DEVILS LAKE, N.D. — Will Devils Lake culinarian Cathy Jacobson and her son, Thomas McCurdy, win the final episode of Fox's "Crime Scene Kitchen"?
That's a mystery that will be solved Wednesday night.
Jacobson and McCurdy are finalists on the weekly show that begins in a kitchen where a delectable dessert was made. During the show, hosted by Joel McHale, teams made up of two people are tasked with inspecting the kitchen for clues and ingredients that will help them determine what was baked. The next step is to make the same recipe, based on their clues, for celebrity judges Curtis Stone and cake artist Yolanda Gampp.
Jacobson and McCurdy and another couple are two of 12 duos that initially competed on the show. There were nine episodes of "Crime Scene Kitchen," which launched May 26. Each of the episodes consisted of two rounds.
The final show airs on Fox at 8 p.m. (central time) Wednesday, July 21.
Jacobson, who retired in April from her job as Dakota Nursing Program coordinator at Lake Region State College in Devils Lake, has lived in the city for 26 years. McCurdy, meanwhile, graduated from Devils Lake High School in 2005. After graduation, he attended pastry school at the the Art Institute of Philadelphia, and since then has worked as a professional pastry chef.
Last year, McCurdy competed on “Chopped Sweets” on the Food Network. After winning the episode, he started receiving emails from a casting company about opportunities, but most of them weren’t something for which McCurdy would have been qualified, Jacobson said.
However, an email that asked whether he is a pastry chef and enjoys solving a mystery caught his eye, his mother said.
“He’s an avid reader of murder mysteries,” she said.
When her son applied to be on the show, he learned he needed a baking partner with whom he had a personal connection. When McCurdy initially asked her, Jacobson turned him down because she didn’t feel confident she had enough experience.
Jacobson is an avid baker and cook who likes to invite friends over for internationally themed dinners, but she isn’t trained professionally. A couple of days later, though, she changed her mind about teaming up with her son. After thinking more about his offer and the great opportunity it afforded her, she told McCurdy she would be his partner on the show, if the offer was still good.
It was, and after filling out paperwork and having Zoom interviews with various members of "Crime Scene Kitchen" teams, including production and casting, Jacobson and McCurdy received word in March that they were selected as contestants.
On April 2, a day after Jacobson retired from her job as Dakota Nursing Program coordinator, she flew to Glendale, Calif., where she and McCurdy spent five weeks filming episodes of "Crime Scene Kitchen."
She believes it is the good chemistry and working relationship she has with her son that landed them a spot on the show. Their cooking rapport continued on the set of "Crime Scene Kitchen."
“In this situation, he is such an accomplished pastry chef, I had no problem letting him take the lead,” Jacobson said.
She enjoyed being a part of the "Crime Scene Kitchen" cast and, even more, the chance to spend time with McCurdy.
It also was fun to be behind the scenes of a television production, she said. Jacobson and McCurdy had a trailer with their name on it at the set, and had their hair and makeup done each day before their episode was filmed.
Being on the show also meant hard work, but Jacobson was prepared for that, she said.
“When Thomas and I went, we knew it wasn’t going to be a vacation. We knew it was a working trip. The team would film for two days in a row. They were 16- to 20-hour days,” Jacobson said.
And at 8 p.m. Wednesday, viewers will learn whether their work results in a prize.
“You will know for sure who the winner is of $100,000,” Jacobson said.