Food Network Challenge

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Food Network Challenge
Food Network Challenge logo.jpg
Presented by Claire Robinson (2010-present)
Keegan Gerhard (2005 - 2010)
Starring Various contestants and
a rotating panel of judges which includes:
Kerry Vincent
Keegan Gerhard
Patrick Coston
Katherine Alford
Mark Bittman
Mark O'Connor
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes n/a (list of episodes)
Running time 1 hour
Original channel Food Network
Original release as specials, 2005
as series, 2006 – present
External links

Food Network Challenge is a competitive cooking television series that currently airs on the Food Network. Each episode, professional chefs compete in a timed competition in their professional specialty. The winner receives a check for $10,000 and a gold medal.


The competitions are judged by specialists in their culinary fields dependent upon the particular 'challenge'. Contestants are given eight hours to complete a task and must adhere to the competition rules, for example, cake competitions often require that a cake reaches a minimum height, exhibits a certain theme, and is able to be moved to a judging table without falling over. At the end of the eight hours, the host says the show's catchphrase: "Competitors, Stop Your Work".

Episodes are shot in front of a live audience, usually at tourist attractions such as the Mall of America or Disney World. Depending on the discipline and scope of the competition, the number of competitors can range from two to hundreds. Occasionally, regional competitions are held to determine who the competitors are to be each week. Some of the events are also held as world championships or as 'invitationals'.

The winner usually receives a check for $10,000 and a gold medal. In competitions featuring five or more competitors, silver and bronze medals are also sometimes awarded, though they have no cash prize. In 2009, the show debuted its first elimination-style competition called "Last Cake Standing".[1] In this format, six cake designers competed for a prize of $50,000

In April 2010, original host Keegan Gerhard was promoted to judge alongside Kerry Vincent and Nicholas Lodge, and was replaced as host by Claire Robinson.[2] The way in which the results were read also changed for most of, but not all of the shows; where previously only the winner was announced, the newer format's results began with announcing the third- and fourth-place finishers who were then asked to leave the stage before the victor was revealed.


The competitions presented on the program cover a wide range of areas, from cake decorating to ice sculpting to Teppanyaki to macaroni and cheese, with cakes being the most frequently covered area.

Last Cake Standing[edit]

In April 2009, a special version of "Challenge" was launched called Last Cake Standing. This series began with six competitors, with an elimination at the end of each episode until only three competitors remained. The challenges in this series were often harder and longer and with more twists than those in the 'normal' series. The finale was the longest in challenge history, giving the last three remaining competitors, Courtney Clark, Mary Maher, and Bronwen Weber, 24 hours to design and create their cake for a set of sextuplets. Ultimately, Mary Maher was crowned champion, winning a $50,000 grand prize.

In April 2011, Food Network launched a second series of Last Cake Standing, in a separate "spin-off" format with eight competitors and a $100,000 grand prize.[3]

Notable competitors[edit]

  • Mary Maher (winner of Last Cakes Standing 2009)
  • Courtney Clark (runner-up of Last Cakes Standing 2009, winner of 2 other challenge episodes)
  • Mike McCarey (Mike's Amazing Cakes)
  • Duff Goldman (of Ace of Cakes)
  • Lori Hutchinson of The Caketress
  • Buddy Valastro (of Cake Boss) - won the "Battle of the Brides" challenge in Season 7
  • Anna Ellison (of Ace of Cakes)
  • Alex Guarnaschelli, frequent Chopped judge
  • Vinny and Michelle Garcia
  • Bronwen Weber - competed in 22 challenges. As of June 13, 2011 she has the most wins of any competitor in the show with a total of 6 wins.
  • Collette Peters
  • Richard Ruskell - won his fifth Challenge with Ultimate Cookie Clash. He was also the winner of Last Cake Standing (2011).
  • Norman Davis
  • Jason Ellis - won the mystery Challenge with a cake for Kerry Vincent's birthday.
  • Joshua John Russell - (Best friends with Jason Ellis since college)
  • Ashlee Perkins
  • Lauren Kitchens
  • Marina Sousa
  • James Roselle won his first four appearances on Challenge
  • Marc Murphy, frequent Chopped judge

Orlando Serrano and Miguel Garcia won 5 challenges and created the world's first animatronic talking cake with Extreme Urban Legends Challenge.

Episode guide[edit]


External links[edit]