Arts & Entertainment

Livingston Teen to Compete on Kids Baking Championship

d56c15aac719e648d139_Screen_Shot_2017-12-27_at_3.17.07_PM.jpg
Livingston's Soleil Thomas, 12, to compete on Season 4 of Kids Baking Championship Credits: Food Network
855648d655747bed3347_Soleil_Thomas.jpg
Livingston's Soleil Thomas, 12, to compete on Season 4 of Kids Baking Championship Credits: Food Network
d56c15aac719e648d139_Screen_Shot_2017-12-27_at_3.17.07_PM.jpg

NEW YORK, NY — After a nationwide search for contenders for Season 4 of Food Network’s “Kids Baking Championship,” Livingston seventh grader Soleil Thomas, 12, was selected to compete for $25,000, a feature in Food Network Magazine and the title of Kids Baking Champion. She will be one of eight kids and teens to put their baking skills to the test when the new season airs on Jan. 1 at 9 p.m. and culminates on Monday, March 5.

Guided by hosts Duff Goldman and Valerie Bertinelli, the young bakers compete in challenges designed to find the most impressive and creative baker over the course of ten episodes. Soleil, who started baking at a very young age and has been baking on her own for nearly two years ago, said that when she applied for the competition online, she could not believe she might “actually be on the Food Network.”

“I've always loved Kids Baking Championship, and it's always been my dream to be on the show, but I never thought I actually ever would be,” she said. “My mom picked me up from dance class and played the message from the producers and me and my sister started screaming. I still don't know how I'm going to react when I see myself on TV. I saw some of the commercials on Food Network already and I’m so excited.”

Sign Up for E-News

Soleil added that she has big plans for watching the competition. For her viewing party on New Year’s Day, she is excited to introduce a special cotton candy drink she created called “Soleil’s Sparkling Sugar Rush” to go along with dessert.

“For the first episode, I'm having a premier party with all of my friends and family,” she said. “There are going to be about 130 people there.”

When the competition began, Soleil said she was most looking forward to meeting the other contestants. As a longtime fan of the show, Soleil said she has favorites from previous seasons and couldn’t wait to meet her competition.

“Being around other bakers my age was so cool because we got to talk about all of the things that we love to do,” she said. “I made so many friends, and I text them almost every day.”

Soleil’s fellow “Kids Baking Championship” contestants include: Gareth Bennett, 10, of Gaithersburg, MD; Julia Betz, 12, of Key Biscayne, FL; Alex Czajka, 12, of Edmonton, AB; Beverly Hepler, 10, Foster City, CA; Grady Holloway, 11, Chesterfield, MO; Luke Jonsson, 13, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA; Linsey Lam, 13, of Closter, NJ; Abby Martin, 13, of Franklin, WI; Bryn Montgomery, 11, of South Hill, VA; Aditya Pillutla, 12, of Cary, NC; and Michael Platt, 11, of Bowie, MD.

“Bryn, Abby and Julia are some of my new best friends,” said Soleil. “And the coolest thing is that Linsey and I live in the same state, and we are great friends too. But all of the kid bakers were so nice—our experience was so crazy and sort of one-of-a-kind, so I know we will be friends forever.”

Soleil added that some of the biggest surprises walking into the competition included the size of the kitchen and getting used to the professional kitchen equipment.

Since the competition, she also said Goldman and Bertinelli have become her biggest inspirations.

“Not only are they the nicest judges you could ever have, they are both amazing bakers and chefs and I look up to them so much,” she said. “Meeting them was so amazing, and having them get to judge my baking skills was the opportunity of a lifetime.”

After years of baking with her mother and my grandmother, Soleil was inspired to challenge herself and start baking more complex desserts. She said her favorite thing about baking is experimenting with different flavors and making “so many different things that taste amazing.”

In addition to baking—often alongside her younger sister, Ava—the seventh grader also enjoys competitive dancing and entering pageants.

"The return of family-favorite Kids Baking Championship is the perfect sweet note to start the New Year with creative confections and delicious desserts from extraordinary young bakers showing off their remarkable talents that will awe and inspire audiences," said Courtney White, senior vice president of programming, Scripps Networks Interactive.

Throughout the new season, the contestants will tackle new confectionary challenges that include sweet dessert pizzas using traditional savory pizza toppings, “out-of-this-world” desserts with freeze-dried astronaut approved ingredients, and a new twist on the popular imposter dessert challenge featuring lunchbox favorites. On the premiere on Jan. 1, the bakers must conquer cookie cakes, but a curveball has one competitor melting under the pressure.

Fans can join the baking banter on Twitter using #BakingChampionship and relive the season’s greatest moments with video and photo highlights HERE. Fans can also go behind the scenes with Goldman and Bertinelli to discover more baking tips.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Livingston

Essex, Passaic, Morris, and Sussex County Democrats Endorse NJ 11th Congressional District Candidate

January 22, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ — The Democratic county chairs of Essex, Passaic, Morris, and Sussex counties have announced their support for Montclair resident Mikie Sherrill in the Democratic primary for New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District.

“Mikie has shown through her hard work and determination that she has what it takes to lead the 11th ...

Resolve: To Become a Better Student…

Academic New Year's Resolutions

Making resolutions is a new year's tradition that helps people change an aspect they don't like about themselves, or that helps them accomplish a goal. If your goal this year is to become a better student, here are a few new year's resolutions that can help you achieve that.

Stay as Organized as Possible

Organization is very important when ...

Upcoming Events

Mon, January 22, 1:30 PM

LIVINGSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY, Livingston

Monday Movie: ITHACA

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_64c952d30a260481c08d_2018_akiko_noguchi

Mon, January 22, 7:30 PM

Livingston Senior/Community Center, Livingston

Livingston Historical Society to Host ...

Tue, January 23, 11:45 AM

Livingston Community Center, Livingston

LACC's Lunch and Learn with award winning guest ...

Business & Finance

Skip the Joiner Fee, Join the YMCA Today

January 22, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — The West Essex YMCA is waiving the joiner fee to anyone who signs up by Jan. 31. Financial assistance is available.

By joining the YMCA in Livingston, members are committing to more than becoming healthier—they are supporting the values and programs that strengthen their community. At the Y, children learn what they can achieve, families spend quality time ...

Follow the Money

In 2013 a man in the UK cleaned out his junk drawer and absently tossed an old hard drive dismantled from a Dell Computer into the trash.  The hard drive, rusting in landfill somewhere in Wales, contains 7500 bitcoins. 

  

At the time, his staggering loss was about $4 million.  But if he had wisely invested his failing hard drive in a bank safe deposit box his ...