Food Network emailed all National Pie Championship competitors this evening, asking for release forms. Food competitions are fun, but expensive – I’ve already spent $50 on vanilla alone – and I still need to purchase the rest of the ingredients no later than Thursday so I have enough time to prep for 3 pies.

I’m not sure when the competition will air, but it will be part of the Food Network Challenge series; and with three divisions of the competition – amateur, pro, and commercial baker – I’m not sure if they’re creating several shows, or an all-in-one, hour-long show.

We have a 6 a.m. call time on Saturday for the parade of chefs this weekend; and then baking time at 11 a.m. – I’m hoping I can drive home in between to rest and, well, fix hair and be pretty. And then, I have to make my food pretty. The pies for call time thankfully will not be sent to the judges, so taste is irrelevant for the camera. Sunday, however is the money day. Sunday is taste, appearance, and general pie goodness for goodness sake. Oh, and a lovely brunch and mingle later that morning, hosted by a former contestant. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone!

The competition offered convection ovens, which can ruin you in minutes; I’m glad we had the option to bake our to-be-judged pie off-site. And I have a few culinary tricks up my sleeve that will hopefully earn some camera time.

I’m definitely the underdog. I’m not a professional baker. I’m an aspiring chef enrolled in culinary school, who hasn’t even taken a cooking class yet. Even better, I’m allergic to soy, so I can’t cook with or eat the sponsor’s (Crisco) food product – how do you like them apples!

There’s a small chance for unexpected victory, and a high percentage for a crash-and-burn. Grand prize is $5,000. Stay tuned for the most dramatic rose ceremony ever.