Natchez baker wins round 1 competition Monday; moves on to Episode 3 of Spring Baking Championship next week

Published 9:41 pm Monday, March 13, 2023

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NATCHEZ — Natchez’s own Pastry Chef, Molly Manning Robertson, aced the first round of Monday night’s Spring Baking Championship competition but stumbled a bit in the elimination heat.

Nonetheless, she lives to fight another day and moves on to episode 3 on March 20 of the Food Network’s hit series in its ninth season.

The theme of Wednesday’s competition was passion and heat. In the warm-up round, Robertson was tasked with incorporating an aphrodisiac into her Bento-sized cakes. It was a hit with the judges; one — Nancy Fuller of Farmhouse Rules — told her she could “bake me Bento cakes anytime.”

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In winning the first round, Robertson had an advantage going into the second round and was able to choose the chili pepper she wanted to incorporate into her elimination round dessert.

Robertson chose the Habanero pepper because she said she was most familiar with it.

Despite the advantage, Robertson’s second dessert came in middle of the pack. The judges’ main complaint about the confection centered on its Swiss meringue, which they said didn’t quite stand up to the competition. Swiss meringues are particularly finicky. However, they are typically Robertson’s specialty. She knew something was off during the preparation and actually made it twice, to no avail.

All of the bakers suffered some kind of baking or decorating setback during the elimination round Monday. It was Victoria Casinelli of Shelton, Connecticut, who was eliminated from the competition at the end of the show.

The playing field goes back to even next Monday, when the 10 remaining competitors — Robertson among them — will do it all again in their attempt to win the $25,000 grand prize.