A lifelong love of baking led to a spot on primetime television for Jessica Colvin.
The Southlake housewife competed for a $25,000 prize on Food Network’s fifth season of Spring Baking Championship.
“I had no intention of ever doing anything like this,” said Colvin in a February interview.
When interested producers called last fall, she was shocked. Her best friend had secretly submitted an application to the show on her behalf. After months of interviews, Food Network selected the 28-year-old Colvin for a spot on the show, a sweet gig for a woman who has always found her home in the kitchen.
The show puts 10 of the best bakers from across the country through rounds of competition. This season has a spring theme, pushing bakers to make the best rhubarb pie, an Easter-themed marshmallow round, and spring-animal themed donuts, among other challenges. Acclaimed chef Nancy Fuller, pastry chef Duff Goldman, and model-turned-TV-chef Lorraine Pascale judge the offerings to determine who makes it to the next round. Last season, 7.5 million viewers tuned in to the show.
For Colvin, the only Texas baker this season, the prize represented a chance to open a bakery with a storefront. A self-taught home baker and mother of two, she found herself competing against pastry chefs, bakery owners, and food industry veterans.
“It was an honor but extremely intimidating to be the only one who wasn’t professionally trained,” she said. “It was definitely out of my comfort zone.”
But she has always used the kitchen to ground herself, she said. One of her earliest memories takes place there. She recalled that as a toddler she often helped her grandmother and mother make their family’s homemade noodles, a Thanksgiving tradition. As she grew older, she helped her grandmother and mother assemble cakes and pies during holidays.
“We’re from the South, so that’s how you show people you love them,” she said. “You make them something.”
When the kids were asleep, she would scour the internet for tutorials on cake decorating methods and the nerve-racking art of wedding cake assembly to hone her craft. What began as an occasional gig morphed into a career as her beautiful designs garnered a local following. A yearlong stint as a pastry chef at the Facebook data center in Fort Worth gave her experience in an industrial kitchen, she said. She left the job to pursue baking full time.
While Colvin can create precisely designed treats, she favors a more natural look for her creations.
“For me, baking is my art, and you get to eat it when you’re done,” she said.
Colvin eschews the perfection and control of fondant in favor of a “modern and artistic style” informed in part by her time pursuing an art degree.
“To freeform a cake and not worry about the mistakes makes it even prettier at the end, when it’s a finished piece,” she said.
She particularly enjoys watercolor cakes with smoothly frosted sides painted brilliant colors. When not baking, Colvin takes her kids — 8-year-old Ellie and 4-year-old Miles — on food adventures.
“I’ll drive a long while for a good croissant,” she said.
To see how Jessica Colvin fares, tune into the season premiere March 18 on Food Network.