Putting baking skills to the test

Local chef competes on Food Network’s new desserts competition show


On most days, Andra Chisholm can be found creating mouthwatering desserts in the coffee shop at Daytona State College’s main campus in Daytona Beach. She also is the head baker in the Culinary and Hospitality Department, where that job includes helping students with their cooking skills.

“Dessert Games,’’ with Andra Chisholm as a contestant, debuts Monday on the Food Network.

The world soon will see what she can whip up in the kitchen.

Chisholm will appear next week on Food Network’s new series, “Dessert Games,” hosted by world-renowned pastry chef and TV personality Duff Goldman. The show will include appearances by Goldman’s good friend restaurateur and TV host/personality Guy Fieri.

Found on LinkedIn
“You grow up watching Food Network and you never think that you would even be considered to be on a show. I am truly honored. I know that there were thousands of applicants. I feel good about myself and my skills,” Chisholm noted.

The Daytona chef didn’t seek to be a contest on the new show although she did go through the application process.

“Someone from a casting agency found my LinkedIn page online and asked me if I was interested.

I thought it was a scam at first,” she told the Daytona Times.

“I ignored the message, but they kept messaging me, so I finally responded. I did some Skype interviews with several rounds of different producers and was selected for the show.”

Monday debut
Chisholm can’t reveal any details about the outcome of the show, which was taped months ago. She did say that it was a great experience and she wasn’t nervous at all.

“I would only say that it’s quite challenging, but that is what we chefs do is rise to a challenge,” Chisholm remarked.

“Dessert Games’’ will debut at 8 p.m. on Monday, July 10. At the end of the series, the winner wins $10,000.

Parents were chefs
Chisholm enjoys cooking, especially desserts.

Andra Chisholm works on a dessert with chocolate. Her goal is to open a chocolates and confections boutique.

She said, “I love making anything pie-related. I also like cooking with ice cream and I love to make cheeseburgers.”

Growing up in Sacramento, California, Chisholm had no plans to be a chef.

She told the Times, “I grew up around cooking because both my parents were chefs when I was younger. I didn’t think I would want to make a career out of it. I wanted to be different. Things shifted when in school, so I decided to do culinary.”

Restaurant experience
Chisholm has worked at several restaurants as a chef, hostess and pastry chef. That experience helped her on the show. She said those establishments include Daytona Beach Hilton & Oceanfront Resort, Joe’s Crab Shack and Ruby Tuesday.

“I also did an internship at the Pastry Studio, which sparked a whole new passion for the dessert side of things and that is when I got the job at Daytona State,” she commented.

“These jobs definitely prepared me just by working in high volume and high-stress situations. I was able to transfer those experiences into the TV show. I was used to creating dishes within a short time frame.’’

‘Great career choice’
For Chisholm, becoming a chef was an ideal career choice. She encourages youngsters to consider the field.

Chisholm told the Times, “I love the field and it is going to continually grow. I have been doing it for the past 10 years. I have been able to develop my skills.

“Everyone has to eat. People don’t know how to cook. They like to go out and spend time with family. The market is definitely there. Even in Daytona, they are bringing a lot of great restaurants. I think this is a great career choice.”

After high school, Chisholm attended Oklahoma University on a track scholarship.

She transferred to Bethune-Cookman University but only stayed one semester before transferring to Daytona State College, where she earned an associate’s degree in culinary management.

Working on master’s
She then earned her bachelor’s degree in event management at the University of Central Florida and is pursing a master’s at the university in hospitality and tourism management.

She has been living in Daytona for the past seven years since she started as a student. Married for two years, Chisholm met her husband, Jay, who is from Tampa, while they were attending school in Daytona.

What’s next
Expect a lot more decadent desserts from Chisholm.

“I want to further my education. I would like to teach culinary classes at the university level. Most require a master’s degree or Ph.D.,” she added.

“I would eventually like to open my own luxury chocolates and confections boutique. That is one of my specialties – to do all things chocolate.’’

For more information on the Food Network’s “Dessert Games,’’ visit www.foodnetwork.com/shows/dessert-games.



  1. Congratulation’s to my fellow alum Andra, good luck on the show and all your future endeavors. I’m very proud of you Andra, aka movie star !!!!


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