Kids Baking Championship Season 8 Contestants: Meet the Cast

Food Network

Season 8 of the Food Network’s Kids Baking Championship premiered Monday, January 6, 2020. Kids Baking Championship involves 12 children competing to make the best dish; they’re judged on presentation, taste, and creativity.

The contestants on the show are competing for $25,000. The show will be hosted by long-time judges Valerie Bertinelli and Duff Goldman and will last for 10 weeks of challenges. Each week, at least one baker will be eliminated.

Duff Goldman started cooking when he was just 4 years old when his mom caught him swinging around a cleaver while watching cooking shows on TV. Valerie Bertinelli is an award-winning actress, spokeswoman, and New York Times best-selling author. She also hosts an on-demand cooking class on the Food Network app.

Tonight’s episode involves asking the 12 young competitors to channel the 1970s and make shag cakes; each baker will make a cake in their chosen flavor and then decorate it to create a shag texture.

Meet the Contestants

There are six 11-year-old contestants competing in season 8. The first is violin player Elise Sammis from Chapin, South Carolina. Morgan Chaffin is a guitar enthusiast from Glen Burnie, Maryland. Sahana Gade is from Sugar Land, Texas. Joining them from West Hartford, Connecticut is Sam Occhiogrosso. Last of the 11-year-olds are a dancer named Naima Winston from Baltimore, and Phoebe Gore from New York City.

There are five total 12-year-old contestants this season. Liam Bizjack and Saleem Sandhu are both from California. Reggie Strom comes from Bend, Oregon. Anthony Fontanez is old and is from Belmar, New Jersey. He’s a junior lifeguard back home. Gingee Says owner Avner Schwarz is from Haverford, Pennsylvania.

There is only one 13-year-old contestant this year. Graysen Pinder is from Wilmington, North Carolina. She is the owner of Gimme Some Shugga. Graysen may have an advantage since she’s older than the other contestants; over the past seven seasons, five of the winners have been 13 years old; however, one 11 year old and one twelve year old have won in the past.

What to Expect This Season

The season will kick off with 12 contestants and have one elimination per episode; expect it to have a finale at some point in March. Two episodes will air tonight, January 13. The first, titled “Beyond the Fridge” will challenge kids to make cakes based on shag carpet from the 1970s. The second episode of the season, titled “1, 2, 3 Delicious!” will feature 11 bakers creating Neapolitan desserts featuring chocolate, strawberry and vanilla.

The third episode of the season, airing January 20 at 9 p.m. ET is titled “Sammy Whammy.” In this episode, they will challenge the kids to make desserts that look like sandwiches. In the fourth episode, airing January 27 at 9 p.m., nine young bakers will be challenged to make llama cupcakes; this episode will feature a real live llama. Expect wackier challenges as the season continues.

There are images of some of the completed cakes on Food Network’s website for the Shag Cakes challenge. Also on the website are tips for child bakers, recipes and full-length episodes.

Tune in to Kids Baking Championship Monday nights on Food Network at 9 p.m. ET to see which talented young baker will take home the title and $25,000.

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