Last night, I watched the season premiere of the Great American Baking Show--surrounded by more than 30 of my closest friends. Friends new and old--from Baton Rouge High to USC to NYC--crowded into a private room at Jay-Zs 40/40 Club. I baked my Lemon Chiffon Cake with Cranberry filling and Cream Cheese Frosting, the naked cake that was featured on the cake episode, and we cheered and laughed as I tried my best to soak up the moment. It was surreal to see the hard work, long days, and exhausting nights condensed into two one-hour episodes. Editing is something between magic and some form of the dark arts. However, I can assure you the essence of the real moments were perfectly captured.
I admit I was a little nervous to see how I would come across on camera. But what surprised me the most was the sheer artistry captured in some of the shots. Given my penchant for photography, it shouldn't have been that surprising, but I felt extremely blessed to have the process of my baking be captured by some of the best in the business. Wow. They made us look great, and made what we baked look great as well!
This isn't a recap of the first episode (that's to come!), so don't worry--no spoilers here! This is a toast to all of you who tuned in, streamed and DVR'd. To the security guard at my building who enthusiastically greeted me with a "hey, I thought that was you!" as I hobbled in to work in a post-party stupor. To my colleagues who stood and cheered when I walked in the room, greeting me with hugs, beaming smiles, kind words and photo requests. To my Baton Rouge family who graciously cheered me on with #GeauxVallery and a lovely feature in The Advocate. To my friends who arrived early and stayed late to make sure I could enjoy each on-screen moment. To my fellow baker-contestants, who taught me so much about myself. To new friends on Twitter who are cheering #TeamVallery.
So, if you haven't yet had a chance to watch, don't worry--you have all weekend to stream or on-demand the two-hour premiere. Cozy up with some eggnog, friends and family and enjoy this holiday treat.
2 cups eggnog
3 ounces Manzanilla Sherry
Combine eggnog and sherry. Stir. Pour into glasses. Top with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon and nutmeg, if desired. Tune into the Great American Baking Show as you sip this glass of holiday cheer.