BOTKINS — A Botkins native was given the experience of a lifetime when he appeared on Season 3 of “The Great American Baking Show,” which premiered Dec. 7.
The season consists of six episodes, with two episodes airing every Thursday for three weeks in December, as part of ABC’s “25 Days of Christmas.” The second set of episodes will air Thursday, Dec. 14, from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. and the final set will air Dec. 21.
The Rev. Kyle Schnippel, currently pastor of Corpus Christi and St. John Neumann parishes in Cincinnati, was born and raised in Botkins.
Schnippel graduated from Botkins High School in 1995 before completing an undergraduate degree at the Pontifical College Josephinum as the first step toward priesthood. He then enrolled at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West, in Cincinnati and was ordained to the priesthood in 2004.
Schnippel said he’s had a modest interest in baking throughout his life, which has blossomed into a passionate hobby within the past two years.
A fan of previous seasons of “The Great American Baking Show,” as well as the original “The Great British Bake Off,” Schnippel said a friend of his sent him a link to the show’s casting on Facebook, prompting him to apply.
Schnippel did just that and subsequently participated in four rounds of auditions. The first round involved sending in photos of things he had baked in the past; the second and third rounds involved taking baked goods to local, in-person tryouts; and the final round was an in-person practice baking session in New Jersey.
“Through the whole process, I expected to be told, ‘You’re a fraud. Get out of here,’” Schnippel said.
Schnippel attributes part of his success in the application process to his noteworthy career choice.
“It’s such a unique angle that no one else was bringing,” he said. “Just the novelty of a priest on a baking show.”
Schnippel said this aspect also played a part in the interactions he had with the other bakers on the show.
“It opened us up to having some deeper conversations than we may have otherwise,” he said.
Schnippel and the nine other bakers traveled to England for the weeks-long filming of the show. Schnippel said he had previously been to Europe seven times throughout his journey of preisthood, but this was his first visit to England.
The bakers were housed in apartment-style hotel rooms, allowing them to practice baking during the days off from filming.
Schnippel said he spent two weeks in England before he was eliminated from the show after the second episode. He described the experience as one he won’t soon forget.
“Overall, it was such a fabulous experience in every way,” Schnippel said. “You never know what you can do until you’re presented with a challenge that tests your abilities.”
Schnippel reminisced on past experiences and observations that he now credits for his perspective on food, in general, and which he reflected on during his time on the baking show.
“I remember my mom baking things, our neighbor picking cherries off the tree, and my grandparents growing their own gardens,” Schnippel said. “Remembering all these flavors I had as a child really helped me.”
Reach the writer at 937-538-4825.