Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Buddy's Bakery Rescue: Lost Causes?

This show is just painful to watch! The latest two episodes featured problems that I found to be really dumb, so I'm surprised those bakeries were chosen for this series. In the first case, the owners were doing just about everything wrong, from exterior look to interior design to flavor to visual appeal... if you need that much help, it's hard to root for you. The problem with the second case boiled down to the fact that they needed to get the air conditioning fixed. I know it's tough to do that sort of thing when you have no money (my family spent a couple Florida summers without a/c), but if the family had tried anything outside of the norm (fans. trade goods for service. window unit. humidifier. something.), it wasn't shown. I love seeing Buddy in action, but I'm hard-pressed to believe these two bakeries were the most deserving of his help.

Buddy's Bakery Rescue "Laura's Sweets Specialty Bake Shoppe" (S02E04): Buddy travels to the artsy town of Sugar Loaf in the Catskills Mountains of New York, where sisters Maria & Laura have been in business together for 18 months. They specialize in custom orders, but are $35,000 in debt and one is about to lose her home. Their operation costs $1500-$2000/week to run, but $2000/week is a really great haul for them. [I'm not going to touch the whole "we also homeschool as we work thing.]

It's very sparse inside, and the decorations outside are horrible. They've had no professional training, their stuff isn't really visually appealing, and Buddy doesn't care for anything he tries (cake, cannoli cream, macarons). [I was shocked that they thought their items looked artisanal! they're not even Wilton quality!] Buddy proves it to them by asking locals what they think... and the responses mention the flavors are store-bought and the looks are something anyone could do. So, Buddy teaches them stringwork and droplines for dummy cakes, and they teach themselves some brushed embroidery. [I really liked the design of the four-tier square cake they made.]

They change plastic picnic tables out front to wooden Adirondack chairs, and re-design the kitchen so there's an area designated for cake decorating, and another for homeschooling. The biggest change, however, was the new menu: fancier designs and an actual little sugar loaf.

Four months later, they're doing okay and keep working on staying artisanal.

Buddy's Bakery Rescue "Not Jus' Donuts" (S02E05): In Houston, a family-owned business has been open 13 years, though the owners only make about $7000/year because of the running monthly cost of $12,000. [I laughed that Buddy drove by it because the signs weren't eye-catching!] The a/c has been broken a while, but they don't have $8,000 to fix it, and they keep their baked goods in plastic containers to keep in the moisture, though that just makes everything look pre-purchased. [also, I agreed that the tablecloths were gross.]

Buddy tries some sweet potato pie, which is perfect. But, the sour cream cake is a bit too sweet and the pecan pie tastes artificial. He changes the recipe, and adds both a donut cake (to play at the bakery's name), and a buttermilk biscuit with fruit and cream to the menu.

He teaches them some fondant flowers, and after they have a four-tier cake, Buddy gets it photographed. [that was an interesting move, as he usually doesn't think pictures are worth as much as dummy cakes and the like, unless maybe it was being published for marketing and I missed that?] They do a major re-design to the front, adding benches and an awning. He also fixes the air conditioning, and gives them an updated decorating room and a sheeter. [this show does really make me want a sheeter, even if I only do fondant cakes a few times a year!] 

Three months later, business has been growing, and they're selling out of $45 cakes.
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