At one point or another during the holiday season, most of us were involved with making a gingerbread house. Some were massive and intricate, others were uh … unique, but most were made with love. However, whether you were a fan of the classic seasonal tradition or not, chances are you were still impressed with the really amazing creations some bakers and dessert chefs were able to whip up gingerbread-style, and in Food Network’s latest holiday competition series get ready to have your jaw drop. Host Paige Davis sat down with Metro to give the scoop on the show, why she likes this specific competition series and dive into more on why “Holiday Gingerbread Showdown” will truly get you into the holiday spirit.
Host Paige Davis talks new ‘inspiring’ competition show, ‘Holiday Gingerbread Showdown’
How did you first get involved with hosting for ‘Holiday Gingerbread Showdown?’
It’s a funny story actually. There’s a woman at TLC named Megan and she called me and prefaced by saying, “Now that Discovery and Scripps have merged, Food Network is no longer our competition, we’re all family. We were wondering if you’d like to do ‘Holiday Gingerbread Showdown.’” I paused for a moment, and I thought really deeply and I said “I will so lose, but yes. I’m game and I will do it.” In that moment I actually had no idea that she wanted me to host it— I thought they wanted me to compete!
What will viewers be watching go down on each episode of ‘Holiday Gingerbread Showdown?’
So, there are three contestants per episode, and the winner of each episode moves on to be the three contestants in the finale. Each episode has it’s own theme, and the contestants were told what that theme was ahead of time because these gingerbread pieces take literally hundreds of hours to make — they are massive, the baking alone takes a tremendous amount of time. They are able to plan but they have to ship all of that stuff to the studio in Los Angeles with only ten hours left to complete their masterpiece. They have to assemble it and re-make any pieces that might have broken in shipping or transport — that’s where a lot of the jeopardy comes in. Even the more experienced bakers or competitors found themselves with broken pieces, sometimes large and sometimes small. You’ve still got to take the time to whip up the batter and re-make whatever pieces broke, so it’s a lot. Also on any Food Network show, you have to have something for the judges to eat, right? You can’t really eat these gingerbread masterpieces. They are technically edible, you wouldn’t get sick, but it’s not like eating a gingerbread cookie. You don’t want to take these houses apart, so we throw challenges at them midway and will have them make a special treat for the judges, and not only does it have to be delicious and accomplished right now, but it also has to fit into the overall theme of the piece.
Hosting must be such a fun gig, are there any fun memories from filming that stand out to you?
I’m probably throwing myself under the bus here, but as much as I love to entertain and love to cook and be in the kitchen, there are a lot of things that I don’t know. I definitely don’t do a lot of baking, and I really had no clue what modeling chocolate was — I’d never heard of it. So, the contestants were getting ready to do their treat for the judges and one of the contestants was using modeling chocolate and Mary Berg, one of our judges, was talking about how she hoped one of the treats was chocolate because she was in the mood. So I’m going on and on about how Mary must be so happy because this treat is made of chocolate, and they were all looking at me like I was crazy. Eventually, I clue into that fact, and later on Adam Young explains to me that modeling chocolate has the same taste as a bland, stale Tootsie Roll. So yeah, at that moment I was not the brightest light on the tree.
Is there anything that sets ‘Holiday Gingerbread Showdown’ apart from other competition shows?
When you think about a gingerbread competition, everyone thinks it’s just going to be a house — that’s what we all know and love. We do have structures in the competition that are like houses, but there are also structures in this competition that will blow your mind. It’s really incredible. But I also do think part of the reason people will like the show is because it’s the type of comfort television they’ve known to grow and love on Food Network. I like that we really get to know the contestants, it’s not just a one-hour special, it’s a four-night series. So, we find out more about them and their stories are really lovely. You find out why they are competing and in many cases, it’s very heart-warming. This show will fit right into your holiday celebrating. If you want to take a break from your own baking or watch while you’re baking, I think you’ll find it inspiring and really funny. It will also get you in the holiday spirit for sure, and I really mean that. It’s just so inspiring to me.
“Holiday Gingerbread Showdown” premieres Dec. 1 on Food Network