Grier Rubeling of Cary and Meghan Morris of Apex compete against top culinary talents for a $25,000 grand prize on the Food Network's "Haunted Gingerbread Showdown" airing this month.
Rubeling got the Food Network's attention after her whimsical gingerbread design called "Reindeer Playing Poker" placed third last year at the Omni Grove Park Inn's National Gingerbread House Competition in Asheville.
It was Rubeling's very first time to enter the storied contest, so to place on the first try is unheard of.
Competing against seasoned professionals on national television, Rubeling saw herself as the underdog. So she came up with a perfect, reality TV strategy: make the audience love you by simply having a great time.
"I'm going to totally make sure I'm trying to be as bubbly and fun with it as possible, even if I'm completely melting down, because I don t want to be embarrassed by my level of experience and by my behavior...so I was very hyper-aware of the cameras and very excited to be there and I really was."
Meghan Morris, who has also entered and placed top 10 with her amazing creations in the Grove Park Inn's national competition since she was a teenager, agreed with Rubeling that the competition show is fun but stressful.
Each episode features three competitors given a limited amount of time to present to the judges a themed gingerbread creation. Morris and Rubeling both admit to having meltdowns in front of the camera, especially when Morris cut her finger, having to get medical assistance before she could continue building her creation.
The three winners from the first round advance to the final round for the grand prize Rubeling's episode airs Sunday, October 13th, Morris airs the following Sunday, October 20th, on the Food Network at 10 p.m. eastern time.