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British TV chef and author Lorraine Pascale returns to judge Food Network’s Halloween competition

Colette Greenstein
Colette Greenstein has been a contributing arts & entertainment writer for the Banner since 2009. VIEW BIO
British TV chef and author Lorraine Pascale returns to judge Food Network’s Halloween competition
Chef Lorraine Pascale Photo: courtesy of Food Network

In September, British chef and cookbook author Lorraine Pascale returned to the fourth season of the Food Network’s “Halloween Baking Championship,” which airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

The chef, who trained at London’s Leith’s School of Food and Wine, began baking in her early 30s when she was switching careers from modeling to the culinary world. For her, it was about “the magic that happens in the oven. And the sharing of the food once it is baked. There is nothing like it to bring a family together,” she said via email.

The former runway model became a household name in the U.K. after the popularity of her BBC cooking series “Baking Made Easy,” “Home Cooking Made Easy” and “Fast, Fresh and Easy.” In addition, she authored several cookbooks that tied in with the television series, as well as the book “Eating Well Made Easy,” which focused on healthy and delicious recipes.

Currently, Pascale serves as one of three judges alongside Carla Hall and Zac Young on “Halloween Baking Championship.” Hosted by comedian John Henson, the judges test the skills of eight talented bakers with “bone-chilling challenges” over six episodes. The bakers are vying for a grand prize of $25,000 and a chance to be featured in Food Network Magazine.

Pascale, who joined the series in its third season, answered questions via email about what viewers can expect for season 4, what skillsets she looks for in a baker, and what’s on the horizon for her.

You’ve had a couple of TV series in the U.K. What made you decide to do American television, and specifically the “Halloween Baking Championship” show?

Lorraine Pascale: I have done several shows in the U.K. which I really enjoyed doing. Then the opportunity came up for me to do the baking championships and I jumped at the chance. I love the different designs that people come up with for the cakes, and just like the U.K., I love to film in the U.S.

What can viewers expect this season?

LP: We have some incredible bakers as usual. But this season it feels like they are one step better than before. They are also amazing characters each with an interesting story to tell. The bakers are amazing, prepare to be scared!

As a chef and baker yourself, are there any specific skills or criteria you’re looking for when judging the contestants?

LP: It depends on the challenge, but we look for taste, texture, skill level, colour and so many things like that. And we need to make sure that they have actually achieved the challenge.

Have you picked up any tips or techniques from the bakers that you’ve incorporated into your own cooking style?

LP: I love the American style of fall baking. Lots of cinnamon and warm flavours like pumpkin spice. In the U.K. we do use these flavours but in the U.S. the flavours tend to be richer. We use cinnamon much more sparingly over in the U.K.

What’s next for you?

LP: Carry on doing what I am doing — baking shows and cooking shows. I am a big advocate of mental wellbeing and being a catalyst for change.