Christine Vienna

Contestant Christine Vienna, during the first challenge, as seen on Food Network's "Cupcake Championship," Season 1.

FOOD NETWORK

A Johnstown baker fell short of claiming Food Network’s “Cupcake Championship” this week.

But Christine Vienna said Wednesday she doesn’t regret a minute of the experience.

“It was so worth it,” she said. “I loved every minute.”

Vienna, who is opening an in-home West End bakery called Live Cook Love in August, was one of three contestants who appeared Monday on the episode “Cacti to Chrysanthemums.”

The talented trio had to impress the judges with a series of succulent and sometimes floral designs – at one point topping cupcakes with miniature bouquets.

The panel included Maureen McCormick, known for her role as Marcia on The Brady Bunch, and celebrity baker Amirah Kassem.

A California bakery owner, Sarah Thongnopneua, won the contest, taking home the top prize of $10,000.

“We all became friends,” she said, noting that’s she has kept in contact with fellow contestants and judges in the weeks since the show was filmed. “Working with Food Network was great. It was such a family atmosphere.”

Vienna has a background in acting but over the past year started putting more focus into baking.

She moved to Johnstown in the spring and is in the process of turning a century-old West End home into an in-residence bakery and studio for her YouTube cooking show.

Just like her bakery, it’s called Live Cook Love.

“I originally started the YouTube channel awhile ago, but then I never really did anything with it,” she said. “I feel like all the right ingredients are in place now. The timing is perfect.”

In the days since the show first aired, Vienna said she’s received a wave of support – and well-wishes from across the region.

“My social media audience is growing, too. So it’s all really exciting,” Vienna said.

While work is ongoing on her studio, Vienna plans to debut her bakery to the Johnstown area on Aug. 1.

“Having a cooking show is fun – but when you’re baking for someone else it’s a whole different experience. You get the chance to hand it to them face-to-face and see their reaction,” she said. “And that makes it so much more special.”

David Hurst is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5053. Follow him on Twitter @TDDavidHurst and Instagram @TDDavidHurst.