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The American Baking Competition - Wednesdays, CBS-TV, 8pm EST

greygarious May 31, 2013 05:49 PM

This one premiered on 5/29. Since I don't have cable, I am unfamiliar with the judges. They seem to be setting up Francine, a hefty middle-aged Southern blonde (the Paula Deen clone?), as the one to beat. But so far, there does not seem to be a particularly obnoxious contestant to hatewatch. That's a surprise, as it's part of the established reality competition formula. Maybe we're supposed to dislike Francine.

The challenges were difficult, since baking is fussier than other cooking.
The time allotted was pretty tight, and competitors were unfamiliar with the ovens and other equipment they were using. In the savory meat pie challenge, they were given a list of ingredients but no instructions, and it had to be a hot-water crust, which is not something called for in most pie dough recipes. Most of the crusts were not very successful but viewers had no indication which, if any, contestants were familiar with the process.


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    sandylc RE: greygarious May 31, 2013 07:46 PM

    I liked this show more than I thought I would. I was disappointed that the network failed to post the recipes on their website, even though there was a spot for them. They dropped the ball there.

    Paul Hollywood is one of the judges; I recall selling one of his books in a garage sale years ago. He was unfamiliar with the use of bacon in sweet applications; has he been living under a rock?

    2 Replies
    1. re: sandylc
      pley RE: sandylc Jun 5, 2013 02:14 PM

      That was my thought exactly - he's never had or heard of chocolate covered bacon?? How could he be a judge of any food competition if he's so behind the times.

      1. re: pley
        sandylc RE: pley Jun 5, 2013 03:15 PM

        I looked again. Evidently I TRIED to sell his book (the sticker is still on it), but it wasn't bought. So I have been looking through it. It isn't very impressive....there are some edting issues, such as recipes on facing pages with different names, yet almost the exact same ingredients and amounts, and one says it produces one 1-lb loaf and the other says 2 1-lb loaves.

        Also, breads such as Pain de Campagne are mixed straight and baked right away, which in my experience does not produce the desired result.

        O.K., done.

    2. Withnail42 RE: greygarious Jun 1, 2013 08:11 AM

      I got turned of by the judges Jeff Foxworthy? And then Marisa Hemorrhoid or what ever her name is best a bad contestant on Martha Stewart's version of the apprentice. She since gone on to do equally bad Mexican cooking shows. Paul Hollywood fit the mandatory role of British judge he at least is a baker and did UK version of the show.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Withnail42
        greygarious RE: Withnail42 Jun 1, 2013 11:17 AM

        JF is the host but does not judge.

        1. re: greygarious
          Withnail42 RE: greygarious Jun 1, 2013 12:28 PM

          Very true. But still seems like an odd coice.

          1. re: Withnail42
            pley RE: Withnail42 Jun 5, 2013 02:17 PM

            I thought JF was a very odd choice, also. Definitely do not associate him with good food. Thankfully he plays an unobtrusive role.

          2. re: greygarious
            Bacchus101 RE: greygarious Jun 2, 2013 07:48 AM

            Exactly, grey. I find JF a very good choice for a host. He seems truly interested and keep the shows "feet on the ground" with none of the high mindedness one get on some of the other cooking show. Even the judges do not pose themselves as "Gods" of cooking! Enjoyable show.

          3. re: Withnail42
            JonParker RE: Withnail42 Jun 2, 2013 07:22 AM

            I've learned some things from Marcela Valladolid. I'm not always enamored of her recipes, but some of them are staples in my repertoire, and she's easy on the eyes to boot. If I were to watch the show it would be because of her.

          4. c
            chazpage RE: greygarious Jun 1, 2013 04:32 PM

            The American Baking Competition actually airs on the CBS television network.

            2 Replies
            1. re: chazpage
              greygarious RE: chazpage Jun 1, 2013 09:09 PM

              Oops, you're right. There's a repeat Sunday at 8.

              1. re: greygarious
                LindaWhit RE: greygarious Jun 2, 2013 07:01 AM

                Hmm...I was out to dinner on Wednesday so didn't think to watch it (but was also watching MasterChef when I got home). Perhaps I'll try and catch this repeat tonight.

            2. s
              sandylc RE: greygarious Jun 5, 2013 05:44 PM

              Oh, boy, I am watching the cookie episode now. Can they find any more ways to incorrectly pronounce "macaron" and "macarons"?

              2 Replies
              1. re: sandylc
                chris2269 RE: sandylc Jun 27, 2013 05:30 PM

                Oh my god they did not...really? Funny Same challenge on masterchef this week with macaroons:) and someone complained about the wording. They should all be shot how dare they.I have a lot of British friends and funny thing is they can't pronounce the "TH" like in Through it's Frough...what I don't do is get on a high horse and correct them:)

                1. re: sandylc
                  greygarious RE: sandylc Jul 4, 2013 12:08 PM

                  Last night, Francine knew what croquembouche means in French, but thought it's pronounced "crooked bush", which is a pretty decent eggcorn, not to mention an apt description of what most of the choux towers looked like. The French pastry tasks were pretty daunting, and the time very tight, so it's no surprise that it was no one's finest hour.

                2. fracklefoodie RE: greygarious Jun 5, 2013 08:11 PM

                  I'm excited about the potential for this show. It's the American version of the Great British Bake-Off, which has been on the air for three seasons now and which I've greatly enjoyed. So far, it matches up with the British version, which has a lovely, homey feel to it. Different from most reality shows. I hope the American one stays fun, accessible and not overly dramatic.

                  1. b
                    badrockandroll RE: greygarious Jun 13, 2013 07:08 AM

                    I watched this show for the first time this weekin a marathon of taped episodes of it and NFNWS. Interesting comparisons when back to back, and I think that this show is better tv for most of the same reasons that others have stated here.
                    But I had never heard of either of the judges, so I googled them, and according to the Daily Mail, both of them have left their spouses for each other ... is that the new bar for reality tv ratings?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: badrockandroll
                      JonParker RE: badrockandroll Jun 13, 2013 08:03 AM

                      Marcela Valladolid isn't married. And all this caused her to shut down her Facebook page. It's ridiculous. Their personal lives are none of mine or anyone else's business. I will never understand the way the public thinks if you do one thing well they get to sit in judgement of your whole life.

                      1. re: badrockandroll
                        Withnail42 RE: badrockandroll Jun 13, 2013 10:27 AM

                        Jeff Foxworthy left his wife for Paul Hollywood?

                      2. beetlebug RE: greygarious Jun 13, 2013 12:16 PM

                        I'm enjoying this show. I find it interesting everyone's interpretation of their specialities and the differences in regional and personal tastes. But, what I really like about the show is that there isn't any overt meanness to it. On the most part, the judges give constructive criticism but do so in a way that isn't mean spirited. Most of the contestants know when/if they've baked or presented poorly.

                        But, I find Hollywood's taste a bit limited. He's never heard of bacon and chocolate or chili pepper and chocolate? I want to find that bacon and chocolate recipe (I've already forgotten what kind of baked good it was but it looked delicious).

                        1. TrishUntrapped RE: greygarious Jun 13, 2013 02:21 PM

                          After The Taste debacle, the casting agency for this show sent me an audition. I declined. And now all my friends are saying how good this show is and how well I would have done... I better watch it I guess. Wonder if it's available on demand or hulu...

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: TrishUntrapped
                            LindaWhit RE: TrishUntrapped Jun 13, 2013 03:20 PM

                            Trish, full eps are available @ CBS's website:


                            1. re: LindaWhit
                              TrishUntrapped RE: LindaWhit Jun 13, 2013 05:53 PM

                              Thanks Linda! I caught the second and third episodes, for some reason episode number one was not available.

                              I gotta be honest, this show is not bad!


                              1. There's NO fake personality drama, zero. The drama comes from the baking challenges where it should be.

                              2. Jeff Foxworthy looks like he's having fun! He's not pretending to be a cooking expert, and he sure does like to eat! I like him as the host.

                              3. The challenges are interesting. Contestants make their signature dish, then a challenge, then a showstopper. I think it's a great way to test their mettle.

                              4. They give the cooks enough time to bake! Thank you!

                              5. There's actually a couple things I want to make!


                              1. I'm being picky, but I don't like the two judges just by themselves, wish they had a special guest third judge for each episode.

                              2. Some of the contestants are extremely weak bakers, not sure how they made it on.

                              Overall, I enjoyed this show. If it comes back again, I'd audition... maybe.

                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                Firegoat RE: LindaWhit Jun 14, 2013 12:48 PM

                                I like trainwrecks ... as shown by my loyalty to Hell's Kitchen (yes we are down to 5 chefs) and Masterchef (with amazing awesome exquisite Walmart steaks) guess I'll have to go take a look.

                                1. re: Firegoat
                                  LindaWhit RE: Firegoat Jun 14, 2013 12:56 PM

                                  I'm with ya on MasterChef, but I gave up HK several seasons ago (after the local-to-me blue-haired chef came in runner-up).

                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                    Firegoat RE: LindaWhit Jun 14, 2013 01:02 PM

                                    I love blue haired guy. He was robbed. I'd love to try his restaurant. And no, I can't give up on HK. or Kitchen Nightmares......

                            2. Firegoat RE: greygarious Jun 14, 2013 12:54 PM

                              Just started the first episode on CBS... I've already gained 5 pounds and we're still in the intro.

                              1. Firegoat RE: greygarious Jun 14, 2013 01:17 PM

                                I am already liking their choice of a funny male host (Foxworthy) instead of another Padma, Lisa Ray, Katie Joel clone.

                                1. Firegoat RE: greygarious Jun 14, 2013 02:08 PM

                                  Okay, apparently Marcella and Hollywood are dating. I wish I hadn't wandered onto that discussion. And I guess he was married. I hate when I ruin shows for myself.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Firegoat
                                    TrishUntrapped RE: Firegoat Jun 14, 2013 03:16 PM

                                    UGH! Oh Firegoat....

                                    And her show is called Mexican Made Easy. Yeah, I guess so!

                                    1. re: TrishUntrapped
                                      Firegoat RE: TrishUntrapped Jun 14, 2013 03:24 PM

                                      I KNOW. I was kind of liking this show. Foxworthy has turned out to be one of the most likable cooking show hosts in a long time. Now I'm just kind of cringing at the judges :( I am sorry I shared.

                                      1. re: TrishUntrapped
                                        Firegoat RE: TrishUntrapped Jun 14, 2013 03:24 PM

                                        Ha. The Mexican Made Easy did make me laugh

                                    2. Firegoat RE: greygarious Jun 15, 2013 09:44 AM

                                      One thing I like about this show, over say some of FN's baking competition shows is a) the variety of foods made and that b) they seems like things people would reasonable cook. No crazy weird cupcake only competition, or giant sugar sculptures. I'm excited to see pretzels/bread next week. And I've been starving for a good baked pretzel ever since watching that preview. (with cheese sauce).

                                      1. y
                                        youareabunny RE: greygarious Jun 19, 2013 12:02 PM

                                        I stumbled upon it for the first time this week. It struck me because the set looks just like the set on a similar french show.

                                        It was sad to see the guys surprise pie cake not come out correctly... and I can't believe it's Jeff foxworthy hosting! I'd have preferred Mario Lopez ;) but he'd have to be shirtless

                                        Ok I'll stop

                                        1. Firegoat RE: greygarious Jun 19, 2013 12:09 PM

                                          Okay, this link made me laugh. I swear he looks like he's channeling Guy Fieri


                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Firegoat
                                            sandylc RE: Firegoat Jun 19, 2013 12:14 PM

                                            Ooh, icky. He is making a fool of himself. I feel like telling him to put his middle-aged tongue back in his mouth.

                                            1. re: sandylc
                                              Firegoat RE: sandylc Jun 19, 2013 02:11 PM

                                              He better not be poking anyone's buns tonight!

                                          2. TrishUntrapped RE: greygarious Jun 27, 2013 09:54 AM

                                            On last night's competition the contestants had to make "Desserts."

                                            Brian cracked me up with his Jalapeno and Chorizo Custard and his pitiful Chocolate Souffle. I feel bad for Effie. She really redeemed herself with her Hazelnut Meringue Torte. It was a true Showstopper.


                                            1. y
                                              youareabunny RE: greygarious Jun 28, 2013 04:47 PM

                                              I missed it AGAIN. Gahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh hoping I can stream all of the episodes but I'm not optimistic

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: youareabunny
                                                TrishUntrapped RE: youareabunny Jun 28, 2013 05:02 PM

                                                They're showing episodes here:


                                              2. s
                                                sandylc RE: greygarious Jul 3, 2013 06:29 PM

                                                I'm in the middle of watching the broadcast of the Pastry episode.

                                                OK, someone PLEASE tell me HOW they can POSSIBLY make Napoleons with puff pastry from scratch in 2 1/2 hours???????????

                                                That isn't even enough time to chill the pastry before rolling and baking it!!!!!!!!

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: sandylc
                                                  youareabunny RE: sandylc Jul 14, 2013 09:16 PM

                                                  Blast freezer? Lol

                                                2. c
                                                  charmedgirl RE: greygarious Jul 4, 2013 01:25 PM

                                                  I really like this show. Sad we're almost at the finale. Really hope it gets a second season.

                                                  1. Thanks4Food RE: greygarious Jul 13, 2013 09:31 AM

                                                    About the winner (don't want to spoil it for those who haven't seen the last episode): I'd like to know if anyone else felt as I did--that really none of these people were worthy of being called "America's Best Amateur Baker"?

                                                    I did enjoy the show, but kept thinking that surely some of the folks on Chowhound could do better than that! (I freely admit that I couldn't have--nor would I WANT to spend 5 hours making a stupid croissant. ;-)

                                                    13 Replies
                                                    1. re: Thanks4Food
                                                      Jambie RE: Thanks4Food Jul 13, 2013 02:33 PM

                                                      I finally watched the finale today and won't give it away either but the judges did zero in on one of my pet peeves. I absolutely hate eating a piece of cake that appears to have a nice buttercream frosting but it ends up being mostly cream cheese. Blech.

                                                      1. re: Thanks4Food
                                                        chowser RE: Thanks4Food Jul 13, 2013 08:55 PM

                                                        I enjoyed it, the few episodes I caught. I wish they had shown a little more technique but they probably had enough for the general audience. I can't imagine having to do those challenges under that type of pressure.

                                                        1. re: Thanks4Food
                                                          charmedgirl RE: Thanks4Food Jul 14, 2013 04:27 PM

                                                          A bit bummed about the winner. Don't necessarily think the most skilled baker won (based on performance and challenges won throughout the season), but still really enjoyed the show overall and hope it comes back. (Wouldn't shed any tears if they got some different judges though. Paul was ok, but there was something about Marcella I did not enjoy.)

                                                          1. re: Thanks4Food
                                                            TrishUntrapped RE: Thanks4Food Jul 15, 2013 12:53 PM

                                                            I agree. Throughout the series, the eventual winner didn't do a great job, until the end. I believe there are many better amateur bakers out there. Hope the show is renewed and better contestants are chosen. That said, I love the concept and hope it comes back another season. Why don't a bunch of us audition for it?

                                                            1. re: TrishUntrapped
                                                              chowser RE: TrishUntrapped Jul 15, 2013 01:40 PM

                                                              I saw an email for it and looked at it pretty closely. You have to commit to being away for two months and that's a killer. And, it didn't say what level they were expecting but I thought it would be more like pastry chef level, not basic follow-a-recipe home cook level. My fear was they'd say make a mille feuille and you'd have to do it w/out any guidance or recipe.

                                                              1. re: chowser
                                                                greygarious RE: chowser Jul 15, 2013 04:27 PM

                                                                That seems odd....like Survivor. They certainly could have wrapped up all the filming within a couple of weeks, airing them over a couple of months. It must have cost a bundle to sequester them for 2 months. What were the contestants doing for all that time? I wonder if they were being given lessons in TV presentation, or in baking.

                                                                1. re: greygarious
                                                                  chowser RE: greygarious Jul 15, 2013 04:59 PM

                                                                  I don't know the logistics of it all but it could be that you had to commit to the two months, in case you made it through, but were allowed to go home if you lost. But, they'd want that commitment just in case. They could have done back to back days, or maybe they were allowed to go home and then come back but the whole thing took two months? (In a good way), they didn't show the background drama, and where they stayed and their interaction but it seemed some of them did form bonds so maybe they were together the whole time.

                                                                  1. re: chowser
                                                                    greygarious RE: chowser Jul 15, 2013 05:42 PM

                                                                    They did have visits from family in one episode, and throughout, various bakers bemoaned being separated from their families so I assume they did not go home at all. Possibly the rejected ones left once they were kicked off.

                                                                2. re: chowser
                                                                  fracklefoodie RE: chowser Aug 18, 2013 04:54 PM

                                                                  Was your email for the first season or second? I have to admit, I'd love to be on this show but I can't find any casting news for season 2. I wonder if they're continuing the show.

                                                                  1. re: fracklefoodie
                                                                    chowser RE: fracklefoodie Aug 18, 2013 07:27 PM

                                                                    First show.

                                                              2. re: Thanks4Food
                                                                chris2269 RE: Thanks4Food Jul 21, 2013 12:08 PM

                                                                I freely admit that I couldn't have--nor would I WANT to spend 5 hours making a stupid croissant.

                                                                Actually real croissants take days to make not hours. About 4 days to be correct.

                                                                1. re: chris2269
                                                                  queenscook RE: chris2269 Aug 19, 2013 12:59 AM

                                                                  I'm no expert, but I took a baking course in which we made croissants from scratch in two days. We made the dough the first day, left it in the fridge overnight, and shaped and baked it the second. The course was four hours each day, and taught by the (former?) pastry chef of The River Cafe, so I imagine she knew what she was doing. They certainly tasted great.

                                                                  1. re: chris2269
                                                                    sandylc RE: chris2269 Oct 11, 2013 10:48 AM

                                                                    Croissants are two days.

                                                                2. c
                                                                  charmedgirl RE: greygarious Oct 11, 2013 10:37 AM

                                                                  No season 2.


                                                                  I'm so bummed. I actually really liked this show. I agree about Paul Hollywood and Marcella; I didn't like them at all. But I was hoping it would just come back with different judges. It was refreshingly wholesome and drama free. And you actually learned a little something about baking. Guess I should have known it was doomed from the start. :-(

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: charmedgirl
                                                                    youareabunny RE: charmedgirl Oct 11, 2013 10:47 AM

                                                                    Lame! Well the french version starts soon so I will be watching that :D

                                                                    It can be streamed off the website, search m6 meilleur patissiere if you can handle the french. I usually skip to the recipe portions by the chefs. And I'm assuming the UK version can be streamed online as well.

                                                                    1. re: charmedgirl
                                                                      sandylc RE: charmedgirl Oct 11, 2013 10:51 AM

                                                                      I agree. It was refreshing and real if you could ignore the judges. I did find Paul Hollywood's bread book in my basement, and it isn't very good. He is not a baking expert and I don't think I would visit his bakery(s), based upon reading that book. And he is annoying, besides.

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