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Talking with Paula Shoyer About Food Network’s Hit TV Show Sweet Genius

paula on foodtv

When we heard our friend, Paula Shoyer, was going to be guest starring on a Food Network show we couldn’t wait to see it! Last month, we told you all about Sweet Genius and pastry chef judge, Ron Ben Israel who just happens to be Israeli.

You may be wondering, how did The Kosher Baker end up on the Food Network in the first place? Well, it turns out this wasn’t the first time Paula auditioned for the Food Network. Several years ago, Paula had her first food show audition for the Food Network Star. She didn’t get on, but she had so much fun at the audition she had to go back for another taste.

Paula made it onto a mysterious list that led to an email a few months later about a Food Network Pastry Competition. She applied and two days later was called to New York for a 25 minute video audition. In the last two minutes they asked her, “Tell us why you think you should be on this show?” and Paula decided to go for broke and said, “You need older contestants on your show.”  Although Paula (in her mid forties) looks a decade less than the age on her birth certificate, most Food Network show contestants look like they just moved out of their parents basement. “I just said it to be funny, but guess what, the joke was on me, I got on the show.”

Paula won a coveted spot on prime time food television, but quickly lost her appetite. “I was very nervous, because I am about flavor and texture and making things accessible. I am not used to doing crazy decorations but then I thought this could be fun and it was.” Paula says the best diet she’s ever been on was getting a shot to appear on Food Network.

paula on sweet genius

“The set was the coolest place I have ever seen, it was incredible and when I found out Ron Ben Israel was the judge, an Israeli, I couldn’t believe it,” gushes Paula. “I just wanted to come on the Food Network and give a voice to those who are kosher, nondairy, gluten-free, etc. the network needs to address those audiences.”

Paula didn’t get to see the final version until it aired on television. So sitting back and watching herself in HDTV last week, must have been quite a thrill. In one tense scene, Paula forgot to plate a scoop of homemade ice cream, a critical part of her dish. “I went into the competition with three basic rules,” Paula recalls, “one, don't cut yourself, two, don't fall down, and three, get everything on the plate. Two out of three…”
Another thing we all learned about Paula is she likes to talk to herself (a lot). “When I asked my kids [whether I talk to myself when cooking], my twins answered, ‘Spatula, spatula, where's the spatula? Oh yeah, here it is!’ and they started laughing. So yes, I do.”

I asked Paula what her biggest lesson learned from the experience, and she answered, “that what I am most talented at as a pastry chef is the ability to create truly delicious, deep-flavored desserts. Chef Ron Ben Israel loved every bite he tasted of my desserts. I learned that I could improve my plating skills.”

If you missed the episode last week, you’ll have to catch it on reruns. If you don’t agree with the outcome, it’s probably because you don’t need a TV show to realize Paula Shoyer is already a “Sweet Genius!”