Next Great Baker (season 2)

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Next Great Baker (season 2)
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes11 (includes one special)[1]
Original networkTLC
Original releaseNovember 28, 2011 (2011-11-28) –
January 30, 2012 (2012-01-30)[1]
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 1
Next →
Season 3
List of Next Great Baker episodes

The second season of Next Great Baker was televised from November 28, 2011 to January 30, 2012 on TLC. This season was set at the new Carlo's Bake Shop facility at Lackawanna Center in Jersey City, New Jersey.

During this season, the Next Great Baker would win $100,000 cash and a four-page spread in Brides magazine.[2] The winner will also get to work beside Buddy in the bakery,[3] with the winner's first day covered in the episode of Cake Boss following the season finale on January 30, 2012.[4]


Thirteen contestants competed during this season:[5]

Contestant Age Occupation Hometown
Ryan Cimorelli 30 Construction worker, part-time baker[6] North Providence, Rhode Island
Wesley Durden† 29 Soldier, United States Army Fayetteville, North Carolina
Chad Fitzgerald 44 High school math teacher Duncanville, Texas
Jasmine Frank 20 Pastry Chef Los Angeles, California
Tony Frys 23 Baker, small-business owner Fort Worth, Texas
Heather Grubb 31 Stay-at-home mother Knoxville, Tennessee
Megan Hart 38 Paramedic Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Marissa Lopez 24 Cake decorator Pompton Lakes, New Jersey
Heather Macia 32 Pastry Chef Las Vegas, Nevada
Carmelo Oquendo 43 Retired gang-unit police officer Worcester, Massachusetts
Nadine Reibeling 28 Baker, business owner New York, New York
Minerva Vazquez 46 Personal chef Cutler Bay, Florida
Sara Williams 39 Baker, small-business owner Cedartown, Georgia

Contestant progress[edit]

Place Contestant Episode 1 Episode 2 Episode 3 Episode 4 Episode 5 Episode 6 Episode 7 Episode 8 Episode 9 Finale
Jasmine Megan
Marissa Chad
Heather G.
Nadine Chad
Nadine Marissa Ryan Marissa Nadine[n 1]
9 Minerva WIN LOW[n 2] LOW IN[n 3] OUT
10 Wesley HIGH IN IN OUT
11 Jasmine WIN WIN OUT
12 Tony LOW OUT[n 2]
13 Sara OUT
     (WINNER) This baker won the competition.
     (RUNNER-UP) This baker was the runner-up of the competition.
     (THIRD) This baker placed third overall in the competition.
     (WIN) The baker won individual immunity and the elimination challenge.
     (WIN) The baker(s) won the challenge.
     (HIGH) The baker(s) had one of the best cakes for that challenge, but did not win.
     (IN) The baker(s) advanced to the next week.
     (LOW) The baker(s) was/were a part of the team who lost, but was not the last to move on.
     (LOW) The baker(s) had the worst cake of those who advanced, and was/were the last to move on.
     (OUT) The baker(s) was/were eliminated.
     (IN) The baker(s) had immunity.
  1. ^ While it was an elimination challenge, it also was considered a baker's challenge, and Nadine was first to select her team for the second half of the finale, her "prize" for winning the challenge.
  2. ^ a b Buddy initially announced that Minerva was eliminated. She objected his decision and, citing her passion and willingness to speak up, Buddy reversed himself and eliminated Tony instead.
  3. ^ Although Minerva was on the team with the winning cake, Buddy decided that she had no part in it due to being sent to the hospital for being overworked as well as her poor leadership skills the first day resulting in very little work done. She still advanced forward to the next round simply for being with the winning team.

Episode guide[edit]

No. in
No. in
Title Original air date Contestant
91"It's Go Time!"November 28, 2011 (2011-11-28)Sara

Thirteen bakers arrive to Lakawanna to start the competition, with the winner getting $100,000, a four-page spread in "Brides" magazine, and the chance to work with Buddy and his family at Carlo's Bakery. In the elimination challenge the bakers were divided into four groups and were given the task of creating one theme cake, which then had to be delivered to Carlo's Bakery. In the end, the fashionista cake lost because it fell apart while being unloaded. Sara was eliminated.

  • Elimination: Sara
102"Life-Sized Cakes"December 5, 2011 (2011-12-05)Tony

The elimination challenge was to construct life-sized cake versions of Buddy's sisters. All three cakes were disappointing, so Buddy had them bulldozed. Tony and Minerva were the bottom two at elimination. Buddy decided to send Minerva home, but changed his mind when she showed "passion and drive" by arguing to stay.

  • Elimination: Tony
113"Wedding Wonderland"December 12, 2011 (2011-12-12)Jasmine

The bakers were split into three teams, each creating a wedding cake based on a specific theme. Jasmine was eliminated for her overconfidence and weak leadership.

  • Elimination: Jasmine
124"Bakers On Ice"December 19, 2011 (2011-12-19)Wesley

In this holiday themed episode, everyone was split into three teams and were told to make a holiday cake for the Valastro's family Christmas party. Buddy felt all the cakes were good and deemed none of the cakes to be the loser, but that Wesley didn't have the experience necessary to continue on the show. He was eliminated.

  • Elimination: Wesley
135"Let the Sparks Fly"December 26, 2011 (2011-12-26)Minerva

The bakers were challenged to make cakes that had mechanical elements. Minerva's team lost due to immature mistakes and a carousel that went so fast that Buddy said he would throw up if he was on it. Minerva was happy to be eliminated because she got to see her family; however, Buddy was so aggravated with Minerva's attitude that he closed the Not the Next Great Baker box truck himself.

  • Elimination: Minerva
146"Gators, Chimps and Bears...Oh My!"January 2, 2012 (2012-01-02)Heather M.

The bakers were divided into two teams to create cakes for a celebration at a zoo. It came down to Heather M. and Chad in the elimination room. Heather was eliminated even though Buddy thought she was very talented.

  • Elimination: Heather M.
157"Here Comes The Bride-zilla!"January 9, 2012 (2012-01-09)Heather G.

The bakers have to please a bridezilla who doesn't want an average wedding cake. In the end, the bakers were tricked by Buddy and the bride was an actress. It came down to Heather G. and Carmelo in the elimination room. Heather G. was eliminated, but informed by Buddy that "America loves you, and I love you."

  • Elimination: Heather G.
168"Headbanging Bakers"January 16, 2012 (2012-01-16)Carmelo & Megan

The bakers have to make a birthday cake for Mauro, the twist is that it has to fit the theme of his heavy-metal birthday. The second day, Buddy declared that two would leave as he was angry about both cakes looking so unprofessional. Neither team won due to flaws in both cakes. Marissa, Nadine and Megan's cake had structural problems with their guitar headpiece falling over destroying the cake. While Carmelo, Chad and Ryan's cake had detail issues, and did not even have "Happy Birthday Mauro" on the cake, making Buddy wonder who the cake was for. Marissa and Ryan were both safe off the start. Carmelo was sent to the box truck first, leaving Chad, Nadine and Megan in the elimination room. Buddy asked Chad to be as strong as he is in elimination in the actual challenges otherwise he'd be the next out. Finally Buddy chose Megan to be the second to the box truck, but told Nadine to prove to him why she belonged there.

  • Elimination: Carmelo & Megan
179"Crown-Winning Cakes"January 23, 2012 (2012-01-23)Chad

The bakers have to make a cake for Miss USA, Alyssa Campanella. She tells them a variety of her likes, and Buddy tells them to make a cake suited to her needs. At the four hour remaining mark, Buddy comes in and tells the competitors that they now have half the time, of only two hours. However, they would get a helper in the form of former team mates. Marissa was teamed up with Jasmine, Chad with Wesley, Nadine with Heather M., and Ryan with Carmelo. Alyssa spoke in good regards of Marissa and Nadine's cakes, but felt Ryan's cake represented her but only slightly, and lacked focus, while Chad's cake gave really only a representation of the pageant side but not her journey. Marissa and Nadine were told they move on to the finals, leaving Chad and Ryan in the bottom two. Buddy felt Chad did not live up to the challenge and was eliminated, although he did say his cake was "flawless".

  • Elimination: Chad
189A"Finale Pre-Show"January 30, 2012 (2012-01-30)N/A
This is a special episode that recaps the season up to this point, as well as provide a preview to the season finale that will follow. The special will also answer questions about the competition and its contestants, submitted by viewers. Clinton Kelly (of What Not to Wear) co-hosts the special with Buddy.
1910"…And the Winner Is?"January 30, 2012 (2012-01-30)(1) Ryan, (2) Nadine

The first challenge requires the final three bakers to take over Carlo's Bakery and sell their own cookies, cakes, pies and Italian pastries to Carlo's customers. To keep track, each of the different items is worth a certain number of tickets. Each of the bakers receives a team of three, a sister, a baker and an assistant. At the end of the challenge, Nadine is announced as the winner, with Ryan being eliminated collecting the lowest number of tickets. The final challenge requires the final two to bake and design a cake that represents their American dream. They have the crew of Carlo's Bakery to help them due to the early time of 2:30AM they have to start baking. They brought their cakes in front of Buddy, Mary and special guest Randy Fenoli of Say Yes to the Dress. Marissa was announced the winner of The Next Great Baker, Season 2.

  • Elimination: (1) Ryan, (2) Nadine
  • The Next Great Baker: Marissa

Production notes[edit]

Shortly after Wesley Durden was eliminated from the competition, he committed suicide on October 24, 2011.[7][8][9][10][11] Following the telecast on December 19, 2011, when he was eliminated, the program gave the following on-screen tribute after his box truck sendoff: TLC extends its deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Sgt. Wesley Durden, who died October 24. He will be warmly remembered by the cast and crew of "Next Great Baker". TLC opted to delay the announcement of his death until after his elimination was telecast, as the network did not want his death to overshadow the competition.[12]

At the start of the competition, Heather Grubb was 7.5 months into her pregnancy;[13] because of this, reasonable accommodations were made so that the competition would not affect her pregnancy—such accommodations included wearing non-slip shoes instead of skates in "Bakers On Ice", and refraining from heavy lifting. Shortly before the finale's airdate of January 30, 2012, Heather gave birth to her daughter, which she introduced with her husband on the Finale Pre-Show.[13]


  1. ^ a b "Shows A-Z – next great baker, the on nbc". the Futon Critic. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  2. ^ "Lots of Perks and a Bit of Baking". TLC. November 29, 2011. Retrieved December 23, 2011.
  3. ^ "It's Go Time!". Next Great Baker. Season 2. Episode 1. November 28, 2011. 06:31 minutes in. TLC. The winner is gonna get to work with me, to learn what it's like to be at Carlo's Bakery, and I'm gonna teach you all my tricks.
  4. ^ Per TLC TV listings at zap2it for January 30, 2012; the winner will be featured in the "Touchdowns and Tattoos" episode of Cake Boss following the season finale of Next Great Baker.
  5. ^ "Meet the Season 2 Bakers". TLC. Retrieved December 23, 2011.
  6. ^ "…And the Winner Is?". Next Great Baker. Season 2. Episode 10. January 30, 2012. 17:42 minutes in. TLC.
  7. ^ New York Daily News: "‘Next Great Baker’ special will cover suicide", January 30, 2012.
  8. ^ Jacksonville (NC) Daily News: "Reality show viewers shocked to learn contestant died in October"
  9. ^ Huffington Post: "'Next Great Baker' Contestant Sgt. Wesley Durden Committed Suicide", December 20, 2011.
  10. ^ International Business Times: "Wesley Durden Death: Interesting Facts About ‘Next Great Baker’ Contestant", January 3, 2012.
  11. ^ New York Daily News: "‘Next Great Baker’ contestant commits suicide", December 21, 2011.
  12. ^ TV Guide Canada: "TLC star commits suicide", December 21, 2011.
  13. ^ a b "Finale Pre-Show". Next Great Baker. Season 2. Episode 9A. January 30, 2012. TLC.
General references