Daniel Knight, owner of Blue Collar Joe’s in Botetourt County, finished in fourth place among four contestants on the Food Network Challenge last night. The challenge required each contestant to create several doughnuts for the judges, as well as to make a sculpture of an animal entirely out of doughnuts.
Daniel told me after the show was filmed but before it aired that it was a hectic few days, and I could definitely tell from watching the show last night that it was a stressful event. All four contestants were critiqued heavily by the judges, and the time constraints caused some problems for Daniel, as well as the others.
Also, may I just ask: What does creating a huge sculpture out of doughnuts have to do with a person’s ability to make good doughnuts? I got a bit annoyed watching these talented doughnut craftsmen (and women) burn up a lot of time creating silly doughnut creatures when they could have been focusing on the unique gourmet doughnuts instead. Daniel’s creations included a banana pudding-filled doughnut, a balsamic-berry basket pastry and an ambitious doughnut with pear, pomegranate and pistachio topping. One judge called him a “closet pastry chef,” a nice compliment, I think.
Daniel did not get a chance to finish the legs and haunches on his dog sculpture, which must have hurt his score with the judges, as did the fact that he didn’t get to finish topping his secret ingredient doughnut in round one. His sculpture was looking really good, though.
However it turned out, I will judge Daniel and Blue Collar Joe’s instead on the dozen donuts I picked up for a dinner party on Saturday night. I was in charge of dessert and thought it would be fun to show up with fancy donuts instead of a cake. You should have seen my friends’ faces light up when I opened the box and they saw all the crazy colors and toppings. We quartered each donut and sampled them all, including the Dreamsicle, the Nutty Buddy, the red velvet cheesecake, berry, cowtail, lemon and more. Delicious, decadent, and downright fun.
Thanks to Daniel for representing Southwest Virginia on the show. Congrats to him for being selected as a contestant, which is truly an honor in and of itself. If you missed or forgot to record the show, click here for rerun times.