SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Christina Ledesma has a talent for decorating cookies. The Fremont baker posts her creations under the name The Retro Cookie Lady on Instagram.
Growing up, she always wanted to be a cartoonist.
"I like to channel my inner child by creating edible pieces of cartoon because it just makes me happy. It brings back a similar time and I actually came up with 'The Retro Cookie Lady' because I like things that are nostalgic," Ledesma said.
On Monday, Ledesma will be competing against the nation's top cookie makers in Food Network's "Halloween Cookie Challenge."
"Seeing Duff Goldman and Rosanna Pansino was so unreal, and I just took it all in, everything about was just so exciting," Ledesma said.
Ledesma can't share details of the episode they filmed in the spring.
It was back in March when a Food Network casting producer discovered her edible artistry through her Instagram page.
"It was a three-step interview, and during that third interview I actually had to do a timed demonstration for them," Ledesma said.
Ledesma thought she bombed one of the final interview questions when they asked her, "What do you love about Halloween?" She immediately thought of her mom.
"Growing up as a child my mom made all the holidays special for us, for me my sister, my brother. She was a single mom so for every Halloween she would always come to our schools and dress us up in costumes and take us trick-or-treating. So as an adult I can see now that she sacrificed so much to there for us at that time and it just makes me love her so much and so that's the reason why I love Halloween," Ledesma said.
Ledesma bakes as a hobby. She's a mom of five and is currently a student at San Jose State majoring in psychology.
"So I could be a member of my community and serve my community in a bigger way," Ledesma said.
As a young mom Ledesma focused on her children and work. Now, she's focusing on her education and the creative outlet that allows her to balance it all.
"No matter where you come from no matter how difficult life is you can still go after your dreams that everybody goes through challenges in life but my takeaway from this is that our past doesn't define who we are," Ledesma said.
Ledesma has no plans to stop baking anytime soon. When she's not busy with her kids or schoolwork, she bakes 2-4 dozen orders weekly.
"If it wasn't for my mom, my husband and my family I couldn't do it," Ledesma said.
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