Kristina used to be “a terrible baker.”
“My first love is cooking,” she said, laughing. “My fondest memories growing up were cooking lunches and dinner with my dad. We’d go grocery shopping and then watch the Food Network together.”
On May 15, Kristina’s story will come full circle as she sees herself on the Food Network – as a competitor in its Summer Baking Championship show.
“During the pandemic, my baking started full-on,” Kristina said, who now lives in Virginia. “I dedicated each day to a recipe and from there it snowballed.”
After friends and neighbors started asking for her creations for special occasions, she began running a “cake boutique” out of her home, called Kristina’s Kitchen. Her social media pages
are what caught the attention of Food Network recruiters who reached out to her about competing. After a lengthy process of interviews and intense baking assignments completed via Zoom, she was accepted and began filming in January 2023.
“It was such a friendly environment,” Kristina said of being on the show. “We all got along and bounced ideas off each other. Even during challenges, if I ran into some problems, they would offer help. It was very supportive, and we still keep in touch.”
On each episode of the show, the contestants do a preliminary challenge where nobody gets eliminated and then a follow-up challenge where someone is sent home.
“My fellow bakers worked at hotels and do huge catering events…which is just not something I do every day. I’m a self-taught, one-woman show and I take my time and I take pride in that. I make some awesome desserts and cakes but I don’t have that formal training or the French culinary school background,” she said. “I can’t believe how far I’ve come. And the show was a lot of fun.”
Looking ahead, Kristina plans to continue to grow her business and potentially expanding to offer cake decorating classes or parties for kids.
Of her experience at St. Francis High School, Kristina said attending SFHS was the best decision her family could have made for her.
“St. Francis is always in support of community,” she said. “It was very accepting and open and provided a lot of great opportunities for me, even after graduating.”
For more information on the show, visit the Food Network website
To view more of Kristina's baking creations, visit her Facebook