A Food Network Champion

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Season 2 Holiday Baking Championship. Winner.

It's been just over a week and I'm still pinching myself - I won the second season of the Food Network Holiday Baking Championship. How cool is that? And what an amazing experience.

As I look back over the 8-week competition so many things come to mind. Good things, not so good things, crazy things, and of course those WTH moments. For me, the highlights came in many different forms throughout the competition, and they weren't always topped off by a win or nod from the judges.

Trouble with Trifle, remember that one? I learned a lot from that challenge. I make a damn good rhubarb trifle but that day, man-o-man, I got caught-up in making the display look good and time got the best of me. It negatively impacted my overall presentation. It looked like hell. Thank the Lord it tasted good!

Croquembouche for the win! It took 6 episodes before I finally won a challenge and it was definitely a difficult challenge. I started to feel like a win would never come and began to worry about being sent home. This was a tipping point for me in the competition. It established me as a real contender.

The Bakewell Tart and decorative pear was double-doozie. The pear was a hit with everyone and I was so proud with how it turned out! And then there was the layer of, ehem, "goo" that Chef Duff just couldn't get past. #RedFlagMoment: After poaching pears, let them drain in a sieve for an hour so your tart does not turn to "goo".

The best part of the competition was making some incredible life-long friendships. It would have been fun to have all my new friends compete in the final, but I must say that Steve and Adalberto were extra fierce that day, which made it all the more fun. When one of us wins, we all win and I wish them and all the bakers great success.

Finally, I have to thank my family and Sugar and Scribe team for all their love and support. Had it not been for them, none of this would have been possible.

Be Sweet. Be Tempted. ~Chef Maeve

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