Scott D. Pierce: Utah women are out to win on 'Next Great Baker'
"Cake Boss" changed Kaiulani Delgado's life. She's hoping "Cake Boss: The Next Great Baker" changes it again.
Delgado and her aunt, Roxanne Bodell, are among 10 teams competing on the new season of "Next Great Baker," which premieres Tuesday at 10 p.m. on TLC. The "Cake Boss" himself, Buddy Valastro, is one of two permanent judges this season, which thrilled Delgado.
"Growing up, I didn't think I was going to be a baker or anything close to that," she said. But when "Cake Boss" premiered in 2009, she was "completely intrigued."
That show centers on Carlo's Bakery, a family business in Hoboken, N.J., that's operated by Valastro and his four sisters. It's a reality show about the siblings and their employees, but it's also about the incredible, custom cakes Valastro creates.
"I've always been artistic, but nothing in baking or cake decorating. I mean, nothing," said Delgado, who discovered that buying a birthday cake for her young daughter that was like the ones on the TV show "was completely out of my price range."
"So I decided that maybe I'd try it out. I'd never baked a cake from scratch in my life before that. I didn't know what fondant was. I had no idea."
All that time spent watching "Cake Boss" paid off.
"It was just the strangest thing," Delgado said. "As soon as those things were put right in front of me, it was almost like it started creating itself. This talent came out of nowhere."
She auditioned for Season 3 of "Next Great Baker" and wasn't selected. But the show's producers invited her to audition for Season 4 provided she could find someone to join her for this year's two-person-team competition. Bodell admitted she was somewhat reluctant she'd just opened a business but added that she knew she'd do it.
"She's my niece and I love her," Bodell said. "She's been like my own daughter since she was born, so it was a no-brainer."
It was a risk for the aunt and a huge risk for the niece. She had to step away from her baking business and her house; she couldn't afford to make payments. She didn't have money to put her possessions in storage, so she kept just a minimal number of toys for her 5- and 10-year-old children and clothes for all of them.
She's hoping she can return from the competition in New Jersey with something to replace all those things.
"That was my hope, because I believed so much that this would change my life forever," Delgado said. "So it's probably one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life."
Plus there was the whole competition involved in the cake-baking/decorating competition.
"I have to say it was extremely stressful," Bodell said,
"It challenged us in every way," Delgado said. "Emotionally. Mentally. It was extreme."
Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.