Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Next Great Baker: Someone Goes Home from a Winning Team

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

So if you're a regular reader you may recall that it didn't take long for me to start casting favorites and rooting for specific contestants in the first two seasons of Next Great Baker. This time around, I've been a little more reserved about who I want to win (and who I think will do well, despite my not liking him/her), but don't worry. After next week (when we're down to ten contestants), I'll be laying it all out there for you. I'm still formulating some opinions (and, let's not lie, I started doing that based on the contestants' backgrounds before the season even began) and look forward to sharing them in the future.

Now, looking at the latest episode... I really enjoyed that the Baker's Challenge relied on the contestants paying attention to Marissa's example cake. Chris walked a fine line in revealing to everyone the color scheme requirements for success - he could have kept it quiet for his own team, but shouting it out allowed Buddy to notice his attention to detail. We've seen the Groovy Girl cake before, and I always find it a bit loud to be a best-seller, but there's no reason to doubt Buddy and Marissa. And, speaking of trusting the judge, I rather enjoyed Lou Ferrigno appearing to give his thoughts on the Superhero cakes in the Elimination Challenge. I was never a fan of The Incredible Hulk, but I thought he was a cool neighbor for Doug and Carrie on King of Queens. Here, he's rather eloquent and to-the-point with his opinions on the cakes, and he's an excellent choice for this particular endeavor as well. My bit nitpick with this episode, however, is that we completely ignore the weak links on Team Melissa. Because of the drama with James, Buddy doesn't need to eliminate one of the team members, allowing the four girls to avoid confronting their team's struggles. I would have liked Buddy/Joey to analyze that cake a little more and the ladies to talk about what wasn't working. But, we'll move on. 

Cake Boss: Next Great Baker "Cake Powers, Activate!" (S03E02): Buddy asks who wants to be a team leader and quite a few hands go up, though notably not those of Letty or James. [Letty probably just doesn't want a disaster like last episode.] Buddy points out that he wants a room full of leaders, but picks Peter, Melissa, and Garrett for now. Those three choose their teams for both challenges, though Buddy assigns the last two to be picked - Letty to Melissa and Paul to Garrett. [I would have liked to hear from a captain why Paul wasn't chosen earlier.]

Baker's Challenge: Marissa demonstrates how to make the GroovyGirl cake (a similar one is seen below, if you're not familiar with the design) in just four minutes and twenty seconds, impressing many of the contestants. The challenge will be for the teams to see how many quality GroovyGirl cakes they can crank out in thirty minutes. [if Marissa could do six in that amount of time, how many would you expect a team of four to do? I'm betting just three.] The members of the winning team each receive $1500 to spend on baking supplies. [I *believe* the website is shopmastrad.com, where the baking section looks fairly interesting.]
Team Melissa (with Gretel-Ann, Jen, and Letty): They use an assembly line and are the second team to have an acceptable cake, though they only have five minutes to make more at that point. [I'm going to attempt this cake next Spring. It'll probably take me an hour, LoL.] They wind up winning, possibly thanks to Jen volunteering to pipe the border when it turns out that is not Gretel-Ann's strength. [I thought that Melissa was a great captain, keeping everyone motivated.]

Team Garrett (with Jess, Chris, and Paul): They are the first team to successfully do the GroovyGirl (probably thanks to Chris noticing the color scheme requirements), though their first attempt was missing the confetti dots and they later have issues with smudging the piped border.

Team Peter (with James, Ashley, and Chad): The last team to present a successful cake, they struggle with cracked fondant and piping (which Chad is better at than Ashley).

Elimination Challenge: The assignment is a three-foot-tall cake that is engineered and tells the story of an original superhero. [what a fun, open requirement!] The teams have twelve hours to complete the task, though after the seventh hour, Buddy decides to cut the time short, leaving them two hours to finish. The guest judges are Lou Ferrigno and Grace's husband, Joey, the Head Baker at Carlo's. Joey explains that the movement needs to work AND be impressive.

Team Garrett (with Jess, Chris, and Paul): Chris is excited about the assignment because he's good at engineering. Chris also envisions the villain, though Garrett builds it a bit cuddly and they have to re-make it. [the end result was pretty sweet.] Zarkane of Zolgar can summon lightning, though the hero is not one of the cake's moving parts. Instead, the cake sparks, there's smoke by the monster (which comes out of the ground), and a billboard spins. They win the challenge, though Jess felt that their cake was the "King of the Stupids" (the least-bad) and Chris thought it was terrible.

Team Peter (with James, Ashley, and Chad): Ashley doesn't know much about wiring, but has an idea for the superhero: a female baker who wears a cat mask at night and battles the rats. Peter questions whether rats belong on a cake, but James thinks they can make it work. [um, I'm with Peter. and Joey, for that matter. rats are okay, but only when specifically requested...] Ashley doesn't have experience sculpting figures but she goes with it as Chad does the electrical, Peter does the details, and James works on the rats. Their painted 3-D rotating storyboard works but their engineering doesn't really come together because one segment isn't working and they can't run the movements simultaneously. [I liked the rat king fight. Chad really selling himself as a jack-of-all-trades in baking is piquing my interest.] 

Team Melissa (with Gretel-Ann, Jen, and Letty): Both Letty and Gretel-Ann worry about working together, but Melissa stops them from arguing. [I was thoroughly impressed that there were no blow-ups this time.] Jen blanks on an idea for the cake, but the team decides to go with Rocket Roquelle, who can fly. [... she stops criminals from robbing a building just because she can fly?] Problematically, none of them have experience with moving cakes, and Jen couldn't get everything working in the end. Letty was able to get the building to spin, the car's headlights to flash, the bad guy to flee, and the superhero's "zapper" to spark, but, as Lou said, the detail was unimpressive and the storyline wasn't there. Buddy also doesn't see the vision for the cake - having a comic book open and a spinning building coming out of it didn't jive for him. [I thought that the 3D page ideas was neat, but the execution didn't work for me, either.] Jen is not impressed with the brickwork and isn't sure about Melissa's leadership, but she also points out that they didn't get through everything that they planned because of the truncated time schedule. Melissa thinks that their cake is the weakest, and the judges agree.

BUT, before Buddy can figure out who to send to the box truck, James re-enters the room, admitting that he's a weak team player because he can't focus on decorating with his health concerns at the moment. He resigns, hoping to have another chance someday. [and I hope he gets it.]
Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Email This Pin This

No comments: