Virginia Western Community College chef John Schopp will be one of seven competitors in the Food Network’s Halloween Baking Championship, which premieres at 9 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 3. The winner of the five-week competition will take home a grand prize of $25,000.

Schopp is a faculty member in the Al Pollard Culinary Arts Program at Virginia Western, specializing in baking and pastries. He also owns Center Stage Catering in Rocky Mount.

During the Halloween Baking Championship, comedian and ventriloquist Jeff Dunham and his sidekick, Walter, will challenge the bakers’ abilities to create creepy crawly confections for judges Damiano Carrara, Carla Hall and Sandra Lee.

Each week, the bakers face tough challenges from making bite-sized monster morsels, to wickedly-decadent desserts stuffed with trick-or-treat candies, as well as creepy clown cake-pops and goodies of ghostly graveyards. The last three bakers who impress the judges with their spellbinding sweets will face the ultimate challenge in the grand finale – baking, designing and decorating a haunted “gingerdead” house. Fans can go behind the scenes of this spooky competition and see the creepy creations up close at, and they can join the confectionery conversation on Twitter using #BakingChampionship.