BELMAR, NJ — Anthony Fontanez is not one to give up. After two unsuccessful tries, the 12-year-old Belmar youngster will compete in the new season of Food Network’s “Kids Baking Championship.”

The St. Rose Grammar School seventh-grader is among 12 young bakers from across the country chosen for the competition show, which premieres at 9 p.m. on Monday, January 6.

“After his third time trying out with 100,000 other kids, he’s finally made it through,” said his mother, Michelle Fontanez. “He loves baking and bakes every single day.”

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In fact, it was the show that first triggered Anthony’s interest in baking. “When I was 8 years old, I started watching ‘Kids Baking Championship’ and liked it,” he said. “I started looking up recipes and started testing them, and getting better at it.”

At age 9, Anthony took his first shot at a tryout — only having to make two more attempts before he rose to the top of the crowded field of 10- through 13-year-olds and earned his spot as a contestant this time around.

For a month this past summer, he joined the other 11 contenders in Los Angeles to film the eighth season of the 10-week competition. And while Anthony cannot divulge its outcome, he said he learned about time management in preparing and presenting the sweet results of the baking challenge at hand. “What I liked best was meeting all the other people and the production team,” he said.

On Monday’s premiere, Anthony and the others will test their cake decorating abilities by creating shag texture cakes, circa the “groovy ’70s”. But first they must select a cake flavor that they must bake from scratch before they can begin designing and decorating. The baker who crumbles under the pressure will be eliminated.

The contestant who remains standing after 10 elimination rounds of baking challenges will be named Kids Baking Champion, earning $25,000 and a feature in Food Network Magazine.

Whatever the results, Anthony has his sights set on a career in the culinary arts. “He wants to attend culinary school in France,” said Michelle.

Ironically, Anthony said his favorite confection to make are French macarons —a delicate meringue-based treat that is considered difficult to bake. But that doesn’t deter Anthony …he likes the challenge.

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