Kids Baking Challenge – Casting Guide

Kid's Baking Challenge Logo
  • Contestants: Eight per Season
  • Top Prize: $10,000+
  • Selectivity: 2 Star
This is a season long elimination style reality show that appears on Food Network. The show is hosted by Valerie Bertenelli and Duff, and 2015 is the first season of the show. The format of this show is almost identical to the Holiday Baking Challenge down to the set. Unlike Rachel vs Guys Kid’s Cookoff, this show eliminates the lowest performing contestant each week.

In addition to getting the $10,000, the person who wins will also receive some new cookware as well as being written about in Food Network Magazine. Even for the contestants who don’t win, the show can provide a great level of exposure which can really help the kids as they apply for college admissions. The kid who wins write about how they learned to really push themselves and execute through the pressure. The kids who lose can use it as motivation to grab life by the reigns living life to its fullest.

Kid’s Baking Challenge Overview & Strategy

Each week the “kidtestants” are asked to create 1-3 dishes. There is a twist in each episode which involves either creating an extra dish or using a couple of surprise ingredients halfway through the challenge. The food is judged on the following criteria:
  • Taste: What are the flavors of the dessert? Is there a proper amount of sweet? acid? Is it burned or under cooked? The execution of the dish and cooking techniques really come in to play here.
  • Presentation: What does the dish look like? Is it cleanly plated in a professional manner? Are all the dishes identical? Is the food on the appropriate type of serving vessel?
  • Creativity: This is the more gray area of the challenge. The judges are looking for unique creations rather than the most obvious use of the ingredients. For example, creating peanut butter cookies from peanut butter may not be the best use of creativity. A better use would be cereal treats, or a peanut butter icing for a cake.

The three criteria are combined together for a single score. The person with the best score wins for the week while the person with the lowest leaves the show. The judges don’t use a specifically stated numeric scale meaning that there’s an opportunity for a bid of wiggle room in the judges decision. Additionally, the description of the dish is incredibly important as describing an item can either set expectations perfectly to mask a mistake in the best case or highlight a complete mistake when someone describes the food in a matter that simply doesn’t deliver during the judges tasting. Now that we’ve given an overview of the show, we’re going to share a few specific tips and tactics to help with your chances on the show:
  1. Follow Recipes – The challenge may be to create six cupcakes, but a full recipe will make either 12 or 24. You are going to be far better off creating the complete dozen rather than trying to divide on the fly. Making a mistake on one ingredient will throw off the chemistry for the entire dessert so it’s best to pull that out of the equation.
  3. Make Extra – Using our example above, if you need to make six cupcake, then having batter for a dozen is fantastic. You can put the first six in the oven and then wait about 10 minutes to put the other six in the oven. The reason is that if the first batch somehow burns, you will know to be more careful on the next. All ovens cook differently, and the first batch will allow you to estimate how long to cook the second batch. Additionally, you can use your results of the first batch to vary your strategy for the second. If your first batch is something you can serve, then you can cook the second longer trying to hit a home run; however, if the first batch is burned you can pull the second earlier to to play it safe.
  5. Grab Plates Early – As soon as all your items are in the oven, you should get the plates you plan to serve on and move them to your station. This will ensure you get the plates you most want to use, but also save you time at the end when you will be rushed. So many times people forget to put something on the plate or waste their last minute grabbing the serving vessels when they could be finishing off the plate to maximize the presentation score.
  7. “Small and Thin for the Win” – This is a mantra that you should be repeating as your deciding what items to cook on the show. All the challenges are timed which creates a pretty serious crunch. The larger dishes like cakes, pies and brownies can take 30+ minutes to bake. This means that if something goes wrong in the oven, it’s very difficult to be able to salvage the dish. Instead if you create dishes that take 10-20 minutes to cook such as small tarts, cookies or cupcakes, you will have more opportunities should any issues arise.
  9. Finish by Halftime – The clock is one of the biggest obstacles on the show, and the contestants frequently overestimate how much can be complete. This is because the kitchen and equipment is different than the ones they learned to use at their house as well as needing to find all the ingredients. Anytime someone cooks in a new kitchen, the prep times will increase, and this is even more true for kids who have likely cooked in a fewer number of kitchens than the older and more experienced chefs that appear on other Food Network Shows.
  11. Learn Easy Recipes for Kids – One of the key challenges about appearing on the show is that the contestants are asked to make a variety of desserts under serious time constraints. When preparing for the show, you should research some children’s recipes and practice them at home a couple time. Additionally, bring the ones you plan to use in a notebook. The contest isn’t something that needs to have world class recipes. Instead focus on recipes that have 6 or less ingredients which don’t require a lot of technique. The mistakes in preparation are what eliminates the contestants

Kids Baking Challenge Casting Process

The casting and filming for season 1 is now complete. We have all the details from that casting round below as it will help you provide for the likely information you will want to be preparing for season 2. This show casts in the spring and films in the summer. We expect the details to be published in March 2015 with applications being accepted in April and May.

Applicant Restrictions:

The show is open to people who live in the US between the ages of 8 & 13. The application must also be submitted only by a parent, and the contestants must be available for the shooting schedule that is likely to be summer 2015.

Kid's Baking Challenge Casting Flyer

Finally, if you applied to be on this show, we’d love to hear your story whether or not you were selected to appear on air. Feel free to click the link below to share your story with us and our┬áreaders.