Update on Monday, December 7th at 10:45 am:
Kyle Smothers and his team knew they were outsiders in Holiday Wars.
“My team overcame this last challenge with two defeats and got past on the first lap for technical reasons,” he said. “We didn’t let that get us down. We adapted. We made it, and that shows in our last piece.”
The Food Network baking contest came to an end after six weeks on Sunday night – and the Smothers team, the Mistle Toasters, won the $ 25,000 award and the title of Holiday War Season Two Champion.
“Winning this competition is incredible,” said the Seattle pastry chef. “It is the culmination of the successes, the failures we grew out of, the passion for what we do and the love we developed for one another during our time in Holiday Wars.”
It’s unclear if Kyle Smothers is a clairvoyant, but he definitely predicted his future.
“I think I’ve been telling my family since I was probably 8 years old that I would be on TV,” said the 32-year-old. “I didn’t know what, I didn’t know why, I didn’t know how, but I always said it.”
If you watch Food Network’s Holiday Wars, you’ve seen Smothers in action – he’s one of four bakers at Team Mistle Toasters who compete against each other on the show.
“Holiday Wars”, hosted by Raven-Symoné, is in its second season. The third episode will air last Sunday (November 15th). The competition began with five teams of bakers and pastry chefs working together to create larger-than-life vacation-themed creations.
Smothers is a pastry chef and co-owner of Seattle-based handmade cake and biscuit company Home Economics. Baking originally came from the east coast and has always been in his life.
“I have very fond memories every year, my cousins, my siblings, my aunt, my mother and I got together and made great Christmas cakes,” said Smothers. “Every year at Christmas we baked, baked and decorated cookies for a whole day. And I always joke that it was Christmas when my sister got her toy stove, you know, I took over and found the love for it.”
Smothers has made a name for himself in the industry since his youth, living and working for various companies in different states. He learns from professionals and absorbs as much knowledge as possible before graduating from Keizer University in Sarasota with a degree in baking and pastry. Florida. He landed in Seattle about six years ago, but moved away shortly afterwards. He said he always wanted to come back and put down roots.
“Seattle is where I fell in love most,” he said. “I love that it’s so progressive and that there are so many opportunities for success in my field.”
“Holiday Wars” isn’t the first time Smothers has appeared on the small screen – he entered the Girl Scout Cookie Championship in 2019. But it is his first time that he participates in a show on a team.
“I mean, it’s nerve-wracking; it’s like the bakery and pastry Olympics,” he said.
Filming for the show began in August and each team has consisted of practically four strangers since the teams were assigned.
“When I met three other personalities and skills that I am not familiar with, it was full of transparency – what are you good at? What are you not good at?” Smothers said. “Your weakness is not a weakness unless we don’t know about it. If we know what you are capable of and what you are not comfortable with, we can work around it.”
For example, Smothers said he was more of a buttercream artist than a fondant artist, which is an integral part of creating these sculptures. He noted that “it takes a village and multiple skills to create these representations”.
One of his favorite memories of the show (in the three episodes we’ve seen so far) was when he hand-painted the night sky of a display in the first episode, noticing the yarn in the display, a nod to his life as he likes knits.
Each episode has two rounds, with one team sitting out of the second based on their performance in the first. In the second episode, the first challenge was to create Santa’s pal. The Mistle Toasters created a cute green alien in a Santa outfit, but it fell apart.
The Mistle Toasters sat from the next round.
“I was really hurt when we sat on a bench. Of course it stung, there was some pride,” said Smother. “But if we could sit outside and watch what was going on with the rest of the competition in the box, we could see other teams adapting and reacting and succeeding with the same challenges we faced.”
And that’s the energy that he and his team carried through the show – adaptation and overcoming, which became particularly evident in the following episode. During the first challenge of making a camouflaged Thanksgiving turkey, the Mistle Toasters created Lotta Stuffing, a drag queen turkey. This was another example of how Smother put his personal life on the show as he is a former drag queen. The judges only had positive things to say about the display and proceeded to the next round.
Smother described being on the show as an “absolutely wonderful” experience that resulted in lifelong friendships but was also mentally challenging.
“When you’re there, your focus has to be 100 percent on what you’re doing because you have to be able to point out the things that could make an alien fall apart,” he said, laughing. “It was scary, it was stressful, it was exciting and wonderful and fabulous, and I would definitely do it again.”
Could it be one of the Food Network’s other baking championships? His own show? Only time can tell.
Stay up to date with Smothers on Instagram @ chefkyle.seattle. Food Network’s “Holiday Wars” airs Sundays at 8 p.m. PST.