or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

What would you do?

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
So suppose you were contacted by a production company for the Food Network and you were asked if you wanted to participate in one of their "Cake Challenges". $10,000 goes to the winner. You're allowed to bring one assistant. The contest is in Denver, and they will pay your plane fare and hotel, but all other expenses are up to you. They provide kitchen space and some equipment, but you have to pre-bake your cakes and bring all your tools, and other ingredients like buttercream, fondant, chocolate, molds, rolling pins, etc. So that either means shipping it all out ahead, or making a really long drive.

The contest goes as such:
You have no idea what kind of cake you will be creating. You are told the theme and requirements only a half hour before you have to start decorating it. You get a half hour to do any design work, then you have either 6 or 8 hours to complete the cake. I get conflicting info on how much time you actually get. Then a group of judges determine the winner.
Oh boy.

So you've probably figured I've been offered this opportunity. It entails everything that I can't stand.....decorating in front of an audience, judges and cameras. Being under a time limit. Given no time to research the design and think out the architecture of it. These are all things that would lead me to tell any client that asked this of me to take a walk. I mean geez, I consider a week to be short notice in some instances. It's all crazy.

As I see it, the likelihood of me winning such an event is pretty close to zero. I don't do well under pressure. If I did participate I would have no expectations about winning.....it would be about the personal challenge of doing things I absolutely fear and dread to the core of my being. Does that sound fun to me? Not really. I'm 99% sure I'm going to turn this offer down.

So here's a question for you all......what would YOU do?
post #2 of 39
We are often our own worse critics. The fact that food network contacted you for such an event means you must be a true master of your craft. I have seen similar "Challenge" episodes, and every one of the participants (including the ones that dont win), are true artists.

If you were good enough to be asked, that means you must have some serious talent. I would talk to whomever you would select to be your assistant, get their perspective, throw away all negativity, and seriously decide on whether this is feasible or not. Even if you don't win, you could definitely prove to yourself that you can work under pressure, in front of an audience and judges.

I've seen some really nasty messups on these challenges, the most disastrous being a sugar sculpture that collapsed and turned into to a mess of shards.

If you do make it to the show, let us all know here so we can root for ya. Best of luck!
post #3 of 39
Oh My Gosh, are you kidding me?? I would jump at it in a heartbeat.:bounce:
And since I know what you are able to do, I have NO DOUBT!, you would make your presence known!
It isn't like you are interviewed non stop, and once you get in the zone I am certain you would be spectacular!!!!
And not that there aren't a million options for you, but if you want someone to assist you that thrives on chaos, and enjoys the spotlight, I am available and 5 hours down the road.

Go get em!!
thedessertdiva
post #4 of 39
P.S.
If you turn this opportunity down, you will KILL ME!:crazy:
post #5 of 39
Me? I would suck at it.

You? Heck, if they're asking YOU, that means that you've got the chops for it.

Consider the time and expense an investment in your and your business' future. That's an investment that's sure to pay immediate dividends. Even the "losers" get great exposure and the ability to market themselves and their products "as seen on Food Network."

Go for it! (Oh. And practice with your assistant under as close a time and pressure situation as you can simulate.)

Good luck and DON'T LET THIS OPPORTUNITY PASS YOU BY.
post #6 of 39
I would say go for it! If not for the award at least for the experience, exposure, and personal challenge. Like you, I do not like to be pushed into the limelight but somehow it was inescapable and after appearing on television and radio shows some of them live, you tend to get used to it eventually. So don't miss this golden opportunity. I have full confidence in you!!
post #7 of 39
Go for it...and good luck to you if you do...congrats on being asked!!:cool:
post #8 of 39
I understand the dread that you would feel, but if you can remind yourself that ALL the participants are under the same pressure, with the same rules constraining them, then you know that you are not at a disadvantage.

Yes, go for it! Remember the exposure you'll get, but more importantly, think of the feeling of accomplishment you'll gain, just by confronting this opportunity. You are a talented cake designer, and I see no reason why you can't win. If it were me, I'd feel the same way, but I'd DO IT.

Maybe you can take some yoga or light hypnosis to relax yourself in the days leading up to it. And watch the show, so you have a full understanding of it beforehand.
post #9 of 39
Go for it! You have the talent! Just go in there and do what ya' do! You'll be great. I agree with Momoreg on the feeling of accomplishment you'll get just by rising to the challenge. Let us know what you decide.
post #10 of 39
If for no other reason than this, you should do it. You really can't buy this type of exposure. Not to mention the fact that it will be good for you in terms of bulking up your confidence in pressure situations, someday you can look back at it and show the kids, the grandkids etc. Who knows what kind of business and other things it can lead to. Remember the old adage "The squeaky wheel gets the grease" paraphrase it to make it fit your situation.
Just getting your name out there means you have won.
Let us know, we'll be pulling for you!
My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
Reply
My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
Reply
post #11 of 39
I suppose the correct response is:

If you've got it, flaunt it.

I've seen your site. you've got it. Go out there and help establish the puget sound as the cake epicenter of the WORLD!!!

(ok, so that last part may have been pushing it)

Erik
Erik

"Health nuts are going to feel stupid one day, lying in the hospital dying of nothing"
-Redd Foxx
Reply
Erik

"Health nuts are going to feel stupid one day, lying in the hospital dying of nothing"
-Redd Foxx
Reply
post #12 of 39
if they asked me.. .i would take it up as a personal challenge... i am not competitive at all . i would expect to do my best and at the very least- advertise my company.. i suggest you do it.. make it a fun thing, not a scary challenge!
post #13 of 39
Thread Starter 
Actually, since Mike McCarey is established in Redmond, I think the Puget Sound already IS the cake epicenter of the world!:lol:

I'm still waiting to hear if I'm one of the candidates to go. The production co. compiles a list of possibilities, then "pitches" them to FN. Then decisions are made and we're all contacted about whether we go or don't go. I'm thinking a decision will come this week or next. A friend of mine in Philadelphia is also one of the candidates and we've been back and forth on the phone and email mutually "freaking out".

The part that freaks me out the most is that I have so little time to give the cake some thought before I have to dive into it. Usually when I design a cake, I think about it a while....especially if it's a new thing I've never done before (which is usually the case-I rarely do the same cake twice).
Only having a half hour to design and think is insanely crazy to me.:crazy:
Then, not knowing what you actually will need when it comes down to making the cake, so you really have to guess what you might use....then there's the hassle of getting it all there.....bleah!

The comforting thing however, was watching the sample show DVD the production company sent me. It was a similar challenge where the chefs did not know what they would be making. In that tiny design time period, they came up with ok designs, but nothing with much "flow" or focus. You could certainly tell the pressure was a big effect on what they came up with. Then some of the problems that ensued in the building of the cakes was fairly horrifying, but I'll tell you, it made for some pretty good (although heart-wrenching) television. If I did as poorly as one chef did, it certainly wouldn't be the worst thing.....and hey, THEY lived through it.....I think.:blush:

My husband says I have to do it (if they choose me). If I don't, he'll probably drag me to the airport kicking and screaming with an offset spatula and a piping bag......:lol:
post #14 of 39
I know - what better reason to prove our dominance unquestionable!
You would probably know better than I, but I think I remember hearing when I was in school that Mike McCarey did one of these shows himself?
Erik

"Health nuts are going to feel stupid one day, lying in the hospital dying of nothing"
-Redd Foxx
Reply
Erik

"Health nuts are going to feel stupid one day, lying in the hospital dying of nothing"
-Redd Foxx
Reply
post #15 of 39
I know I'm not a pastry chef, nor a professional cook, nor many of the other "qualifiers" to butt in here, but...

Okay here goes.

If the opportunity presents itself, go and do.

To help get past the "imagineering" hurdle, I would consider taking a set of "cheat cards" which would basically be 3X5 pictures/skeches of your most successful designs or concepts to have as a back pocket reference.

If you get stuck in the design phase quickly thumb through your "good stuff" to see if there is a technique that will make the transition to what the "theme" is.

If you can incorporate it, great, if it only gives you a little inspiration, that's more than you had 45 seconds ago. If you're still at a huge loss, beat your assitant silly. That's what they are there for, isn't it??

In the engineering world, we have fall back positions that we keep as reference in a little thing called a "Lessons Learned" file. The things that work well are treasures, and the failures are, well they're there too, but as ghosts of past mistakes.

Take your "A-Game" ideas, a big helping of confidence, and an open enough mind to adapt to the spur of the moment theme, and you should have a wonderful time!!
I might be suffering from CDO.
It is just like OCD, except the letters are in alphabetical order.
Just as they should be...
Reply
I might be suffering from CDO.
It is just like OCD, except the letters are in alphabetical order.
Just as they should be...
Reply
post #16 of 39
Thread Starter 
Not just one......several!!! He won the Elvis birthday cake challenge, and the latest wedding cake challenge......he also just recently won the "Villains of Disney" challenge filmed last week. Oh, and he did a sports cake challenge where he did this cool matador holding a cake......and a cartoon cake challenge. Not only that, he's a regular judge at most of the OTHER challenges. Methinks he's almost an employee of the Food Network!!

Hey you guys, I really appreciate your words of support and telling me not to be such a wimp. And I really like that suggestion of beating up my assistant.:lol:
No! I wouldn't do that to my poor Robin! Robin rocks. She'll get me through this if anyone will. I'll be freakin' and she'll be as cool as a cucumber......
post #17 of 39
Wow, now I see what I miss by not having cable :lol:
Erik

"Health nuts are going to feel stupid one day, lying in the hospital dying of nothing"
-Redd Foxx
Reply
Erik

"Health nuts are going to feel stupid one day, lying in the hospital dying of nothing"
-Redd Foxx
Reply
post #18 of 39
I don't know whether they would agree or not, but it can't hurt to ask. I would request from the producers a list of potential themes (like they do with the "mystery ingredient" on Iron Chef) That way you could have in mind at least one idea for each potential theme and then be able to hit the ground running when they tell you which of the themes it actually is.
post #19 of 39
Thread Starter 

*gulp!*

Well, Kids.....it's official......
I'm in. I'm going. I may be a fool but......here goes nothin'!!!:eek:

March 16th. Denver. May the best offset spatula rule.....!

I know of at least two of the people I will be competing with:
http://www.michelledollcakes.com
and
http://www.michellebommarito.com

My goals:
  • to finish my cake and have it be decent
  • try not to be a dork, and
  • try to enjoy the experience no matter how stressed out I get.
Hopefully if I keep my head on straight I will take lots of behind the scenes pics and write about the whole thing on my blog!!!

As for now, I gotta be doin' some preppin'!!!!:p
post #20 of 39
Excellent! :chef:

Just remember, when Duff Goldman totally blew it on one FN competition (his fishing boat cake disintegrated), he lost but got an entire series out of it. Can't remember who won, but Duff's name (and face and laugh) is everywhere.
post #21 of 39
Can't wait! I'm very excited for you and look forward to seeing the competition. At the very least congratulations on even being picked!
My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
Reply
My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
Reply
post #22 of 39
Congratulations, on being chosen. How flattering. What a great opportunity. Go with the plan of enjoying the event, taking it all in, enjoying the commraderie of peers that have similar talents. Put your best spatula forward.


When I compete I take the attitude of "glad to be here" and if I get the call ..hey it's icing (or fondant) on the cake.:D


I for one will be pulling for ya.. enjoy and best of luck.
Scott B
MISC

As far as the Kitchen goes, it is a long, long day that is never really over, you just go home at some point
Reply
Scott B
MISC

As far as the Kitchen goes, it is a long, long day that is never really over, you just go home at some point
Reply
post #23 of 39
Woo-hoo! You're going to be great. Don't fret too much.
post #24 of 39
Thread Starter 
Thank you thank you thank you everybody!
Your encouragement means everything to me!

I do keep thinking about Duff. He's a fun guy....no doubt!
Just goes to show, it's not whether you actually win or lose,
it's how you play the game!!!:roll:
post #25 of 39

I'd ask me to be your assistant?

On the fly creativity is one of my fortes.

From your point of view though, it might just grease some different artistic gears in your head. Facing the beast within...your inner fears...that sort of thing...

Personally I can't see the difference between pressure of creating something spectacular for a wedding or for a challenge. Other than the time constraint and the other stipulations.

The worst thing that could happen? You won't win or you'll get that AWWWWWWWWWW when you drop it trying to get it to the table...

I'd personally love to do it given any chance.

April
post #26 of 39
Not to be a wet blanket or anything, as I really wish you well, but........

I wouldn't consider doing a show like this, even for the fringe benefits, because I honestly feel it is exploitative of our high level professional talents. The compensation package offered is chump change in the grand scheme of things, considering the sponsor money at stake for the networks. Does a star football player go to the pro-bowl for free? Derek Jeter dosen't get a fat check for the All-Star Game? Sells alot of beer.......or butter, in this case.

I also have a problem with my talent/work being used (for free) to furthur (or keep alive) someone else's career, kinda bothers me for some reason........just not interested. And don't forget about signing away the rights to your image, which can be used ad nauseum and non (self) edited, dependent on the contract signed. It could go on for years, and make a lot of people a lot of money, but not YOU!

sorry, I know most people don't see it that way...........have a nice time, really.......

Send us a postcard!

:cool:
post #27 of 39
Thread Starter 
Actually a lot of what you say is some of what I was saying to myself as I was in the process of trying to talk myself out of it. Companies like Food Network do, in a way, trivialize our profession and tend to make it more glamorous than it is.

But on the other hand, when has it been a better time to be a chef? In the past, unless you were the type to make your own cooking show, like Graham Kerr and Julia Child, most chefs, even though talented and sometimes high profile, went largely unnoticed. Our career choice will always be somewhat unglamorous and **** hard work, no matter how good you are, but at least now, food, and careers in food are held in much higher regard than they used to be. When I was growing up in the 70's there wasn't one kid I knew who told me they wanted to grow up and be a chef. Now kids not only aspire to be chefs, there are even kids' cooking classes! I believe the quality of food, and the expectations from the public about food are much higher. That forces us to elevate our skills and our craft.....and that's a good thing, right?

Regarding exploitation, I feel I've been exploited by most of my employers by the quality and volume of work I put out vs. what I'm paid. For as hard as we work, wages are low, and if that isn't exploitation, I don't know what is!

I could turn down the whole opportunity and cry "exploitation!" and worry about how much money FN and their advertisers are making compared to me.....or.....I could participate and find that it might open a window to some new kind of path in my life......or not. I'll never know unless I go. Even if FN uses my image and makes millions and I see none of it, it makes no difference, because I'm not going to see millions of dollars anyway.....I chose this career for the enjoyment of it, not the money.

I've always concentrated on building up my resume, and being able to put a Food Network appearance on it is like sticking on a gold star. Experience and a nice resume gets you better job offers and better money......and that's all good, right? It's a heck of a lot better than blowing off a chance of a lifetime and being bitter......!

:roll:
post #28 of 39

wow!

wow, this whole conversation is amazing to me: first, i went to your website chefpeon and was TOTALLY blown away!!!
xo
jodi
post #29 of 39
Well, well, well! So you’re going to be on Food TV! Congratulations!!!

You have the skills and talent, I have seen your work!!!

You have the passion, I have seen your work!!!

You are humble, I see your online name as Chefpeon. Not exactly bragging to the world about how great you are!

I have to assume you don’t have a wild and outgoing personality, which accounts for your nervousness in front of a camera or a crowd. The thing going for you in this area is your ability to focus and concentrate! You won’t have time to notice the very things that make you uncomfortable! Once they turn you loose to produce, you are going to wonder where the time went!

You’ll do great, trust me!
Have fun!
SGMChef

Don't take my word for it! I wouldn't trust me either!
Reply
Have fun!
SGMChef

Don't take my word for it! I wouldn't trust me either!
Reply
post #30 of 39
Thread Starter 

Not going......

So, after mentally psyching myself up for this personal and professional challenge, baking a boatload of cake, cleaning, sorting and packing my equipment, buying ingredients, getting my airline tickets and hotel booked, release forms signed, recipes submitted, arrangements with my employer made, I got a call from the producer of the show who told me that due to "budget cutbacks" they can only afford to have four people compete in this challenge. Since I was the "new kid" on the block and relatively "unknown", I was the first to go. So I'm out. Not going.

Mr. Producer said I was on the list for future challenges, but who knows what that really means......maybe it's true, maybe not.

To say that I'm really bummed out at this moment is a great understatement. I really was getting mentally ready for this and almost at peace with it actually. I was getting some great ideas in my head for the kinds of cakes I might be able to pull off. I really feel like the rug has been pulled from under me. I guess that's TV for you.

The good news is that I'll be able to concentrate more fully on my new job, although I'm sure my new employers will be equally bummed to find out I'm not going either....they were psyched about it.:cry:
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Professional Pastry Chefs