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TLC's 'Next Great Baker' Comes to Turtle Back Zoo

Episode of baking competition will air Jan. 2

Mix one part sugar, two parts flour and three parts animal and you've got yourself a recipe for the next baker's challenge.

TLC's "Next Great Baker," featuring Buddy Valastro from "Cake Boss," came to Essex County's to film its most recent episode, "Gators, Chimps and Bears … Oh My!"

The show, in its second season, features 13 bakers competing for a grand prize and a shot to work with Valastro himself.

Valastro stars in Cake Boss, a reality TV series that premiered in 2009 and takes place at Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken.

While New Jersey is no stranger to Valastro and the Cake Boss crew, Essex County officials were excited to be the backdrop of Valastro's new show.

"It was a great experience having 'The Next Great Baker' film at Essex County Turtle Back Zoo," Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. said in a statement to Patch.

"Being on TLC will be an opportunity to highlight our diverse family of exotic animals and introduce Essex County's Turtle Back Zoo to a wider audience. After seeing the show, we hope more people will come out and experience our first-class educational and recreational facility."

The competitors arrived at Turtle Back Zoo in early September for a full day of filming, county officials said. The zoo remained open throughout the day and no exhibits were closed during the shoot.

The zoo was also and has been part of other productions including the Sopranos, Romper Room and a Blondie video.

The Next Great Baker will air Monday, Jan. 2 at 9 p.m. on TLC.

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