Pie-mak­ing is raised – lit­er­ally and fig­u­ra­tively – to an art form on ‘Thanks­giv­ing Pie Fight’

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Tasty Tv - BY GE­ORGE DICKIE

Pie may be one of the purest forms of com­fort food but it’s also art, and it’s at the cen­ter of a hol­i­day com­pe­ti­tion se­ries com­ing up this week on Food Net­work.

On “Thanks­giv­ing Pie Fight,” pre­mier­ing Thurs­day, Nov. 14, four top am­a­teur pie bak­ers en­deavor to cre­ate pies that not only are pleas­ing to the palate but also in­tri­cate, imag­i­na­tive and out­ra­geous in their de­signs, with some stacked up to over a foot in height. The win­ner, as de­ter­mined by a judg­ing panel of Na­cho Aguirre (“Girl Scout Cookie Cham­pi­onship”), Scott Co­nant (“Chopped”) and TV/movie pro­ducer Jes­sica Clark-Bo­jin, wins a $10,000 prize.

The first part of the com­pe­ti­tion is called the “Pie-scraper Chal­lenge” – a play on “sky­scraper” – about which host Sunny An­der­son (“The Kitchen”) ex­plains, “Ob­vi­ously for that one, we’re look­ing for height (and if it is) sturdy so it trav­els well or moves well from ta­ble to ta­ble. You know, you’ve al­ways got to trans­port (the pie) and that was al­ways one of my most fa­vorite parts about watch­ing shows like this, where they built some­thing gar­gan­tuan. You know, can it move?”

And the pie must look good – and not just from the front.

“Think about 360 de­grees,” An­der­son says. “So you could turn the pie around and ev­ery sin­gle side of it is beau­ti­ful, and some­times the pie-scrap­ers, they’ll give them like a back and so you have a face-for­ward, more of a pre­sen­ta­tion side. But some of these pies are just truly spec­tac­u­lar and def­i­nitely go over a foot, so it’s some­thing to watch.”

An­other thing to watch, ac­cord­ing to An­der­son, are the bak­ers them­selves. All come from other pro­fes­sions and have had no for­mal train­ing, hence they’re not used to bak­ing on the clock – or on TV.

“I think that all of them found out what we all find out when we get on TV,” An­der­son says with a hearty laugh. “It’s not ex­actly the same. It’s a lit­tle bit more stress, a lot more adren­a­line and time flies like you wouldn’t be­lieve. Then in ad­di­tion to that, you’re not even in your own kitchen. You know, you’re on a stage, a set that has been built and they put a kitchen to­gether for you but you’re a lit­tle bit out of sorts. So we give the bak­ers enough time to cre­ate and that’s re­ally im­por­tant.”

Still, An­der­son re­ports, time man­age­ment was an is­sue for some.

“There were a cou­ple of other mo­ments where we’re like, ‘Oh my good­ness, are they go­ing to fin­ish? Are they go­ing to get this thing done? Or is it go­ing to fall over?’ ” she says. “And we had a cou­ple of catas­tro­phes, I can’t give it all away but it was truly fun to see in per­son.”

Sunny An­der­son

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