Tag Archive: Ace of Cakes


Great British Baking Show judges

It is really hard to rival the greatest foodie show of all time–Iron Chef.  A palpable battle to the death of sorts, or at least that’s the way it made us all feel.  International theme and haute cuisine met flying five-finger, one-armed shaolin exploding death touch style, with expert chef Alton Brown at the helm of the American version of the show, teaching us how to make our own meals better with a shuffling cast of interesting judges including Jeffrey Steingarten, Ted Allen, Mo Rocca, and even Jeri Ryan.  And it gave Bobby Flay, Mario Batali, and Masaharu Morimotu the status of food royalty.

Other shows are watchable in their own right, inspired by Julia Child’s original idea they expand what we think about food, how we serve it and what ingredients we use.  These include Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, a show that allows us to go local or travel to test the best food around (I eat at one of the featured dives at least twice per week), No Reservations with Anthony Bordain takes us on a tour with a not particularly pleasant foodie to see what’s good around the planet, and no show since Julia Child educates us more than Alton Brown’s Good Eats.  The most fun seems to follow dessert shows, with Chef Duff’s merry band of friends who ran Ace of Cakes making for a great, almost utopian fantasy workplace show and then there was the great Mark Sommers’ run on Unwrapped, where he showed the business of scrumptious candymaking.  My strawberry rhubarb pie is all the better because of these shows.

British baking Show tent

When you bring the “reality show” or cooking competition show into the mix, you get some of the fun of Iron Chef, but at a different level of entertainment.  Top Chef and The Next Food Network Star featured rival food channels showing the ugly side of competition as most reality shows offer these days, with competitors becoming more of caricatures than anything tolerable in real life circumstances.  All but one, that is.  And that show is the gem of a cooking show in its second season in the States on public television, The Great British Baking Show.

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Aliens Naked Vegas

Reality TV is going back to the basics with the fall Syfy Channel series Naked Vegas, and creating something fresh and novel in the process.  The tantalizing title might bring viewers to give the show a try, but it’s the team effort of the five cast members taking on strange client requests and the stunning results of their artistic skill that will keep them coming back for more.  Naked Vegas is the name of a recently developed business by body painting artist Kelly “Red” Belmonte.  Finding her niche by taking her make-up skills to the one city where you should be able to get recurring body painting gigs, she brings together three artists and a friend with some business savvy and we get to watch what happens.  And in an age of tired competition series, it’s a refreshing and fun show to get hooked on.

Herrera Naked Vegas

If you’re looking for name calling, melodrama, and snarkyness, look elsewhere.  You might think this series was modeled after the long-successful Food Network cake shop reality series Ace of Cakes.  Like that series the team is doing a full-time job and like the actual real world, results are expected and required and failure cuts at your reputation and could tank your future business prospects.  But after the first three episodes there are no signs of failure here.  Camaraderie and collaboration win out over attitude and emotions, as the skilled team produces stunning works of human art.

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