Culinary excellence is often a family affair in Des Moines, and one mother-daughter duo is bringing even more attention to Iowa's food scene.
A new television show called 'Bake It Like Buddy' starring New Jersey "Cake Boss" Buddy Valastro, will feature Eileen Gannon of Des Moines and her 10-year-old daughter Helen Hutchison in an episode this Saturday, Sept. 15, on the Discovery Family Channel at 8 p.m.
Gannon, an award-winning home chef and senior vice president at Workiva, and Hutchison will create a three-tiered cake out of homemade candy in four hours. The Des Moines duo's performance is featured in the third episode of the show's first season.
Each week on 'Bake It Like Buddy,' two baking family duos from across the country face off against each other in a good-natured contest at famed Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Teams from across the country — including mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, cousins, sisters, and more — compete in the cake baking battles that stress the family as an important ingredient.
The two teams have only four hours to design, bake, and decorate a cake on the show, all for the chance to win a $1,000 cash prize, professional baking supplies, and bragging rights.
"There's a lot of kindness in the show," said Gannon, 53. "It's not a hardcore competition where people are out to get each other. We loved our competitors. It was really fun."
Throughout the competition, Valastro and his own family help bakers take their skills to the next level by giving tips, feedback and design assistance. Contestants also receive mentorship on flavor, technique, finish and how well they follow a central theme, like unicorns, science-fiction, or Halloween.
The contestants range from professionals to emerging chefs and passionate weekend bakers. The abilities of each are tested as Valastro offers a unique challenge in each episode.
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Gannon said her daughter was her inspiration throughout the competition.
"To do what she did at 10 years old, I'm really proud of her," she said. "She was the youngest competitor, and that's a big deal to do what she did for four solid hours."
Gannon has won more than 600 awards for baking and cooking, especially at the Iowa State Fair. She competed on The Food Network’s “Bakers vs. Fakers” in February 2018 and was that show's first-round winner. She won the national Seattle's Best Red Cup Showdown in 2012.
Gannon has been featured for her cooking skills in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Better Homes & Gardens, and Iowa Public Television, among other outlets.
"Bake It Like Buddy" is aired worldwide and premiered Sept. 8. New half-hour episodes of the series will stream live on Discovery Family GO and will also be available on demand the day after an episode's first run.
'Bake It Like Buddy' is produced by Buddy Valastro and Art Edwards for Discovery Family Channel by Cakehouse Media. Discovery Family is available in more than 55 million U.S. homes and is a joint venture of Discovery Communications and Hasbro.