Salinas. Image: Food Network

Food Network’s Halloween Baking Championship has a Jackson, Mississippi tie this fall.

Pastry chef, artist, maker and Jackson resident Guillermo Salinas is a contestant on season 7.

“I thought it was a scam when I got [the email],” he said of the casting call. “But I’m glad I sent it in.”

While we don’t know the show’s outcome, hosted by comedian Jon Henson, we know Salinas has survived the first four episodes.

Salinas made his way to Jackson, Mississippi, from California for further education.

As a trained pastry chef, he had hoped to earn his degree in culinary management. But schools were expensive, he said, and an art student friend recommended he send his sketchbook to Belhaven University.

“If there is one thing I wanted to check off, it was (college),” Salinas said.

With a sister already studying at the liberal arts school in Jackson, Salinas sent his work, along with photos of his chocolate sculpting abilities, and it got the school’s attention.

Salinas told, “(Longtime Belhaven University art professor) Bob Pennebaker asked, ‘What will it take to get you to Belhaven?'”

With art school firmly on his mind, Salinas said he had no intention of continuing in the pastry world.

“But La Brioche opened,” he said. “I told them if they worked around my schedule, I could work there. I loved working with (La Brioche co-owner) Alejandra (Mamud). She taught me so much. I’m really thankful to her for being as good of a teacher as she was.”

These days, Salinas is working with Northshore Specialty Roasters, his father-in-law’s company, and planning for a second child with his wife.

Catch Food Network’s Halloween Baking Championship on Mondays at 8 pm.

Watch Salinas on My City TV