For local baker, it’s bright lights, big kitchen

Poole appears on Food Network’s baking championship

  • Contestant William Poole prepares an all spice cake. Emile Wamsteker—Courtesy photo

Monday, March 28, 2016 4:0PM

Ready, set, bake!

William Poole of New Ipswich is no stranger to the kitchen.

Originally trained as a pastry chef, Poole has mainly made his living as a sweet-maker, and now makes his living with Porter Hill Sweets through his mainly-online sale of his hand-made chocolates, toffees and caramels. But he’s never quite had an experience like the Spring Baking Championship on Food Network.

“Each challenge is ridiculous and its fun, and you never know when the host – Bobby Deen – may throw in an element that throws everyone out of whack, and it's hilarious,” said Poole in an interview Thursday. 

The Spring Baking Championship is in its second season, and the concept is simple: Eight bakers enter. One baker leaves. With a $50,000 grand prize, and the title of Spring Baking Champion, of course. The contestants first compete in a “pre-heat” challenge.

The winner of the challenge gets an advantage in the “main-heat” competition. And at the end of the day, the challengers have to face the three judges – Nancy Fuller, Duff Goldman and Lorraine Pascale – and the possibility of being sent home.

“You’re competing for that $50,000, which is like winning the baking lottery,” said Poole. 

Food Network contacted Poole after finding his resume on a site that allows bakers to Facetime with professional chefs to get answers to baking questions. Poole went through an audition process, and in July, was flown out to Los Angeles for filming.

“There is so much going on during the competition,” said Poole.

“The grand prize could build me a new kitchen, and really outfit me with everything I’m trying to do right now with my confectionary, and you’re faced with that every day. And then they throw these challenges at you, and you have 45 cameras and three judges watching everything that you do. You have to take that into the kitchen with you. You have to be ready for whatever comes your way and give it your best.” The show premiers on April 10 on Food Network at 9 p.m.