At first, Julianna Jung tried to cover from the cameras, nervous as she tried to bake her apple cinnamon fast bread with cinnamon vanilla caramel.
However as she ran again to her oven from the pantry on the Meals Community set, she crossed in entrance of host Jesse Palmer as he introduced there have been 45 minutes left within the first problem of Season 7 of Vacation Baking Championship.
“Julianna, you simply stole my thunder and ran proper in entrance of the digicam,” the previous NFL quarterback and bachelor on The Bachelor mentioned jokingly as Jung laughed loudly. “Such a digicam hog. All people, Julianna desires to be on TV.”
That’s how America was launched to the Champaign resident.
As she watched from house along with her husband and two canine final Monday, months after the taping, Jung was shocked with how calm and put-together the producers made her look all through the present.
On the within, she was frantic.
For a baker, shifting to a brand new kitchen is like shifting into a brand new house, she mentioned, particularly for a hobbyist like her.
“I used to be so nervous as a result of I don’t know the components that we’ve there, I don’t know the oven, how does it work, what are the precautions we’ve to take so we’re COVID-safe,” she mentioned. “It was loads of stress, as a result of I’m considering of all of those various things whereas I’m baking, attempting to do what I do, being in entrance of the digicam for the primary time with all of those individuals operating round. It was loads of stress. I used to be attempting to maintain myself calm. I don’t know in case you guys noticed it on TV or not, but it surely was difficult.”
The truth that she wound up competing for $25,000 as a contestant on a Meals Community present wouldn’t have been within the realm of chance a couple of years in the past.
Her journey to that time started one lonely night time when she lived in Seattle, throughout a 12 months through which her husband was away taking prerequisite lessons to organize for medical college. As despair started setting in a single night, she determined she wished one thing candy to eat, but it surely was so late that bakeries and occasional retailers had been closed.
So Jung determined to make cupcakes. She not often baked as much as that time, however when Jung pulled them out of the oven, she was impressed with herself.
“I used to be like, ‘Hey, that wasn’t that dangerous,’” she mentioned.
So she baked extra. She realized to make banana breads and muffins and pies. She introduced the treats to work and watched as her coworkers’ faces lit up with the primary chunk. Quickly, she started mixing and matching flavors and including extra sophisticated elements to the desserts. She turned so taken with the passion that she determined to go to culinary college, though she dropped out after a semester. As an alternative, she determined to spend time touring and taking grasp lessons all over the world, the place she realized from distinguished bakers in Europe, Korea and throughout the USA.
In these lessons, she realized the basics of baking and adorning desserts. Not had been her treats merely scrumptious — they had been artworks.
Whereas she didn’t develop up round baking, she did develop up with artists — her mom and sister had been each skilled painters. Her mom, although, gave up on her inventive abilities within the first grade, she mentioned with amusing, however her inventive capacity was sparked when she found baking.
She started an Instagram account on Aug. 21, 2016, with a photograph of lemon cupcakes with buttercream frosting and strawberries on prime.
As her account, @cakedupjourney, progressed, her artistry turned extra ornate and sophisticated. When she moved to Champaign two-and-a-half years in the past, she wished to fill time whereas she made pals and acclimated to her new job. She purchased a glass chiller, an essential software for severe bakers, and dove even deeper into her passion.
Early this 12 months, she obtained a message on Instagram from a Meals Community producer asking if she could be focused on happening Vacation Baking Championship.
“I assumed it was a joke,” mentioned Jung, who nonetheless doesn’t know precisely how the producer found her. “I actually didn’t suppose it was actual.”
Jung was put by means of a sequence of interviews, and after a couple of months of ready because the community found out its COVID-19 protocol, she was invited to California for filming this summer season.
Jung was busy along with her job at Well being Alliance and taking on-line lessons towards a grasp’s diploma in well being administration from George Washington College, however she determined it was a chance she couldn’t move up.
She flew to California, quarantined for 2 weeks, and dove into life as a TV character. A lot of the different contestants are skilled bakers, which put her at an obstacle in some respects, she is aware of. However being a house baker has its perks.
“For those who’re working in a bakery or a restaurant, you must bake the identical issues on a regular basis, whereas I’m a house baker,” mentioned Jung, including that she’s at present focused on Asian flavors like inexperienced tea, matcha, black sesame, soy bean powder, sesame, “I get to bake no matter I would like. So I’ve a little bit little bit of a spread, and possibly that gave me a bonus.”
The present pits 12 bakers in opposition to one another as they make two dishes every present, one a smaller pastry and the opposite a bigger dessert. Contestants are given a sort of dessert to make and particular components they every should use.
On the primary episode, contestants had been instructed to make fast bread within the first spherical of the present, known as the “Pre-heat,” and within the second spherical, known as the “Essential Warmth,” contestants had been informed to select from a collection of winter hats and design a cake that resembled it. After every dish, one contestant was eradicated.
As she stood in entrance of the judges in the course of the first episode, she discovered herself in a totally unfamiliar place. As an alternative of merely appreciating the constructive qualities of her baked good, they had been critically evaluating it.
“I’ve by no means had professionally-trained pastry cooks tasting and judging my stuff,” Jung mentioned. “The judging takes method longer than the one minute they present on TV. There’s loads of silence once they’re first placing it into their mouths they usually’re really attempting to style every little thing that I made. My thoughts is actually going all over the place as a result of they don’t have any expression on their faces and I’ve no clue what to suppose.”
Fortunately, the judges gave her largely constructive critiques, sufficient to maneuver her on to the following present, which airs Monday at 8 p.m. Decide Nancy Fuller mentioned Jung’s apple cinnamon fast bread was one of many “finest bites” she’d taken all day. Whereas her cardamom cake with spiced pear yuzu filling didn’t make for the best-looking winter hat cake, decide Duff Goldman remarked that it was “scrumptious on the within and never cute on the surface.”
Whereas she couldn’t reveal how far she made it, Jung mentioned she turned extra comfy on digicam because the present went alongside. She hopes the present opens up avenues the place she will work half time within the culinary discipline, whether or not that’s on digicam or off. Regardless of how far she makes it, the present was merely the continuation of a ardour that started as a passion.
“It’s not simply meals,” she mentioned. “It’s additionally a type of artwork, the place you may style and see and use your entire senses to essentially categorical.”