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SALT LAKE CITY — A local pastry shop owner has made it to the top three on Food Network's "Holiday Baking Championship."
Fillings and Emulsions owner Adalberto Diaz was deemed the night's top baker Dec. 13 for his apple-cherry-white-chocolate frangipane tart with green apple sorbet and cherry-apple brandy compote in addition to his pretzel-crusted flourless chocolate cake with sauce pears and salted caramel, according to Utah Valley University.
Diaz, an adjunct pastry and baking professor at UVU's Culinary Art Institute, has won several American Culinary Federation medals, such as the 2012 National Pastry Chef of the Year.
"I usually get to critique my students' work, and sometimes I can be harsh without really trying," Diaz said in a statement. "Having to be on the other side of the table for eight full episodes has given me a different point of view, and I think it made me a better person and a better teacher."
Diaz has competed against other bakers for $50,000. The final episode will air at 7 p.m. Sunday and will see the finalists baking and decorating a sugar cookie tree. In the last heat, the contestants will be assigned a holiday tradition that they are to turn into a decorated cake.
Diaz has been baking since he was 9 years old in Cuba, where he learned from his grandmother.
Fillings and Emulsions made almost a quarter of a million dollars in sales in 2014, and this year, the pastry shop has made nearly half a million dollars in sales.