Food & Drink

Sharon Thompson: Lexington baker a combatant on Food Network's 'Cupcake Wars'

For Cupcake Wars, James Brown made mint julep  chocolate cupcakes. They sell for $2.79 each at his bakery.
For Cupcake Wars, James Brown made mint julep chocolate cupcakes. They sell for $2.79 each at his bakery.

Earlier this year, Lexington baker James Brown received a call from Justin Willman, host of Food Network's Cupcake Wars, asking whether Brown wanted to participate in the popular competition.

After he realized that it wasn't a prank call, Brown agreed to send an audition tape. But Brown didn't know much about making a video, so he turned to his Facebook fans for help. A friend responded and made the tape, and Brown was chosen to be one of the four bakers to face off in three elimination challenges, with a prize of $10,000.

Brown and his assistant, Leighann Mogenhan, flew to Los Angeles for the show in March. Brown is not allowed to talk about the outcome, but you can see how his cupcake finished when the show airs at 8 p.m. Tuesday on Food Network. You can watch Brown's audition tape at

Brown's Bakery is at 1226 Versailles Road, close to The Red Mile Road. He opened the bakery in Meadowthorpe in 2006 and moved to a new location earlier this year. Call (859) 225-8400.

An expert's take on tea

London tea expert Jane Pettigrew, author of The Social History of British Tea, will stop in Lexington before she begins a North American book tour to Toronto, Cleveland and Las Vegas.

Pettigrew, who has co-authored tea books with Kentucky tea authority Bruce Richardson, will speak at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Headley-Whitney Museum, 4435 Old Frankfort Pike. Tickets are $30.

Because the Granger silver exhibit at the museum includes King George III's silver service for 60, Richardson said he "thought it appropriate that a London tea expert should speak during the Lexington run."

Richardson, tea blender for Elmwood Inn Fine Teas in Perryville, will lead a tea tasting and sign his newest publication, The Book of Tea. Call (859) 255-6653.

Deadline approaching

The deadline is July 1 to enter dishes in the cooking and baking competitions at the Kentucky State Fair. The fair runs Aug. 18 to 28, and advance registration is required for all entries. Call (502) 367-5190 or go to

Here's a list of the contests.

■ Fleischmann's Yeast "Bake for the Cure." Make any flavor or shape of baked good using any type of Fleischmann's Yeast.

■ Pillsbury pie-baking championship. Make any dessert pie using one or two Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts.

■ The Great American Spam Championship is looking for the best Spam breakfast with a maximum of 10 ingredients.

■ The Ghirardelli Chocolate competition calls for tempting treats, cakes and desserts featuring Ghirardelli chocolate.

Breakfast offerings

Barbara Harper-Bach will sign copies of her latest cookbook, Blue Ribbon Breakfasts, from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at Joseph Beth Booksellers in The Mall at Lexington Green. Go to