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Barrie pastry chef heats up the kitchen on Food Network show

'It’s easy to get wrapped up in creating a career that it’s easy to forget about having some fun, too,' says Stephanie Tucci, who's a contestant on Summer Baking Championship
Stephanie Tucci, owner of By Chefanie in Barrie, recently competed in the second season of Summer Baking Championship on the Food Network.

A Barrie businessowner has been baking up a storm as a contestant on The Food Network’s reality competition show Summer Baking Championship.

Stephanie Tucci, owner of By Chefanie, was selected as one of 10 bakers competing for the title of Summer Baking Champion and the grand prize of $25,000.

Although she’s been running her business successfully for about a decade, the 36-year-old says she never really expected to take her skills international.

Tucci says she was shocked when she got a message via Instagram from someone connected to the second season of the show.

“I thought it was fake, so I didn’t answer right away,” she told BarrieToday

After realizing the message was legitimate, Tucci started communicating with producers and began the interview process.

The news she was selected as a cast member for the show, which was filmed in Los Angeles in February, Tucci admits is a bit of a blur.

“I was just taking it in … and then when I read the email, I completely lost my mind," she said. “It’s easy to get wrapped up in creating a career that it’s easy to forget about having some fun, too."

So when the opportunity came up to be on the show, Tucci said she knew she couldn’t pass it up. 

In 2009, she says she was thinking about going to culinary school.

"I didn’t do it until 2013, but was obsessed with The Food Network and always dreaming about the ‘what if’ one day I was on The Food Network … and now it’s happening? At that point, I thought whatever happens, if I go home first or I make it to the end, at least I could say I did it.

"It felt very full circle to me.”

Filming the show was, overall, a positive experience, says Tucci, adding as soon as she and her fellow cast members met, it quickly began to feel like “one big happy family” despite the fact they were all competing for the win.

“The energy was incredible. The enthusiasm in everybody was amazing and what I also loved about this group is that as much as it was a competition, we were also rooting for each other,” she said. “At the end of the day, we’re all professionals and it is hard to make errors on TV. We all wanted to help each other.”

The challenges contestants faced were tricky, said Tucci, as they were given items that they would not be making on a regular basis.

“You could see that they curated these challenges to … really force us to think outside the box, get uncomfortable and really push ourselves,” she said. “Someone like me, who is always itching to grow and learn new things, as hard as it was in those moments, I am grateful for those opportunities.”

Everyone in the show hit a bump or two at some point, Tucci included, but she says she’s proud of what she accomplished on the show.

“I was able to own what I was good at and what I wasn’t good at," she said "I feel like it pushed me outside of my norm.

"A big thing I am known for is developing really unique flavour profiles," Tucci added. "I am not someone you come to for a basic vanilla cake. I am someone you come to for a really cool flavour experience (and) I feel I was really able to share that there."

Tucci has survived the cut so far and can be seen next week in episode three.

Summer Baking Championship Season 2 airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on Food Network Canada and streams live and on demand on STACKTV.