Parishioners watch Father Kyle Schnippel debut on tv cooking competition
More than 100 people gathered at St. John Neumann Church in Pleasant Run Farms to watch their pastor, Father Kyle Schnippel, compete in “The Great American Cooking Show” Thursday.
Spoiler alert: He isn’t going to win. At the end of the second episode (two are aired each Thursday for three weeks; last week’s episodes were the first two), Father Schnippel went home.
But for parishioners, friends, and coworkers, just seeing the former vocations director for the archdiocese on television was a thrill. And eating some of the treats he prepared for the show was a bonus.
People gathered in the hall, decorated to look like a Tuscan villa with murals and faux painting, an hour ahead of the watch party to hear Father Schnippel answer questions about the show and sample the food. He commented throughout the programs – participants weren’t given previews, so he was as surprised as the rest of the room to hear himself mentioned as a candidate to leave at the end of the first episode – and answered questions at the breaks.
For instance, though the judges’ comments on each bake take only a few minutes on the show, they lasted much longer and each baker got a thorough critique. “I’m kind of glad they didn’t air all the things they told me,” he said.
The crowd clapped and cheered every time Father Schnippel appeared, and laughed when he made faces of alarm or exasperation. When the show ran a clip of Father Kyle at Mass, saying, “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” everyone answered back, “amen.” When television Father Schnippel continued with, “the Lord be with you,” everyone in the room answered with a genial “and with your spirit.”
Judging from the reaction on social media, not just in the room, Father Schnippel’s appearance was a hit with viewers, even if his “bakes” weren’t top with the judges. His ambitious attempts at the show’s requisite “show stopper” bakes, his sunny personality, and his offering encouragement to the other bakers (for those who have never watched: it’s an encouraging kind of show) were all mentioned by viewers.
And the judges liked him too. “We absolutely loved having Father Kyle in the tent,” said judge Johnny Iuzzini, at the end of the second show. “He was such a joy to speak to. He was so interested in becoming a better baker. He just never found his way to a perfect bake.”
Watching the judges critique Father Scnhippel and the other contestants wasn’t easy for everyone. His former coworker Wayne Topp, who is assistant director of the Vocations Office, said he couldn’t imagine baking under the cameras, with judges watching and the time clock running. “I went to culinary school for a while, and I took a pastry class,” he said. “When they gave us an assignment to cook, I was losing my mind! And I wasn’t trying to do all the elaborate things they are.”
Local fans of cooking priests have no reason for despair: During the party, Father Shnippel announced that he and Father Leo Patalinghug, a cooking priest and television host who once beat “Iron Chef” Bobby Flay on a Food Network cooking show, will have a cookoff at the parish on January 20.
And local fans of “The Great American Baking Show” have no reason for despair either: Cincinnatian Jessie Salzbrun is still on the show and still has a chance to win baking glory. Father Schnippel’s parishes will continue their watch parties, and you can watch at home on ABC.
Watch the first two episodes online at ABC.go, where you can also find two recipes from last Thursday (including Jessie Salzbrun’s champion cake recipe). Watch the next four episodes at 9 p.m. Dec. 14 and 21 on ABC.