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UA alumna to compete in Food Network baking competition


Baker Jasmin Bell rushes to finish decorating Halloween cookies on Food Network’s “Halloween Baking Championship.” Bell is an alumna of the University of Arizona.

University of Arizona alumna and pastry chef Jasmin Bell will create spooky sweet treats in Food Network’s “Halloween Baking Championship.”

After competing in “Chopped Desserts,” Bell is no stranger to competitions on Food Network but still said there is no way to prepare for these shows.

“It’s like pastry boot camp,” she said in a phone interview. “You can’t prepare for it. It’s super fun, but at the same time, it’s so stressful.”

One of the most challenging aspects of the competition is the time constraints. What Bell creates on the show in 90 minutes may take her 5 hours if she were doing it for a customer.

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It wasn’t until high school that she knew she wanted to direct her passion toward pastries, but Bell said she’s wanted to be a chef since she was 5 years old.

“My entire life was dedicated to being a chef, even when I was at the University of Arizona,” she said.

During her time at the UA, Bell worked full-time as a pastry chef at Canyon Ranch Tucson Resort while going to school full-time and creating custom cake orders on the side. She graduated from the UA in 2011 with her degree in fine arts with an emphasis in three-dimensional sculpture, and she has been sculpting cakes and pastries ever since.

As an artist and a pastry chef, Bell said she’s working to create a style of baking that gives her work its own look.

“You want your work to speak for itself,” she said. “I think for every artist, it’s finding your style and sticking with it and kind of creating a persona for your work.”

Bell worked as a pastry chef for 10 years but realized that the higher she moved up in positions, the less she was actually getting to do the baking. Wanting to return to doing what she loved, she opened her own business, Bells Pastries.

Bells Pastries is a baking business out of Seattle, Washington, where Bell creates custom cakes and teaches baking classes to students of all skill levels.

“I teach you how to make gourmet pastries and desserts using household equipment and ingredients you can find in your local store,” she said. “I’m just kind of breaking down the barriers that people have with baking and showing you how it’s actually very doable and also time manageable if you like to do it.”

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Currently without a physical location for Bells Pastries, Bell sells her pastries and teaches her classes from featured bakeries in Seattle or teaches private lessons in her customers’ homes.

One of her favorite parts of being a business-owner is her interaction with her customers.

“All my orders are in person,” she said. “I deliver them to you. I love to meet my customers.”

With a grand prize of $25,000, winning the “Halloween Baking Championship” could give Bell an opportunity to open her own location for Bells Pastries.

“I’m hoping to win it so I can possibly use it toward opening up a store of my own where I can teach my classes and do my custom orders,” she said. “But I would still continue doing collaborations with other businesses because it’s really nice to collaborate within your community.”

You can watch Bell bake her way to the top in the third season of the “Halloween Baking Championship,” which premieres on the Food Network on Monday, Sept. 25, at 6 p.m.

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