This Sunday, Food Network is unveiling the latest episode of its new baking show, Bake You Rich, and Arkansas foodies will recognize a familiar face in the competition.
Carmen Portillo, the owner of Cocoa Belle Chocolates and the state’s first certified chocolatier, will be one of four bakers who will be battling to take home the top prize in tonight’s episode. The episode, entitled Baking Mashups, will pit the four bakers against each others as they develop two innovative dishes that combine elements of different kinds of desserts. Host Buddy Valastro will decide the winner, based on which dish is the most marketable and unique.
Bake You Rich is Food Network’s newest show – Sunday’s episode is its fourth so far – and it provides four bakers with the opportunity to have one of their creations produced and sold online by Buddy Valastro, the Cake Boss. The first round allows the bakers to create a dessert that shows who they are as bakers. The second round challenges the bakers to create an item that they believe will be a marketable item. And the final round pits two bakers head-to-head as they create the dessert that could be sold online.
Portillo got her start in the chocolate world while living in Europe. She strolled into a shop in Wimbledon by chance and fell in love with the magic of chocolate.
“One day I stumbled upon this sweet shop in Wimbledon. It’s funny when I think about the phase I was in and what I was going through at the time. That shop was so peaceful, and it brought about so much joy and excitement, watching the chocolatiers make the chocolate,” Portillo remembers. And me getting to pick out my box for the candy and having something special for me that I hadn’t experienced at home; it was a piece of happiness in this world that I felt was falling apart,” Portillo said in a 2017 AY Magazine profile.
She started Cocoa Belle when she was 24 years old. Cocoa Belle was open in the River Market, but has relocated her shop to Bryant.
Make sure to check out her episode tonight at 10 p.m. on Food Network.