As any Mariah Carey fan knows all too well, the end of Halloween marks the beginning of the holiday season. For some, nothing says holiday cheer quite like Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championship. The network’s annual event is back for Season 9 with a new batch of 12 bakers fighting for the chance at $25,000 and the coveted Holiday Baking Champion title.
These bakers range from rising chefs to longtime pastry bakers ready to put their baking skills to the test as they create decadent pastries, cookies, and cakes — all centered around Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas.
Host Jesse Palmer will present each week's challenge, tasty confections, and a panel of experienced pastry chefs. The panel of three judges will decide whose pastries are the best and who will go home each week.
So, who are the Holiday Baking Championship judges controlling the fate of this season's contestants? Keep reading to find out.
Nancy Fuller is an American chef and businesswoman who viewers may recognize from the Food Network's series Farmhouse Rules. Nancy was born and raised in Hudson Valley, where she still lives in an authentic 17th-century New York farmhouse. Long before the farm-to-table movement was trendy, Nancy worked hard to build the successful business she runs with her husband, David Ginsberg. Together, they own and operate Ginsberg's Foods, a multimillion-dollar food service distributor based in Hudson Valley.
Nancy's show Farmhouse Rules centers on her kitchen in upstate New York and the community of farmers that supply it. She uses the best of what the land around her has to offer and creates simple yet classic farm-fresh meals for her family that now includes 13 grandchildren.
Carla Hall is a chef, best-selling author, and TV personality who first gained attention from her time on Bravo’s Top Chef and Top Chef: All-Stars. The former model and Howard University Business School grad decided to start her cooking career while traveling in Europe. Since then, she garnered acclaim as a trained chef and has worked in multiple kitchens in the Washington, D.C., area.
In 2012, Carla accepted a co-hosting gig on ABC’s The Chew alongside chefs Mario Batali and Michael Symon, Daphne Oz, and Clinton Kelly. The daytime series followed the chefs as they created their recipes and interviewed other notable chefs. On The Chew, Carla dazzled with her quirky personality and colorful style. The Nashville, Tenn., native also caught attention as Tracee Ellis Ross’s doppelganger, though the two celebrities aren’t related.
Jeffrey Adam "Duff" Goldman is a pastry chef and television personality best known from 10 seasons on the show Ace of Cakes, in which Duff showcased his insane pastry-decorating skills. Duff's been in kitchens since the age of 4 and had his first job in the food industry at 14 at a bagel shop.
In 2002, Duff opened Charm City Cakes in his hometown of Baltimore and his creative, custom cakes quickly gained recognition as pieces of art. Soon after, Ace of Cakes made Duff and Charm City Cakes a household name when it appeared as a new baking show on the Food Network.
Today, friendly and boisterous Duff is a judge on Holiday Baking Championship and Spring Baking Championship, and with Valerie Bertinelli, he also hosts and judges Kids Baking Championship on the Food Network. In April 2022, Duff teamed up with Discovery Plus for his solo show — Duff: Ace of Cakes — where he “shows off how he eats, dreams and lives food.”
New episodes of Holiday Baking Championship air Mondays at 8 p.m. on Food Network.