Ali Khan shares how the new Spring Baking Championship bakers rise to the occasion

Host Ali Khan holds a plate of Fried Mormon Funeral Potatoes at the Garage on Beck in Salt Lake City, Utah as seen on Cooking Channel’s Cheap Eats, Season 2. Photo provided by Food Network
Host Ali Khan holds a plate of Fried Mormon Funeral Potatoes at the Garage on Beck in Salt Lake City, Utah as seen on Cooking Channel’s Cheap Eats, Season 2. Photo provided by Food Network /

While Ali Khan might be known for his show Cheap Eats, he returns to the Spring Baking Championship baking competition on the Food Network. With Nancy Fuller, Duff Goldman and Kardea Brown at the judges table, Khan looks to keep the lighthearted banter flowing. As this new group of bakers looks to earn the blue ribbon and the Food Network title, will Khan find a new dessert that could become the best thing that he ever ate?

Although Ali Khan believes in the idea of “eating fearlessly,” Spring Baking Championship isn’t always going to the flavor extreme. Luckily, in Season 7, Food Network fans could expect some big, bold changes to the popular baking competition.

Khan shared the changes are clear from the first episode, including more bakers. He said  “We have 11 bakers competing this season over the course 10 episodes. I thought this season brought a great mix of experience, from self-taught to one of the youngest bakers to compete to of course seasoned veterans. And like the promo says, champions crave competition so more than a few rise to the occasion (see what I did there?)”

While Khan might be familiar with savory food and cooking, being Spring Baking Championship host is different. Khan believes that “It’s all about encouraging them as well. Every time we wrapped one of these “OTFS,” which is our lingo for “on the fly interviews,” I always wished them well and encouraged them on. I’m no dance mom, more like the dad on the bench who just wants you to give it your all.”

What is Ali Khan cooking in his home kitchen?

Actually, in real life, Khan is a dad. As seen on his Instagram account, his son has been learning to bake via Duff Goldman’s kids baking cookbook. Those words of encouragement come from a real understanding that a cheerleader can make even every moment better.

Khan believes that kids should have the opportunity to explore the kitchen and food. Khan said, “I think exposing your kids to activities that get them off the screen is always a good thing! That’s a constant struggle for us, especially in the pandemic when socializing is not accessible. I grew up with a natural curiosity to cooking and a love of cooking shows, so for me it’s like sitting down with your kid and explaining what the strike zone is. I also think cooking is a hands-on way to learn about nutrition. Understanding what goes into foods we eat I think helps you make wise health choices. “

Given that Khan has an adventurous palate, his family might follow his lead. Still, Spring Baking Championship sometimes tends to stay within a comfortable box. But, the new Spring Baking Championship season is looking to take a different approach.

Khan shared that this Spring Baking Championship season 7 will feature some global flavors this season. He said, “One of our bakers is originally from Mumbai (Bombay, India) and brings not only aromatic spices like cardamom to her baking but also makes Indian Sweets as well. Another baker is of Jamaican decent and another from Lahore, Pakistan, and they were not afraid to bake in their hometown flavors.”

As this new group of bakers take on the Food Network challenge, each episode shows their talents. Although cooking can be about flavor experimentation, baking can be hard to master.

Does Ali Khan think that baking or cooking is harder to master?

For Khan, he thinks that baking is harder to master. Khan said, “Especially in the age of over-the-top decoration. Baked goods have to look amazing and taste amazing. There are savory foods like Gumbo or Haleem that are truly “ugly delicious”. Those brown dishes that may not bring in the likes on Instagram but are still celebrated flavor bomb dishes. In baking, it’s getting to a point, especially with cakes, where if it’s not a three-tiered life like Vanilla Buttercream Ski Mountain, it’s birthday cake bust. And to think in my day, some piped icing that said “happy birthday” and a plastic toy racecar drew the oohs and aahs.”

Since Khan is well versed in the best food that he’s ever ate, he was willing to share some thoughts on the best desserts in Austin, his home city. His response was quite interesting.

Khan said, “Oh man! Well, I’d be lying if something massively simple like Amy’s Ice Cream Mexican Vanilla Milkshake didn’t make for a perfect afternoon treat. But what I love about being a part of a show like Spring Baking Championship is getting out of my comfort zone. The Birthday Cake Ice Cream Sandwich from Launderette was one of my top bites of 2018 and it’s a restaurant I like a lot, and was featured on Best Thing I Ever Ate and I’m a fan of their burger as well.”

With Spring Baking Championship Season 7 just beginning, Food Network fans will have to see if one of these new desserts could become one of the best desserts ever. No matter the final outcome, these 11 bakers will tempt Food Network viewers with some delicious desserts.

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What is your best dessert that you have every eaten? Does Spring Baking Championship inspire you to bake?