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Chef Shiller Returns to Food Network's "Cupcake Wars"

January 11, 2012

Casey w Drs Hess and Dorsey for web

Chef Casey Shiller with President Cindy Hess, center, and Chancellor Myrtle Dorsey at "Cupcake Wars" viewing party June 28, 2011. (David Kennedy photo)

Executive pastry chef Casey Shiller has gone Hollywood again.

Shiller, baking and pastry arts coordinator in St. Louis Community College’s Hospitality Studies program, returns to the Food Network’s competition series “Cupcake Wars” this Sunday, Jan. 15, for “Winner’s Episode: Battle of the Champions.” It will air at 7 p.m. central time, and repeated at 2 a.m. Monday and again at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17.

He and teammate Dana Holland, executive chef of Jilly’s Cupcake Bar & Café in University City, were among the four winning pairs invited back from 124 teams, and the only duo from Season 3. Last June 28, they won the $10,000 grand prize for the third episode, “The Final Frontier,” which featured an outer space theme.

“We’re very excited to represent the college and Jilly’s,” Shiller said. “It’s a huge honor. There are no losers. We’ll see how the events unfold Sunday. Regardless of the outcome, we’re all winners. It’s just that someone gets to win a second time. These were all quality teams.”

Shiller is also director of baking and pastry at Jilly’s. He was named the Forest Park campus’ Co-Teacher of the Year in 2010 and received Missouri Community College Association’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2011. A native St. Louisan, Shiller’s culinary career includes stints at Donald Trump’s casinos and hotels in Atlantic City and restaurants in Florida, Chicago and upstate New York.

The cable network’s series, shot in Los Angeles, pits the country’s top cupcake bakers against each other in several elimination challenges. The theme for this clash of the titans was the American Music Awards. For Round One, they had to create a cupcake centered around an artist and song. Shiller selected “Brown Sugar” by the Rolling Stones.

While he is under contract, Shiller can’t share too many details. He is only allowed to discuss what aired during the show’s 42 minutes, and he won’t see the final cut until Sunday, like the rest of the nation.

The four cupcakes they created for competition can be purchased at Jilly’s on Monday. The pair will make an appearance on KSDK’s “Show Me St. Louis” Monday, Jan. 16.

Last June’s sweet victory was a game changer for the gourmet bakers, who experienced record sales and national notoriety.

“It’s been huge,” Shiller said. “The outpouring of support for us has been incredible. It’s unbelievable the amount of interest. During the holidays, people came in from all over, said they were passing through St. Louis and had to stop here.”

Shiller said they used their summer winnings to expand and remodel Jilly’s, 8509 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63124, going from 1,400 to 4,100 square feet. They now have a liquor license and their Sunday brunch was recently voted tops in a local reader’s poll.

On Jan. 20, they will open a satellite location in the Colonnade Center in Des Peres. “It’s exciting! It comes at a great time,” Shiller said.