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Detroit pastry chef competes on Food Network's 'Holiday Baking Championship'

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

If baking competitions are your thing, preheat your ovens for a new season of the Food Network's "Holiday Baking Championship." This year's series, debuting Monday, features Detroit-based baker Jonathan Peregrino. 

He's one of a dozen contestants baking for the chance to win major dough: a $25,000 grand prize and the opportunity to be featured on the Food Network Kitchen app.  

Detroit's Jonathan Peregrino is a contestant on Food Network's new season of "Holiday Baking Championship."

A recent graduate of the Academy of Pastry Arts Philippines, Peregrino got into baking after 15 years in corporate America. Earlier this year he worked as a pastry assistant at Warda Patisserie in Eastern Market, and he recently became the head baker at Tapped Coffee and Craft Beverages in Canton Township. He's also a pastry assistant at the new Milwaukee Junction restaurant Oak and Reel

More than just a reality cooking competition, Peregrino said being on the show helped him grow his baking abilities "by leaps and bounds"

"It's already changed my life and my perspective of things," he said, speaking by phone from his home kitchen, where he was baking a batch of bread rolls for some friends. "Meeting the other contestants was huge."

He said when COVID-19 hit he was new to the profession. His job was put on hold and things were uncertain. Then he was cast on the show. 

"It really ignited the fire within me for baking and pastry," he said. "Being contacted and being seen for my potential to be in a contest like this is huge. I came back after meeting all these folks that were focused and driven and really wanting to make my way through this industry, and was able to find not one but two amazing job opportunities that are really keeping me busy right now." 

Peregrino, who specializes in cookies and cakes, as well as Filipino bread rolls, will appear on the two-hour season premiere Monday. He and the other contestants will be tasked with seasonal dessert challenges like holiday wreath cakes and Hanukkah jelly doughnuts.

"Holiday Baking Championship" is hosted by form NFL quarterback Jesse Palmer and features "Farmhouse Rules" host Nancy Fuller, cake master (and Detroit native) Duff Goldman and chef Carla Hall as judges.

"It's just a lot of fun and it's nice to have a break from everything with the election coming up," Peregrino said, adding that the show has a mix of professional bakers and home cooks, and he falls somewhere in the middle. "It's the holiday time ... and I think versus some of the other competitions, they really try to make it fun. They don't concentrate on the failures on trying to make people look bad it's really about what you can do."

For more information on Peregrino, visit his website at jpmakesandbakes.com.

mbaetens@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @melodybaetens

'Holiday Baking Championship'

2-hour season premiere

9 p.m. Monday

Food Network