Salvation Army thrift store and some kind of auto repair business. But not for long, I suspect. I'm really glad for them, because they do make amazing stuff.

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I've found Simone a bit off-putting all along (something about the way she speaks) so I wasn't unhappy to see her go.  I didn't understand why the judges liked her plating.  I thought it looked silly.  If I order dessert somewhere, I expect something to eat, not something sort of decorative.

 

I've been rooting for Andy and Dwayne all along and I'm beginning to think Dwayne will win.  Both Andy and Damiano have had more criticisms I think. 

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I've found Simone a bit off-putting all along (something about the way she speaks) so I wasn't unhappy to see her go.  I didn't understand why the judges liked her plating.  I thought it looked silly.  If I order dessert somewhere, I expect something to eat, not something sort of decorative.

 

 

Yes, it wasn't just her lisp, there was something odd about her phrasing too. It annoyed me, so I wasn't unhappy to see her go. I thought her dish look terrible, & the light blue piece of candy just sitting on top looked stupid. I thought Damiano's dessert looked great, I don't understand why the judges disliked it so much. I don't remember that anyone specified the dessert should be very sophisticated or elegant.

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I think they said that the cream was too heavy for the sponge.  And personally, I'm getting a little sick of Damiano's written messages as a form of decoration so I don't mind that he got knocked on decoration.

But what I suspect is they needed a top two and they needed a bottom two.  Damiano may have been closer to Andy and Dwayne but he was still third out of four.

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Simone didn't bother me at all. I hoped she'd go to the finals and it would be her v. Dwayne. The one who did make my ears bleed and whose elimination I cheered was Juliana. The screeching, the girrrrling, the endless references to her children--did you know she has 4 daughters? Jesus. I wish she'd gone first.

Edited by ABay
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Wow, did Damiano shoot down Nancy's advances or something b/c she was totally against Damiano this episode.

 

I really think Damiano tried to suck up w/ his red/white/blue dish but it backfired horribly...especially in decorating the plate.  I think sucking up to the judges and going for schmaltzy never works....just look at how it worked for crybaby Juliana.

 

Oh Simone...she should have just went w/the blueberries...she knows there is nothing that is blue-colored in baking unless you loose food coloring, so blueberries would have to work.  I would think it is obvious in competitions like these, you never second guess yourself unless it just tastes horrible.

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I liked Damiano's plate and thought he was just trying to be "American" with his plating. I really didn't like Andy's plate and would not be interested in eating a 'dome'. I knew Simone was a goner because I think Nancy really likes Damiano and the other two guys are pretty good. I wondered why Duff hardly said anything this episode, did anyone else notice this? Is was mostly Nancy with a little Lorriane and almost no Duff comments.

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I liked Damiano's plate and thought he was just trying to be "American" with his plating.

 

That's my point though, I think he was just trying too hard.  It felt very pandering to the judges in my opinion, maybe minus Lorraine though.  His dessert was very mediocre based on what he has prepared in the past and compared to the pie he prepared earlier that day.  I just find Damiano smug and I will be very upset if he wins this contest.  I was glad when his gelato struck out during the pie challenge.  

 

 

I wondered why Duff hardly said anything this episode, did anyone else notice this? Is was mostly Nancy with a little Lorriane and almost no Duff comments.

 

I think it all has to do w/the producers who cut and paste the episode to fit the outgoing contestant.  I'm guessing Duff wasn't overly critical of the contestants in this heat like Nancy and Lorraine had been.  There have been plenty of episodes where it seems Duff and Lorraine speak more than Nancy.

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IMO Simone should have been cut for that purse cake on which she peeled off the thick fondant before serving.

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Well, damn. I've been rooting for Dwayne all along, mostly because I went to grad school in Oxford, MS and hung out in the City Grocery bar every Friday night with my friends. (We couldn't afford to eat in the restaurant). But I'm compelled to say that Alan totally deserved the win tonight. His cake was absolutely beautiful, and Dwayne's looked like ass.

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Wow Andys wedding cake was beautiful. I'd love to taste it. Dwaine's looked very amateur in comparison but I bet it tasted delicious. I also thought Damianos looked very pretty. I knew Andy was going to win by the way they fawned over his cake. Duff didn't seem to like anyone's cake.

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In the end, I didn't want Andy to win even though he had the nicest decorations on his cake. I didn't like the way Bobby hovered over him and they showed him more than the others as he made his cake. Damiano's cake looked lovely and original and his filling sounded better than Andy's to me. I agree that Duff wasn't as wowed as the other judges, and I think he was judging on flavor rather than decorations.

 

Dwayne was an early favorite of mine and his cake looked tasty but wasn't as 'wedding like' as the other two.

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Andy got what is called the "winner's edit" where they focus on him on the last episode.  

 

I was glad Andy won b/c let's face it, imo, those other cakes were horrible looking as wedding cakes.  Damiano crashed and burned big time w/the wedding cake, and i'm not sure why.  Pressure?  He was freaking out way too much over the outside decoration and that icing was just horrible looking on his cake.  When he went before the judges he knew he blew it, they were being nice to him about the decoration.

 

To be fair to Duff...he does know cakes so I would trust his judgement, but it seemed like he realized someone needed to criticize something about Andy's cake.

 

I couldn't believe Dwayne just slapped those chocolate panels on there, he should have figured out an alternating pattern or something.

 

So...on to FNS next week...

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I think Damiano's cake looked lovely; not everything needs to be fondant. Of course, I like untraditional looking cakes. Andy's did the best but it looked the judges had to scrape away the fondant on his cake and Dwayne's before they ate it. I think an all vanilla filling is kind of boring and even if it matched his wedding cake, he should have upped the ante. Of course, taste is very subjective.

 

I agree he got the winner's edit, but we weren't supposed to know the winner until the end so it was kind of obvious. I also was worried about his wife with all the crying. Andy actually lives in a suburb close to me so I should have been rooting for him, but for some reason I wasn't (and I admit that I sometimes don't know who I am rooting for until I am disappointed/happy at the end). 

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Being a vanilla gal, I need Andy's cake in my life!  I was drooling watching him soak the layers with vanilla bean syrup, then fill it with vanilla mousse.  But, THIS is my dream cake.  It's Adrian Zumbo's V8 cake - 8 different preparations of vanilla in one cake;

 

Vanilla chantilly

Toasted vanilla brulee
Vanilla water gel
Vanilla macaron
Vanilla almond crunch
Vanilla dacquoise
Vanilla ganache
Vanilla glaze

 

I think Andy's definitely got the chops, so he deserved the win, but deep down I was kind of hoping Dwayne might win because he's such a sweet, humble guy.  Then again, sweet and humble doesn't win you dessert competitions, but his peanut butter chocolate banana bread pudding sounded amazing!  Finally, I think Damiano was burnt out and just wanted it to end.  He didn't seem to put the same effort and enthusiasm into the last four challenges as he did the previous ones.

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I would have swapped out Damiano and put in Simone in the finale...I think she really would have brought it w/ the wedding cake challenge as well as the dessert bar.

 

After the Simone fondant purse debacle I guess you aren't supposed to eat the fondant, which I didn't know.  Heck, even Duff said as much that he usually asks if they want him to remove the fondant before he serves the cake.  

 

Damian would have used the fondant like the other two but obviously he had never touched the stuff b/c he had no idea really how to work it.  I loved seeing those muscles struggle to get that fondant he needed.

 

During the first challenge I wasn't paying attention completely and all I heard were "bar" and "dessert" so as I was watching the part where they were showing some of their desserts and they weren't in "bar" form I was thinking well he didn't understand the challenge and was going to get pinged bad.

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Andy got what is called the "winner's edit" where they focus on him on the last episode.

 

I thought it was at least a modified winner's edit, because they didn't give him an Obstacle to Overcome, and that's usually a big part of reality competition shows, especially in the finale.  He won the mini-challenge, there was no disaster at the midpoint.  He just rolled through.

 

I understand that decorating a wedding cake in that time limit is difficult, but I would have preferred to see the mini-challenge become the main one.  There's something off to me about wrapping up a baking challenge handing them pre-baked cakes.

 

Still, I think it was a nice little Sunday timewaster, a great way to wind down from more intense shows.

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I wasn't surprised when Andy won, he had the best looking wedding cake IMO. I thought Dwayne's cake was ugly, & Damiono's looked like it was drowning in buttercream.

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Damn! I was gonna watch the Finale, then I got caught up in a Perry Mason mystery movies marathon on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries & completely forgot it was on at 9. THEN I fell asleep & slept through the midnight Eastern/9 Pacific repeat. So thanks for posting who won already--I appreciate it! think there should be at least 1 more repeat sometime this week, so I'll try to catch that 1 to see exactly how it all went down.

Edited by BW Manilowe

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I'm happy with Andy's win.  He came across as a nice, regular guy.

He also made a traditional wedding cake, and IMO, for the purpose of the show, it was a good choice.

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I was rooting for Dwayne, but I thought Andy was the clear winner. His wedding cake was spectacular. In fact, I think Duff's grousing about the blandness of the vanilla flavor was just a red herring, thrown in to make the final decision a little less obvious.

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This was the first competition show I ever watched during which the judges did what I thought they should do every single week.  Amazing.  I was rooting for Andy and Dwayne all along and didn't really make up my mind between them until I saw their wedding cakes.  Dwayne's cake wasn't attractive and nothing about it said "wedding" except the strawberry people on top.  Andy's cake was beautiful.  I wonder why they didn't show him making those flowers.  I would have liked to have seen how he did that.  Maybe the contrast between those and Dwayne's chocolate thingies would have made the outcome too obvious.

 

I felt sad for Dwayne because he was so good all season and took the loss so hard and because I just liked him.  I wish there had been some kind of consolation prize for him and Damiano after they had both done so well all along.

 

Edited to add:  I wish Duff had explained his comments about the American buttercream.  I'm not a baker and I didn't understand what the problem was although I did hear him say "grainy."

Edited by mlp
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To my recollection, Andy didn't use Fondant. He just did straight up buttercream which makes his cake even more amazing. I thought his cookie for the dessert bar was over the top in a not good way. Strawberry and pistachio and white chocolate and and and... just seemed too much. 

 

While I did like Damiano's fondant use with the interesting shapes, the purple rosettes were not pretty and were basically a shitton of buttercream which makes my sweet tooth ache. As a GF person I appreciated his attempt with the GF cake in the dessert bar but what he made was basically a flourless chocolate torte which while technically GF (and usually delicious) isn't a challenge in the same way cooking with true GF flours would have been. 
 

I liked what Dwayne did with the 'embroidery' but had a hard time understanding how it related to the chocolate panels on the upper and lower level. It wasn't cohesive. He would have done better had he not done the panels and 'embroidered' the whole thing. 

 

Based on what I read about Damiano's Moorepark bakery, he and Dwayne have quite the consolation prize at home. Apparently Damiano's bakery is HOPPING due to all the free publicity. 

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As a GF person I appreciated his attempt with the GF cake in the dessert bar but what he made was basically a flourless chocolate torte which while technically GF (and usually delicious) isn't a challenge in the same way cooking with true GF flours would have been.

 

 

Of course, you really have to know what you're doing with alternative flours, since they have very different qualities than wheat.  So perhaps from that standpoint, making a gluten-free dessert by just eliminating the use of any flour is the most sensible way to go in a competition setting. 

 

I wonder if Duff's lack of enthusiasm about the cakes was the result of the contestants having to use store-bought sponge?  I didn't quite understand why they didn't devote the whole episode to that challenge, and give them 8 hours to do it, to really produce an extravaganza. 

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Andy did use fondant, they showed him rolling it out. I would like to have seen more of the spun sugar decorations, but they wanted to spend more time on the crying.

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I am so glad Murray, I mean Andy won. His wedding cake looked spectacular! I like Dwayne, but based on the challenge I do believe the right person won. And Damiano's with all that icing. How the hell did they not slip into a coma after one bite!

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Add American Buttercream and Wedding Cake to the list of things Damiano, who owns a bakery in California,  has never made before.  I am getting the feeling that there is a sign outside his bakery that says "Cannolis, nothing but Cannolis,"  I thought his design idea - the roses and cascading hearts was good, but it wasn't enough and he should have switched the colors - white roses and lavender hearts.  Or kept the lavender roses, but varied the intensity of the lavender, giving it an ombre effect (lightest on top, darkest on the bottom). 

 

I think Dwayne focused too much on showing off everything he could do (but hadn't done before) instead of making his decorations look like they go together. Maybe it was just my TV, but I thought his shades of green clashed. 

 

Andy's cake would have had to taste horrible for him to lose.

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I don't think Andy used fondant.  In fact didn't he use a knife to texture his buttercream on top?   Maybe he used fondant to make his flowers, but not to cover his cakes.

 

Here's the recipe with a picture of the cake.

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Well, I was going to watch the finale, but since I'm a Damiano fan, I decided to see who won so if he didn't I didn't waste my time watching.  Good thing, so I had a free hour to spend on something else. 

 

Though Andy produced lovely things, I really wasn't a fan. 

 

Meh.

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I didn't like the way Bobby hovered over him and they showed him more than the others as he made his cake.

 

Seriously, Bobby could not take a hint. "I can't do this right now, sorry." "Tell me about what you're thinking." "I can't right now." "Are you thinking about your wife?" I'm surprised he didn't straight up punt him out of the kitchen. He did that the WHOLE CHALLENGE.

 

Bobby is a really awkward host.

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Seriously, Bobby could not take a hint. "I can't do this right now, sorry." "Tell me about what you're thinking." "I can't right now." "Are you thinking about your wife?" I'm surprised he didn't straight up punt him out of the kitchen. He did that the WHOLE CHALLENGE.

 

Bobby is a really awkward host.

Ted on Chopped does that all the time, & I've seen contestants just say "I can't talk to you now" & walk away from him.

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Edited to add:  I wish Duff had explained his comments about the American buttercream.  I'm not a baker and I didn't understand what the problem was although I did hear him say "grainy."

 

American Buttercream: butter/shortening, powdered sugar, and vanilla whipped together. Because it's basically a dump-and-mix buttercream, the sugar doesn't always get a chance to dissolve, so it tends to be grainy.

Italian Buttercream: An Italian meringue (cook the sugar to 248ºF and slowly pour into the whipped egg whites) with butter gradually added in

Swiss Buttercream: Similar to the Italian, but a Swiss meringue is made by heating the egg whites and sugar together over a double boiler until very warm when you dip a finger in, whipping it to stiff peaks, and gradually adding the butter.

 

My preference is Italian buttercream because it's more stable and doesn't soften so much in the summer like the Swiss buttercream does.

Edited by Automne
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Thanks for the descriptions, Automne.  I didn't know that the various buttercreams are that different.  Now I get it.

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7 Minute Frosting (egg whites and sugar, whipped while heating in the top of a double boiler) is a family favorite.  So it American Buttercream (in our family, cake only exists as something to put frosting on).  I never thought about mixing the two of them together, but it sounds like that would be similar (in  broad sense of the word) to Swiss Buttercream.  I would think that it would cause the egg white portion to fall/liquify.  

 

I may have to play around with this.....

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With Swiss buttercream, after the egg whites & sugar are warmed up, pour it into a mixer and whip to medium-stiff peaks and keep whipping until the bowl is room temperature. Then drop in the butter a bit at a time.

 

With both Italian and Swiss buttercream, the meringue won't fall, but as you're adding the butter, it will curdle. Just keep beating until it all comes together again. 

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Just binge-watched because I missed the whole thing. Glad Andy won, because his wedding cake truly deserved it. It was beautiful. I was secretly rooting for Dwayne but those panels were just plain ugly. Damiano's cake was very pretty but needed a little something else, also he was a bit arrogant.

 

This season was fun. I guess I must have a high tolerance for over-bearing people because Nancy never bothers me, and I though Sandy was kind of fun to listen to. Juliana was okay until she kept bringing on the waterworks, then she had to go. I wish Simone had stayed in the competition at the end because I would have loved to see her do a wedding cake, but the final 3 were the right choices.

 

All in all a good season.

 

(Does anyone notice how Lorraine never seems to take an actual bite? She seems to lick the little off of the edge of the fork and frankly, I don't see how you could taste anything that way).

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If you thought Damiano was arrogant during this Spring Baking Championship, wait until you see him as a judge in season 2 of Halloween Baking Championship.

Edited by Little Sun

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