Holiday Baking Championship Season 8 has arrived

Jesse Palmer with baking topics and art details, as seen on Holiday Baking Championship, Season 6. photo provided by Food Network
Jesse Palmer with baking topics and art details, as seen on Holiday Baking Championship, Season 6. photo provided by Food Network /

The crown had barely been resting on the head of the winner of Halloween Baking Championship before it felt like Food Network threw the lot of them out of the kitchen and redecorated. That’s because the series foodies everywhere have been waiting for has finally returned. That’s right. Holiday Baking Championship is back!

Twelve new bakers, both home and professional, have arrived to compete in Season 8 of Food Network’s flagship competition series. Jesse Palmer returns to host the series while Duff Goldman and Nancy Fuller are joined by Carla Hall at the judge’s table.

For those new to Holiday Baking Championship, it works like this. First the bakers compete in the Pre Heat (Clever name) which usually nets the winner an advantage of some kind in the next stage, the Main Heat. Each week a baker gets sent home with coal in their stocking until we have a winner who goes down the chimney with a cool $25,000.

However, this season there is a twist. If a baker manages to win both the Pre Heat and the Main Heat in the same episode, they get immunity the following week. It should make those Pre Heats a lot more interesting.

Who went home on Week 1 of Holiday Baking Championship?

Speaking of the Pre Heat, for Week 1 the bakers had to make doughnuts, one with a fall theme and the other with a holiday theme. The majority decided to do one baked and one fried doughnut. The bakers that did both well earned praise from the judges, including Philippe and Jody.

Marilyn managed to pull off an amazing save after she accidentally added apple cider vinegar to her doughnut batter instead of apple cider. Somehow she not only fixed her mistake but got great feedback from the judges. However, Adam ended up winning the Pre Heat with his amazing snowman doughnuts. They were visually stunning and a huge hit with everyone who tried them.

For the Main Heat, the bakers had to take apples and cheese and create something new that wasn’t a pie. For his advantage Adam could trade his cheese flavor with any of the other bakers, which he did. He took Jose’s brie and left him with Havarti.

The curve ball didn’t phase Jose at all however. His Napoleon dessert with Havarti-flavored cream was really a piece of pastry art and it won him the Main Heat, meaning Adam was denied the immunity.

That left Shayla, Naomi and Grace as the bottom three. In another twist it was revealed that not one, but two bakers would be going home at the conclusion of Week 1. All three had issues of one kind or another, from Grace overpowering her dessert with pine nuts to Shayla undercooking her entire dessert to Naomi’s cake being entirely too dense. Any of the three could have gone home.

When it was all said and done, Grace and Shayla were shown the door. Naomi seemed to realize exactly how close she came to going and expressed how thankful she was for getting a second chance.

Overall, after Week 1 you can see there is a definite talent gap between the bakers who are pros and those that bake at home. Of course that doesn’t mean a home baker can’t win, but this year it might be more difficult then in seasons past.

Holiday Baking Championship continues next week where another baker will pack up their flour and sugar and go home and the rest will be one step closer to Christmas glory and $25,000.

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What did you think of the return of Holiday Baking Championship Guilty Eaters? Was it worth the wait? Did you think the right bakers went home? Leave a comment below and let us know or join the conversation on our Twitter and Facebook pages.