Rome’s Honeymoon Bakery owner Kevin Dillmon will be among the prime time television chefs when the Food Network’s Spring Baking Championship returns to the small screen Monday night, March 18, at 9 p.m.

The competition plays out over eight one-hour episodes. Host Clinton Kelly welcomed Dillmon and nine other bakers who will put their talents on the line in front of celebrity judges Nancy Fuller, Duff Goldman, and Lorraine Pascale. At the end of the competition, one chef left with a $25,000 grand prize.

Dillmon said the application included a couple of rounds of interviews and preparation of some desserts for the staff. Once he found out that he had been chosen he only had three weeks before filming in New Orleans started.

The contestants this year include six women and four men, all but one from the United States.

In the series opener, bakers must survive two rounds of spring-themed challenges that push their baking skills to the limit, with the judges determining which competitors go home and who will survive to bake another week.

The initial episode will feature each of the contestants creating spring-themed animal donuts followed by a contest to create a watercolor cake that features spring fruits and/or vegetables. Dillmon said some of the contestants had never made donuts before and that he chose apricot(s) for his watercolor cake.

“Baking a cake, letting it cool down, frosting it and then decorating it in a short period of time was pretty difficult,” Dillmon said.

Of course he was not allowed to talk about how far he advanced in the competition.

The Rome chef said he really enjoyed meeting and working with each of the other competitors.

“I think it was the thing I enjoyed the most about the competition,” Dillmon said. “We all had different backgrounds and different experiences.”

As the competition moves along, the bakers will be asked to prepare rhubarb pies, marshmallow desserts for Easter and a spelling bee where the chefs will be asked to create cream tart words with a spring theme.

Dillmon said that it was certainly a different experience working in a television kitchen environment, not knowing where everything was and trying to bake to the palate of each of the different judges.

Getting instant feedback and critique from the judges was different as well.

“Usually we get that on social media,” Dillmon said.

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