Food Network is known for cranking out some quality cooking and baking competitions, but none quite like ‘Bakeaway Camp with Martha Stewart.’ The new show is just how it sounds: Amateur bakers head to homestyle icon Martha Stewart’s real backyard to compete in an intense baking competition in a camp-style environment. The concept of this reality competition series takes everything you love about a Food Network challenge and makes it even sweeter with one-of-a-kind challenges and a unique design. But what host Jesse Palmer—who has had his own experience hosting for a variety of projects—likes most about ‘Bakeaway Camp’ is the fact that viewers at home will get to relate to contestants in more than just an entertaining way, but with a meaningful connection.
Palmer gave Metro the scoop on what to expect from the colorful new competition series.
What was your initial motivation to sign on with this particular project?
A couple of things—I’ve hosted ‘Holiday Baking Championship’ and ‘Spring Baking Championship’ for Food Network in the past, so I love the format of these shows. For me as a host, I really love being around the bakers and the competitors and I think the shows generally do a really good job of sharing their stories. These people are all really relatable for people at home who are home bakers, and getting that chance to share with people is extremely uplifting. I’m really, really excited and happy that this show is airing now during this time especially because I think a show like this is definitely needed to provide a lot of positivity for people at home who are going to watch. Also the chance to work with Martha Stewart was an opportunity that I didn’t want to pass up. I’ve always been a big fan of hers.
What exactly goes on in each episode?
The format of the show from a skeletal and bare-bones stand-point follows the same format as the ‘Holiday Baking Championship’ or ‘Spring Baking Championship’ with one major caveat—these bakers also have to deal with the elements. They’re baking outside sort of in this camp setting and they’re having to go through these really difficult challenges while also having to contend with inclement weather, insects, bees or whatever it is, which really makes it more of a rollercoaster ride than what you would normally find in a traditional baking reality series. As if that wasn’t enough pressure, they’re also doing everything under the watchful eye of Martha Stewart. Each episode will have two challenges and the preliminary challenge’s winner is actually afforded the opportunity to go to Martha Stewart’s house and get a one-on-one baking tutorial from her—the idea is that they then take that information and apply it to the second challenge in the day. At the end of the day there’s a lot on the line, the bakers are all incredible amateur home bakers and they are all vying to win a kitchen that is filled with appliances with a value of $25,000. There might even be a little more emotion in this show because it’s not just the heat of the kitchen, it’s also the heat of the outdoors that they have to contend with while also having one of the world’s great bakers, Martha Stewart, watching their every move.
Why do you think having the element of the camp works for the baking competition?
It’s kind of opposite in some ways—I think during the summertime on one end people have fun memories of being outside and camping, the whole concept of camping in the great outdoors is very Americana, as is baking. But of course, nobody bakes outside, so I think the show creators were really smart to take these two elements and components and mash them up together and do it all in the backyard of Martha Stewart, who as we all know is this icon in a lot of different industries, baking being one of them. You put all of those elements together and it makes the show really unique.
How would you compare your experience hosting on this show compared to others that you’ve hosted?
My favorite part of hosting shows like this is the interaction I get with the competitors, I host the show but I really end up being the biggest cheerleader for all of them. I want everybody to win. I’m laying out the landscape on what to expect for different challenges and what they have to make, but at the same time, I’m also kind of going around and helping to encourage people when times get tough. I think on these types of shows too, it’s really just helping to share their story—why it’s important to them, what got them into baking, some fond memories, why they’re there and what it would mean for them to win. What’s fun about this one as well is again, the Martha Stewart component, that makes it interesting too, because all of our bakers on the show are huge Martha Stewart fans. Some of them get nervous, some of them get excited and you can see at some of their stations, they’re always peeking over and just want to get a look at her, it was really unique and cool to see.
How was it working with Martha Stewart?
It was really great, I’ve interviewed her before on some other TV shows that I host and have been on and I’ve had a chance to hang out with her before some events that I’ve done around the country. Working with her, especially in her backyard was just really neat. Getting to know her better and really getting to see the professional that she is, for me [that] was a really memorable experience.
How would you describe the show in your own words?
I would say its like baking in a pressure cooker—there is just so much pressure to get this done. The elements and what they have to compete with are really difficult but it brings out the best in all of our bakers.
Overall, what do you hope audiences take away from ‘Bakeaway Camp’ after watching?
I think they’ll feel like they can relate to all of our bakers on the show. Nobody is a ‘professional,’ which you find sometimes on ‘Holiday Baking Championship’ and ‘Spring Baking Championship.’ They will see some familiar faces, and then, of course, they’ll see Martha Stewart. You’ll really get to see her personality and who she is with this show. Considering the pandemic that we’re in right now, I think all things considered, this show is uplifting and it has a really positive vibe to it too, which I think is necessary right now and what we need. The show is very timely in that sense.
‘Bakeaway Camp with Martha Stewart’ premieres on Food Network May 11.