Salt Lake City pastry chef competes for ‘Best Baker in America’ title

Food Network

SALT LAKE CITY — Chef Adalberto Diaz Labrada, owner of Salt Lake City pastry shop Fillings and Emulsions, will compete on a new TV series titled “Best Baker in America.”

The first episode of the new show will premiere Sept. 27 at 11 p.m. MST on the Food Network.

Diaz said he was very excited when he found out he was selected to compete on the series.

“Two years ago, I did the ‘Holiday Baking Championship,’ and that was a great experience. I got to meet a bunch of awesome bakers that I’m still very good friends with from all over the country, and this was another opportunity to meet other great bakers,” Diaz said. “That’s exactly what happened, and it’s great.”

The series will contain six episodes in which seasoned bakers demonstrate their skills making cake, meringue, pastry, café classics, modern classics and chocolate dishes. Each episode contains two rounds: a skills challenge testing technical baking ability and a master challenge testing flavor and authenticity in classic bakes.

Judges Jason Smith, winner of TV shows “Food Network Star” and “Holiday Baking Championship,” and Marcela Valladolid, co-host of Food Network’s “The Kitchen,” will determine at the end of the series which of the eight bakers competing will win $25,000 and earn the title of “Best Baker in America.”

The best part about competing on a TV show like this is the challenge of coming up with things on the spot and solving problems as they happen, according to Diaz. He said not being able to go through the planning process he normally would in his own kitchen pushes him do the best he can in a very short amount of time.

“I think that you have to push yourself to the limits — the lack of preparation and time that you have to deal with, there’s the new environment, a new kitchen, products and ingredients you aren’t familiar with or you don’t use on a regular basis, surprises, and of course the attention of being watched at all times in the process,” Diaz said. “It’s a big challenge for sure.”

The Salt Lake City pastry chef said it feels great to represent Utah as the only baker from the state on the show.

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“I try to … bring some of the things that I’ve learned and the things that my customers in Utah like,” Diaz said. “I thought it was a good opportunity to showcase my abilities as a pastry chef and as a baker, and also an opportunity to show the world the kind of things that we do here in Salt Lake.”

Diaz said he hopes people tune in to “Best Baker in America” to see the chefs go head to head in the competition, “putting everything on the plate” as they show their skills.

“I think it’s going to be a great show,” Diaz said. “It’s going to be fun to watch, and I’m super excited.”

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