'Sweets Talking' With CBS' American Baking Competition Judge Marcela Valladolid & Contestant Carlo Fuda
Role Mommy recently got the chance to chat with Marcela Valladolid and eliminated contestant Carlo Fuda from CBS's new show, The American Baking Competition. Marcela and Carlo talked with several food and parenting bloggers about their experiences with the show, shared their favorite recipes, cooking tips and more. Be sure to watch the second episode of The American Baking Competition tonight on CBS at 8 PM!
Genesis Moments: Out of all the contestants, are there any of them that you see a little bit of yourself in from when you were first getting started?
Marcela: Absolutely! I see myself a little bit in all of them. Carlo, for example, wears the Italian flag on his chest and I'm kind of the same way with my Mexican cooking. Sometimes people want to streamline me and make me more approachable and more acceptable and my response is always, "why would you want me to change what's in my core?" I carry both the American and the Mexican flag with equal amounts of pride but my traditions and my cuisine are deeply rooted in Mexican cooking and I see a lot of that in Carlo. In terms of Effie, she could not talk about her family without getting emotional and so much of her cooking is tied in with those family stories. For me, everything is so tied into my experience of being a daughter of a strong mexican cooking woman and also being the mother of a half mexican half american son and I think Effie is very much like that. Also, Whitney reminded me of how innocent I was at the beginning of my career. I would jump into stuff I wasn't nearly ready for but I was so passionate about what I was doing that I didn't care. I just jumped in with my heart on my sleeve. She stands behind what she believes in but at the same time she's so young and she has such a bright beautiful future ahead of her.
Adventure Yum: Knowing that you like to cook fresh and with a more healthful approach, what did you really think of Francine's chocolate bacon peanut butter pie?
Marcela: It was awesome! I appreciated that just by looking at it, you knew it was going to be a huge explosion of richness and flavor. There was no misleading in that sense. You looked at that thing and it was garnished in like a quarter pound of bacon so you knew what was coming in your mouth. I would have maybe found a way to make it a little more subtle in terms of the presentation; she didn't need as much bacon on the top because there was so much wonderful bacon flavor in there. I love the combination of smoky bacon with rich sweet chocolate, and it's a great combination that's very much in and happening in the culinary world right now. Francine absolutely knows what she's doing.
Rural Mom: What ultimately defines a "showstopper" bake for you? If all the dishes were all fairly on par with each other, would there be one key factor that put it over the top for you?
Marcela: For me, what made the show stopper a showstopper was something that I would want to pay really good money for. Is this something you could see in a pastry shop? Unfortunately for these guys, I studied in Paris so I know what a pastry window is supposed to look like, so for me that was it. Literally looking at something and saying, "I am willing to pay good money because of how it is presented and how it looks absolutely scrumptious and executed to perfection," so from the start it has a lot to do with presentation. And it's the same for the first bite. It just has to be something comparable with the level of pastries at the professional level, things that you'd want to pay for.
Role Mommy: What is the most surprising thing that you have come away with from the show?
Marcela: I'm very professional in terms of my work and I've been a judge on shows before, and I've always been very good at separating myself from the personal stories and the contestants. I never thought at the end of it I'd be so emotionally invested in what these guys were doing. I genuinely hope all of them either publish books or open bakeries. I wish I could award the prize to all of them. I wasn't expecting to fall in love with each and every one of the contestants because each of their personalities are so spectacular.
Carlo: I'm working a lot on my food blog which I started when I was in my corporate setting. I've been to Italy 30 times, I worked in the professional social media capacity, and now after The American Baking Competition, I feel really prepared to take the next steps in this new path with my blog. I have long term aspirations of opening up a cafe where I live in Pennsylvania. I'm also a singer so I want to pursue that dream as well. I've learned that dreams are not impossible, dreams should be followed, and that's exactly what I'm doing now. I'm so excited and happy and the support from my friends and family gives me the confidence and the momentum and the energy to do everything that I want to do.
Simply Southern Baking: You mentioned lavender was your secret ingredient in your Baker back story. What is your favorite recipe to use that in?
Carlo: My personal favorite recipe is one that I actually have on my blog, lemon ricotta cookies. I just adore ricotta, it's just so good. I just love making ricotta cookies because they're light, airy and sweet and I love to make things that are like that. Lemon and lavender is one of those flavor combinations that just go so well together so for the I make lavender icing for the cookies. You have to be careful with it because it can get too "perfume-y", but just the right amount gives you this weird sensation in your mouth where you're like, "Am I eating flowers?" I love that in Northern Italy, where many of my relatives live, you'll find things like rose, violet, and lavender ice cream and that's kind of an inspiration for me and it takes me back. I also love mixing it in cheesecakes.
Watch this sneak peek from tonight's episode!
Don't forget to tune in tonight at 8 PM to catch the latest edition of The American Baking Competition and join us as we tweet live during the show with @ChefMarcela, @Carlofuda, and more. Make sure you follow @BakeonCBS #GetYourBakeOn. Hope to Sweet Tweet you there!