Local pastry chef to compete in “Candy Land” show on Food Network
There were giant candy canes in the Peppermint Forest, life-size gumdrops at Gumdrop Mountain, a real life gingerbread house at Chocolate Mountain (which was made of 100 pounds of chocolate), 1,000 enormous and luscious lollipops in Lollipop Woods, and lemons growing right off the vines in Lemon Lime Springs.
No wonder Jordan Pilarski thought the set created for the new Food Network series, “Candy Land,” was a magical place.
“It felt like I was really in Candy Land,” said Mr. Pilarski.
The 26-year-old pastry chef at The Ritz-Carlton Santa Barbara is featured as a sugar artist on his team in the upcoming series that is inspired by the classic Hasbro children’s game. It will premiere at 9 p.m. Sunday.
In a one-hour special after the episode, host David Bromstad (HGTV’s “My Lottery Dream Home”) will give viewers a peek into the making of each land, along with the history of the iconic game that continues to be a childhood favorite.
Also, expert baker Dan Langan will be featured in “Inspired by Candy Land,” a new digital series where he creates sweets and cakes that are inspired by the classic children’s game.
Through six episodes, Emmy- and Tony-award-winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth hosts and guides five teams made up of professional cake and sugar artists who are challenged to create heavenly confectionery showpieces, all the while being thrown curveballs every step of the way by Lord Licorice.
“We finished filming this summer in Los Angeles. The process was difficult because of the pandemic but fun, too,” Mr. Pilarski said. “We worked long hours, and I met awesome people, especially Kristin, who was a ball of energy and perfect for the show. She is one of the most kind-hearted, genuine persons I’ve ever met.”
The players must forage for flavors and unique ingredients within each land to use for their unique masterpieces before presenting them to judges Nacho Aguirre and Aarti Sequeira, who determine which teams advance down the board game path based on creativity, technical execution and how well the candies of the land were incorporated.
In the episodes, the teams design inventive and edible means of transportation for the citizens of Candy Land, create beautiful upgrades for the town squares within each land and for the final challenge, the last team standing must think outside the box to deliver a one-of-a-kind gift to impress King Candy.
“The first team to make it to King Kandy’s Castle wins the game and earns the grand prize of $25,000,” said Mr. Pilarski, who has been the prize winner in other Food Network shows.
While working for The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island in Fernandina Beach, Fla., he won $50,000 in the spring baking championship in 2013.
“It had a Memorial Day theme, and I made a cake decorated like an American flag,” said Mr. Pilarski, who has also been involved with the Food Network in other capacities. “I was a judge for the Christmas Cookie Challenge in 2017 and 2018, and I won $10,000 in the Holiday Baking Homecoming Special in 2018.”
The Buffalo, N.Y., native earned his bachelor’s degree in baking and pastry arts at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I.
“I had planned to be an architect like my grandfather. I watched him as a kid, and I loved working with my hands, making model airplanes and other things,” Mr. Pilarski said. “But by the time I went to high school, the field of architecture had changed. It became computerized. I fell out of love with architecture.”
About the same time, he was watching shows on the Food Network and realized there were similarities between architecture and pastry making.
“Both involve numbers, drawing, creating, scaling and working with my hands,” said Mr. Pilarski. “I love what I do every day.”