One local resident was chosen out of about 10,000 applicants to compete for the chance to win $10,000 on the Food Network’s seasonal special “Christmas Cookie Challenge.” Velma Perez, the owner of CookieGram in Cy-Fair, will be featured on the show Dec. 16 at 9 p.m.

With no professional background in baking, Perez said she embarked on an entrepreneurial venture about two and a half years ago when her family needed supplemental income.

She said she stopped into a cake supply shop and bought beach-themed cookie cutters but felt guilty knowing money was tight. As soon as she left the store, she received a call from a woman who had been referred to Perez by a mutual friend and happened to want to order several dozen beach-themed cookies for an upcoming event.

“I share this story with everyone just because that’s the truth and the reality of what catapulted me into this cookie venture,” Perez said. “That’s kind of where my story begins with CookieGram.”

About a year ago, a casting official from the Food Network reached out to Perez, and she said she went through several rounds of interviews and challenges to qualify for the competition. In February, the network flew her out to Hollywood to film her episode.

“I kind of went in very naively not knowing what to expect,” she said. “I was just so enamored by the idea that someone like me with no real professional training or culinary experience could have an opportunity like this.”

The show is hosted by Cypress resident Eddie Jackson and features a series of competitions in which bakers create custom holiday cookies. Learn more at