‘Kids Baking Championship’: Valerie Bertinelli On Judging the Popular Food Network Competition — ‘The Mother in Me Comes Out’

The latest season of Food Network’s Kids Baking Championship is in full swing. Twelve young bakers face various challenges and surprises from judges Duff Goldman and Valerie Bertinelli to vie for the title of baking champ.

Here’s what Bertinelli shared about how she faces the sweet and, when eliminating contestants, sour parts of the competition.

Food Network star Valerie Bertinelli wears a long-sleeved black blouse while promoting 'Kids Baking Championship' in 2019.
‘Kids Baking Championship’ judge Valerie Bertinelli | Dominik Bindl/Getty Images

Goldman and Bertinelli were chosen for hosting duties in 2015

At the time that Kids Baking Championship premiered, Goldman had been serving (and still serves) as a judge on Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championship. Bertinelli had been fronting her own in-the-kitchen show, Valerie’s Home Cooking for the network, now in its twelfth season.

The two came together as the judging team for the junior bakers’ competition with the full endorsement of the culinary channel.

Food Network released a statement at the time through General Manager and Senior Vice President of Programming Bob Tuschman: “Duff Goldman and Valerie Bertinelli are the perfect hosts of Kids Baking Championship. Their charisma, boundless enthusiasm, and unwavering encouragement expertly lead these young competitors through the obstacles and challenges of the baking championship.”

Bertinelli revealed choosing who goes home is one of the judges’ most difficult challenges

Maybe eliminating the 10-to-13-year-old contestants has gotten easier for the culinary television personality in the years since the show premiered. But at the time of the first season, the former Hot in Cleveland star expressed her heartache at having to handle that side of the job. At the same time, as Bertinelli told Food Network, the life lessons each creative contestant takes home from their participation will always serve them.

In a chat with Food Network about the competition and choosing bakers for elimination, Bertinelli could only say, “Horrible! It was awful. They were all so sweet and they all tried so hard, but what I loved about it, too, is that the way the world works is not everybody can win. So you do your best, you try your best, you give it your all, and if you still don’t make it, it’s OK. 

“You can try harder next time and for anything else. And, if anything, take the criticism and the comments just to help to make yourself better next time.”

Valerie Bertinelli says her maternal side emerges when she’s judging the competition

Speaking with BUILD series in 2019 about the Food Network junior baking battle, Bertinelli opened up about working alongside the young bakers. It’s clear she feels empathy for the expectations the contestants feel and tries her best to cheer them each on.

“The mother in me comes out pretty well,” the former One Day at a Time star said. “I can definitely be encouraging and the honest part is because I want them all to win. So, I’m trying to give them a little heads-up about what, you know, will help them a little bit more.”

Catch ‘Kids Baking Championship’ Mondays at 8 p.m. Eastern on Food Network.

RELATED: ‘Kids Baking Championship’: 3 of Host Valerie Bertinelli’s Most Popular Baked Creations, According to Food Network