Review: ‘Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versailles,’ starring Yotam Ottolenghi, Dominique Ansel, Ghaya Oliveira, Dinara Kasko, Sam Bompas, Harry Parr and Janice Wong

September 25, 2020

by Carla Hay

Sam Bompas, Dominique Ansel, Yotam Ottolenghi, Dinara Kasko and Harry Parr in “Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versailles” (Photo courtesy of IFC Films)

“Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versailles”

Directed by Laura Gabbert

Culture Representation: Taking place primarily in New York City and briefly in London and Versailles, France, this documentary about celebrity chef/author Yotam Ottolenghi’s Metropolitan Museum of Art event to celebrate the cakes of Versailles features a cast of white and Asian people representing the upper-class and middle-class.

Culture Clash: The challenge for this event was to bring a modern twist to classic pastry dishes, and there were a few conflicts with the museum staff over what the chefs should and should not do.

Culture Audience: “Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versailles” will appeal primarily to high-end foodies and fans of these chefs. 

A cake display in “Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versailles” (Photo courtesy of IFC Films)

In June 2018, celebrity chef/author Yotam Ottolenghi (who owns and operates Ottolenghi Test Kitchen, a cooking hub/office in London) presented a celebration of the pastries of the legendry French court of Versailles in an event that took place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (also known as the Met) in New York City. The exhibit event, titled “Feast of Versailles with Yotam Ottolenghi,” included the work of several notable chefs who were personally invited by Ottolenghi to participate. The straightforward documentary “Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versailles” (directed by Laura Gabbert) chronicles the behind-the-scenes story about this event.

The movie begins with Ottolenghi in London (where he lives) talking about why he decided to head up this event: “I was looking for the next challenge.” He says the Metropolitan Museum of Art approached him for the job. Ottolenghi remembers thinking, “Why am I getting an email from the Met? I don’t hang out with the Met [crowd].”

Ottolenghi continues, “When I saw that Versailles was the upcoming exhibit at the Met, I was intrigued. Food and art and history meet at one big event at the Met about cakes inspired by Versailles.” Considering that Ottolenghi has a background as a pastry chef, he had this thought of the event: “This is for me.”

Met Live Arts Department general manager Limor Tomer explains the idea behind the Met’s “Feast of Versailles” exhibit: “We think of performance and performance work very broadly, so the art of the kitchen fits very well into that. When we were thinking about Versailles, we were thinking about, ‘How do we give people an embodied way to understand what Versailles was and how it fit socially and culturally into people’s lives?'”

To prepare for this prestigious undertaking and to get a better understanding of the culture of Versailles, Ottolenghi visited Versailles, including the landmark Palace of Versailles. He also worked with a tutor on Versailles history: Bard Graduate Center assistant professor Deborah Krohn, who mentions in the documentary that Versailles was different from most other royal courts because there was no real privacy.

The general public could come and go in the Versailles court, which made the royals and upper-class society feel more accessible to lower-class people, but it also created more social envy, since poor people could see all the luxury that other people enjoyed in the court. Ottolenghi comments toward the end of the documentary that the court of Versailles and Instagram have parallels, since both are open to the public, but people use these forums as ways to boast, show off and create envy.

Ottolenghi opens up about his own background in the documentary. He grew up in Jerusalem, and his parents were academics who expected him to follow a similar career path. After a stint in the Israeli Defense Forces, he graduated from Tel Aviv University in 1997, with a combined bachelor’s and master’s degree in comparative literature. He relocated to Amsterdam, where he edited the Hebrew section of NIW, a Dutch-Jewish weekly magazine.

Ottolenghi’s career path turned to cuisine when he moved to London to study French cooking at Le Cordon Bleu. He still has a passion for writing though, as evidenced by his cookbooks and his articles/essays in publications such as The Guardian and The New York Times. Ottolenghi, who is openly gay, lives with his husband Karl Allen and their two sons. Ottolenghi talks warmly about his family, but they are not featured in the documentary.

Ottolenghi’s international and well-traveled background has clearly given him an open-mindedness to other cultures. His business partner Sam Tamimi, who’s briefly interviewed in the documentary, mentions how they both were raised in Jerusalem, but in very different parts of the city: Ottolenghi grew up in Western Jerusalem (which is predominantly Jewish), while Tamimi grew up in Eastern Jerusalem, which is predominantly Muslim.

This openness to other cultures is why Ottolenghi consciously decided that he wanted to invite chefs from various countries to create pastry art for the Versailles exhibit. In the documentary, he says he started his search by following pastry chefs on Instagram. Ottolenghi says he was looking for “pastry chefs who take their art so seriously that the push the boundaries of technology, flavors, presentation. And it was really important to me that they actually be as dissimilar from each other as possible.”

The chosen pastry chefs were:

  • Dominique Ansel, originally from France and currently living in New York City, this James Beard Award-winning baker is best known for creating the Cronut®, Cookie Shot, DKA (Dominique’s Kouign Amann) and Frozen S’mores.
  • Sam Bompas and Harry Parr, originally from the United Kingdom, this London-based duo known as Bompas & Parr, are conceptual artists who infuse technology in their work and are known for creating extraordinary gelatin art.
  • Dinara Kasko, originally from the Ukraine, has a background in architecture and makes pastries using 3D-modeling technologies.
  • Ghaya Oliveira, originally from Tunisia and currently living in New York City, is a James Beard Award-winning executive pastry chef at Daniel (a famous French restaurant in New York City), and she is known for her reinvention of French-based plated desserts.
  • Janice Wong, originally from Singapore, has a specialty in interactive, edible art, especially with chocolate.

With this dream team assembled, the chefs meet with members of the Met museum staff to go over planning and logistics of what the chefs will create. The Met staffers who are featured in the documentary include art curator Danielle Kisluk-Grosheide, production coordinator Sruly Lazaros and executive pastry chef Randy Eastman.

Ansel, the most famous pastry chef in the group, was an obvious top choice for the exhibit. But beyond Ansel’s name recognition and talent, Ottolenghi explains why he thought Ansel would be a perfect fit for the project, “Everything he does is grounded in tradition but modern.” In the documentary, Wong says she was a less obvious choice and she was surprised to get the assignment, since she is known for her contemporary style. However, Wong says she was intrigued because she got to do pretty much anything she wanted for the exhibit.

The chosen chefs also open up about their backgrounds. While Ansel knew from an early age that he wanted to be a chef (he’s began training as a chef after he left high school), others took a different path to their culinary careers. Kasko has the aforementioned background in architecture. Oliveira used to be a ballerina and later worked for an investment company.

Wong had a background doing “math-oriented work,” but her life changed after she survived a serious car accident where she was hit by a drunk driver. “Everything changed,” Wong says, “Something happened between the left and ride side of my brain. I kind of switched.” And so, she became more of a creative person, which led to her profession as a chef.

The biggest challenge that the chefs face in the “Feast of Versailles” exhibit is creating their elaborate works of art in the limited time that they have. They only have about a week on site at the Met to create their displays. Oliveira says she was “very inspired by nature and the gardens of Versailles,” so she decides to make an ambitious display of cakes with a lot of floral motifs.

Bompas & Parr run into problems because they decided to have some running water through a funnel/water pump as part of their exhibit, only to find out from a nervous Tomer that the Met usually doesn’t allow running water in the gallery area where the exhibit will be taking place. There’s also some Bompas & Parr drama about some items that they needed to have shipped from England, and it’s questionable if these items will arrive on time.

The Met executive pastry chef Eastman creates some conflict when he tells Kasko to add more fat (cocoa butter) to her cake batter, but she disagrees because she thinks there’s already too much fat. Eastman is very condescending to Kasko, by telling her about all the experience he has, and she reluctantly follows his advice. It seems that she only did so out of respect because the Met was the hosting venue. But Kasko ended up being right about her recipe, and she had to redo the cake batter the way she originally planned. All that lost time caused her more stress.

Naturally, the climax of the documentary is the big event, which attracted the type of Met crowd that you would expect. (Admission to the event was at a minimum price of $125 per person.) “Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versailles” isn’t a groundbreaking culinary documentary, but it’s a thoroughly enjoyable look into the process of how this “Feast of Versailles” event was produced, as well as an insightful peek into the personalities of the chefs who created the event’s masterful dessert art.

IFC Films released “Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versailles” in select U.S. cinemas, on digital and VOD on September 25, 2020.

Food Network debuts ‘Cupcake Championship’ series

May 30, 2019

Amirah Kassem (guest judge), Nacho Aguirre (guest judge), Kardea Brown (host) and Maureen McCormick (judge) in “Cupcake Championship” (Photo courtesy of Food Network)

The following is a press release from Food Network:

Food Network showcases the country’s most creative cupcake makers this summer in the new five-episode series Cupcake Championship, premiering Monday, July 1 at 9pm ET/PT. Hosted by Kardea Brown, each episode features four world-class cupcake experts battling to achieve new levels of edible ingenuity in two rounds of competition for a $10,000 cash prize. Judge Maureen McCormick is joined by a revolving panel of guest judges, including Nacho Aguirre, Lerome Campbell, Amirah Kassem, Stella Parks, Gesine Prado and Joshua John Russell, to determine who is named each week’s Cupcake Champion.

“The cupcakes may be small, but the artistry these bakers accomplish is huge,” said Courtney White, President, Food Network. “Our viewers will marvel at the creativity of these cupcakes – they are truly spectacular.”

Each episode kicks off with the Designer Challenge where the four contestants must create cupcakes to celebrate an event or theme, and the judges send the least successful baker home. The three remaining contestants then proceed to the Imagination Challenge, an amped-up battle to create a three-dimensional cupcake tableau with bigger displays and multiple flavor components.

In the premiere episode, the cupcake makers are challenged to make succulent plants out of cupcakes…but things get prickly when one cupcaker is eliminated by judges in the first round. The three remaining competitors take on the delicacies of beautiful flower bouquet designs to see whose flower-bouquet cupcake display will earn them the title of Cupcake Champion and the $10,000 prize. Additional challenges during the season have the competitors making edible snow globes, incredibly detailed pet designs, savory ‘food imposters’, mythical beings and even an entire planet made out of cupcakes!

Go online to find out more about this delicious competition, and head to Food Network’s Instagram page to get to know host Kardea and judge Maureen as they reveal fun facts about themselves. Stay tuned to Food Network’s Facebook page for over-the-top cupcake designs and sweet tips for making dessert masterpieces at home. Join the conversation anytime using #CupcakeChampionship.

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FOOD NETWORK (www.foodnetwork.com) is a unique lifestyle network, website and magazine that connects viewers to the power and joy of food. The network strives to be viewers’ best friend in food and is committed to leading by teaching, inspiring, empowering and entertaining through its talent and expertise. Food Network is distributed to nearly 100 million U.S. households and draws over 46 million unique web users monthly. Since launching in 2009, Food Network Magazine’s rate base has grown 13 times and is the No. 2 best-selling monthly magazine on the newsstand, with 13.5 million readers. Food Network is owned by Discovery, Inc., a global leader in real life entertainment spanning 220 countries and territories; the portfolio also includes Discovery Channel, HGTV, TLC, Investigation Discovery, and OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.

Food Network premieres ‘Reality Cupcakes’ starring Ashley Foxen

July 10, 2018

Ashley Foxen
Ashley Foxen (Photo courtesy of Food Network)

The following is a press release from Food Network:

New York baker Ashley Foxen is known for creating unique, unexpected cupcakes that resemble whatever her clients imagine. Joined by her mom Denise, brother Alex and sister Lindsay, her up-and-coming business has become the go-to spot for bite-sized edible art that can fool even the most discerning eye. In the new series “Reality Cupcakes,” Food Network takes viewers behind-the-scenes as Ashley and her family create cupcakes that look like anything but cupcakes. The eight-episode series premieres Monday, August 6 with back-to-back episodes at 10pm (all times ET/PT) and 10:30pm.

“Ashley’s creativity has a unique twist – her cupcakes are so realistic that guests are in for a big surprise when they take a bite,” said Courtney White, General Manager and Executive Vice President, Programming, Food Network and HGTV. “That’s not a sushi roll, flower pot or T-bone steak – it’s a fully edible sweet creation that fools the senses!”

In the 10pm premiere episode, Ashley debuts her pastrami on rye cupcakes for a thrilled crowd at the 130th anniversary party for New York’s famous Katz’s Deli. Later, a super-chic succulent arrangement is created for sports personality Hannah Storm’s get-together and finally, the Foxen family delivers mouthwatering lamb chop cupcakes with a side of mint jelly to a backyard barbecue. Immediately following at 10:30pm, the crowds at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! are stunned by a magician’s trick using a shrunken head cupcake. Later, the gang brews up a latte made of cupcakes at a local coffee shop, complete with an edible cup and then a bachelorette party brunch toasts with Foxen-made margaritas and burrito cupcakes. Upcoming episodes feature a Shark Week-themed rooftop party with shark head cupcakes, peanut-butter and jelly school lunch cupcakes with edible milk cartons for a milestone performance of Broadway’s School of Rock and a special creation for Coney Island’s Mermaid Parade.

Head online to see the best of Ashley’s unique creations at FoodNetwork.com/RealityCupcakes and on Food Network’s Facebook and Instagram pages. Tell us which ones are your favorites using the hashtag #RealityCupcakes.

  • Premiering Monday, August 6 at 10pm – “All That Katz”

Ashley Foxen debuts her pastrami-on-rye cupcakes for a thrilled crowd at the 130th anniversary party for Katz’s Deli. Later, a super-chic succulent arrangement is created for a Hannah Storm get together. Finally, the Foxen family delivers mouthwatering lamb chop cupcakes complete with a side of mint jelly at a backyard barbecue.

  • Premiering Monday, August 6 at 10:30pm – “Thanks a Latte”

Ashley Foxen’s cupcakes aren’t just tasty — they’re magical! Crowds at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! are stunned by a magician’s trick using a shrunken head cupcake. Later, the gang brews up a latte made of cake at a local coffee shop whose patrons are delighted when they bite right through the cup. Finally, a bachelorette party toasts with margaritas and burrito cupcakes over brunch.

  • Premiering Monday, August 13 at 10pm – “Cupsteaks!”

The Reality Cupcakes team serves up some of the zaniest treats around! Ashley Foxen starts by tricking the owners of a New York City steakhouse with red velvet T-bone steak cupcakes. Later, the Foxens fool some kids at the Staten Island Children’s Museum by making yummy life-like cockroaches and tarantulas. Finally, the team from the Billion Oyster project orders a cupcake seafood tower with oyster cupcakes and cake shrimp cocktail.

  • Premiering Monday, August 13 at 10:30pm – “Killer Cupcakes”

Ashley Foxen’s cakes jump right off the plate at a rooftop Shark Week party. The Foxens then make spring roll cupcakes for an important fashion event hosted by fashion icon Nicole Miller. Finally, the hit Broadway musical School of Rock orders up a wacky school lunch in the form of peanut butter and jelly cupcakes!

  • Premiering Monday, August 20 at 10pm – “Cupcake Comfort Food”

Ashley Foxen makes amazing hot wing and macaroni and cheese cupcakes so realistic the Fleet Week sailors returning home can’t decide if they’re eating appetizers or desserts! She then heads to Times Square where she serves a cupcake twist on the classic New York pizza slice with famous running back David Johnson. Then in preparation of the upcoming basketball season, the folks from Excel Sports Management treat the new recruits to a backyard barbecue with corn on the cob and grilled chicken cupcakes.

  • Premiering Monday, August 20 at 10:30pm – “Give a Dog a Cupcake”

Ashley Foxen makes dog-bone cupcakes for puppies and their owners at a New York City dog cafe. Later, a local influencer hosts a prom throwback party on a double-decker bus and the team from Reality Cupcakes is there for the occasion serving up edible boutonnieres, corsages and even crown cupcakes for the king and queen. Finally, some dancing stars order cupcake canapes for their soiree.

  • Premiering Monday, August 27 at 10pm – “Cupcakes on Parade!”

It’s summertime in NYC and Ashley Foxen is serving up some radical steampunk cupcakes at the famous Coney Island Mermaid Parade! Po’ boy cupcakes will then be served at Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg outdoor food festival and some grilled cheese cupcakes will be taken to Central Park.

  • Premiering Monday, August 27 at 10:30pm – “Dirt, Grease and Cupcakes”

Ashley Foxen and the gang serve up a 1950s greaser party complete with milkshake cupcakes! Later, the zany fans of the Philadelphia Union order up some Philly pretzel cupcakes and a Ben Franklin skull cupcake. Finally, the wackiest twist on a twist is when vegetarian chef Amanda orders up turkey drumstick and fried chicken cupcakes for her whole staff!

Online, see the best of Ashley’s unique creations and check them out on Food Network’s Facebook and Instagram pages. Tell us which ones are your favorites using #RealityCupcakes!

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FOOD NETWORK (www.foodnetwork.com) is a unique lifestyle network, website and magazine that connects viewers to the power and joy of food. The network strives to be viewers’ best friend in food and is committed to leading by teaching, inspiring, empowering and entertaining through its talent and expertise. Food Network is distributed to nearly 100 million U.S. households and draws over 46 million unique web users monthly. Since launching in 2009, Food Network Magazine’s rate base has grown 13 times and is the No. 2 best-selling monthly magazine on the newsstand, with 13.5 million readers. Food Network is owned by Discovery, Inc., a global leader in real life entertainment whose portfolio also includes Discovery Channel, HGTV, TLC, Investigation Discovery, and OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.

Food Network debuts multi-platform holiday Cookie Party

November 20, 2017

Christmas theme cookies

The following is a press release from Food Network:

Food Network will go live Friday, December 8, 2017, with a multi-platform holiday Cookie Party, offering themed content across Facebook Live, Food Network Kitchen, new franchise Food Network Finds, as well as Food Network’s Snapchat Discover channel and leading into December 9’s holiday-themed episode of the Emmy-nominated series “The Kitchen.” This cookie extravaganza invites fans to join the celebration, bring along any questions they may have and will showcase Food Network’s expertise across all things cookie and holiday alike.

“Our Cookie Party cook-along shows the full capacity of what we can do with our digital, linear and convergent platforms, offering content wherever our Food Network audience is,” said Kathleen Finch, Chief Programming, Content, and Brand Officer of Scripps Networks Interactive. “Holidays and cookies go hand-in-hand, and this is a great way to celebrate the season while also entertaining fans.”

Food Network will go live on Facebook starting at 10:30 a.m. ET with Food Network Kitchen: Office Hours offering advice on all things holiday cookies. Food Network Kitchen chefs and staff will recreate some of the most popular cookie recipes fans have grown to love, all while answering fan questions in real time.

Later in the afternoon, Food Network Finds, the popular social franchise, will offer audiences an afternoon cookie-snack when they bring viewers live into a famous New York City bakery.

#InspiredBy, the social convergent series that highlights aspirational food exploration, will feature an exciting, over-the-top cookie created by Food Network Kitchen’s Sarah Balke; and continue to inspire fans alongside Food Network’s newest holiday series, Christmas Cookie Challenge, Monday nights at 10 p.m. ET.

Food Network’s Snapchat Discover channel live story will be celebrating all things gingerbread, as well as looking to break the Guinness Book of World Records set for tallest gingerbread cookie tower.

Sit back, relax, and watch some soothing frosting magic happen as Decorating 101 introduces various ways to flood and decorate cookies.

The entire day-long event will offer a unique opportunity for audiences to interact with experts and virtually sample recipes, as well as take away helpful tips on how to make their own holiday celebrations a little sweeter. For more information, visit http://www.foodnetwork.com/fn-dish and join the cookie-filled celebration using #CookiePartyLive.

FOOD NETWORK (www.foodnetwork.com) is a unique lifestyle network, website and magazine that connects viewers to the power and joy of food. The network strives to be viewers’ best friend in food and is committed to leading by teaching, inspiring, empowering and entertaining through its talent and expertise. Food Network is distributed to nearly 100 million U.S. households and draws over 46 million unique web users monthly. Since launching in 2009, Food Network Magazine’s rate base has grown 13 times and is the #2 best-selling monthly magazine on the newsstand, with 13.9 million readers.  Headquartered in New York, Food Network has a growing international presence with programming in more than 150 countries, including 24-hour networks in the United Kingdom, Asia, and the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. Scripps Networks Interactive (NASDAQ: SNI), which also owns and operates Cooking Channel (www,cookingchanneltv.com), HGTV (www.hgtv.com), DIY Network (www.diynetwork.com), Travel Channel (www.travelchannel.com) and Great American Country (www.gactv.com), is the manager and general partner.

ABOUT SCRIPPS LIFESTYLE STUDIOS Launched in December 2015, Scripps Lifestyle Studios is a digital business division of Scripps Networks Interactive, created to drive digital content innovation and advertising solutions. Combining the digital content operations of HGTV, Food Network, Travel Channel, Cooking Channel, DIY Network, Great American Country, and Genius Kitchen, this full service editorial unit spearheads development of compelling lifestyle experiences across social media, apps, websites, third party offerings, and more. Scripps Lifestyle Studios operates physical locations through the Food Network Kitchen in New York and the HGTV Studio in Knoxville, Tennessee. For more information, visit www.scrippslifestylestudios.com.

 

Food Network stars Jason Smith and Marcela Valladolid are judges on ‘Best Baker in America’

September 7, 2017

The following is a press release from Food Network:

Eight of America’s most elite bakers compete in the all-new primetime competition “Best Baker in America,” premiering Wednesday, September 27th at 10pm ET/PT on Food Network. Through six episodes, bakers from around the country must showcase their baking skills and creativity, as they are tasked with challenges that not only test their technical proficiency, but also their ability to execute under pressure, while under the watchful eyes of the judges: Food Network Star winner Jason Smith and Food Network’s Marcela Valladolid. Each episode the competitors must compete in two difficult rounds, including a Skills Challenge that tests their mastery of the essential technical skills of baking, followed by a Master Challenge that tests their prowess in working with specific flavors and ingredients to create the most authentic and delicious versions of classic baked delights. In the end, the judges help determine which baker moves one step closer to winning $25,000 and earning the title of Best Baker in America!

“When it comes to baking, one must possess skill, discipline and patience, and not be afraid to fail,” said Courtney White, SVP Programming, Scripps Networks Interactive. “These eight bakers will pull out all the stops to show why they have what it takes to be the Best Baker in America, and will inspire viewers at home with their astonishing creations and sheer mastery in the kitchen.”

The bakers competing for the title of Best Baker in America are: Brittani Brooker (Charlotte, N.C. – Executive Pastry Chef); Andy Chlebana (Plainfield, Ill. – Pastry Chef & Culinary Professor); Dwayne Ingraham (Oxford, Miss. – Professional Chef); Margarita Kallas-Lee (Los Angeles, Calif. – Pastry Chef); Adalberto Diaz Labrada (Salt Lake City, Utah – Executive Pastry Chef); Susan Mijeres (San Antonio, Texas – Pastry Chef); Thiago Silva (Boston, Mass. – Culinary Director); Cheryl Storms (San Diego, Calif. – Pastry Chef Consultant).

In the premiere episode, the bakers begin the first in a series of Skills and Master Challenges designed to spotlight their style and ingenuity, while putting their baking brilliance to the test. In the first Skills Challenge the bakers are tasked with baking flawless mini-upside down cakes, and in the Master Challenge, the bakers must create a double barrel or a three-tiered wedding cake for 50 people, using lemon as the featured flavor. Judges Jason Smith and Marcela Valladolid join new Food Network host Adam Rapoport to determine which baker is the first eliminated.

Meet the competitors and get highlights from each episode at FoodNetwork.com/BestBakerinAmerica. Test your baking know-how with our quiz and pick up a few new tips! Tell us which treats are your favorite using #BestBakerinAmerica.

Episodes Include:

Premiering Wednesday, September 27th at 10pm ET/PT – SERIES PREMIERE!
“Cake”
Eight of America’s top bakers gather to begin the first in a series of Skills and Master Challenges designed to put their baking brilliance to the test. In the Skills Challenge, the bakers are tasked with baking flawless mini-upside down cakes. In the Master Challenge, the bakers must create a double barrel or a three-tiered wedding cake for 50 people, using lemon as the featured flavor. Judges Marcela Valladolid and Jason Smith determine which baker is eliminated.

Premiering Wednesday, October 4th at 10pm ET/PT
“Meringue”
Seven bakers remain, and in the Skills Challenge they are charged with making their choice of two different flavors of macaron. In the Master Challenge the bakers must conjure up their own highly creative take on the dessert classic – Baked Alaska – using torched meringue, cake and ice cream, with strawberry as the required featured flavor. One baker is not up to the challenge and is sent packing.

Premiering Wednesday, October 11th at 10pm ET/PT
“Pastry”
Perfect mini fruit tarts using pâte sucrée (sweet pastry) is the challenge that six bakers face in the Skills Challenge. For the Master Challenge, the bakers are given their hardest task yet: their original version of a St. Honoré cake that must contain the elements of puff pastry, pate a choux (cream puff dough), crème chiboust (a type of pastry cream), and a required featured flavor of coffee. One more baker is sent home after the challenge.

Premiering Wednesday, October 18th at 10pm ET/PT
“Café Classics”
Five bakers are left in the competition and in their Skills Challenge they must tackle the temperamental and delicate café classic, Crème brûlée. For the Master Challenge, the task is to bake up their take on the complex and beautiful Opera Cake, a six-layer masterpiece said to evoke the tiers of the Paris Opera House. The required featured flavor is “noisette” or hazelnut. One baker is given their marching orders, as the remaining four are one step closer to the grand prize.

Premiering Wednesday, October 25th at 10pm ET/PT
“Modern Classics”
In their last chance to get into the finale, the four remaining bakers must make Mini Mirror Glaze Cakes – perfectly mirrored on the outside and with an entremet (layered mousse) cake on the inside – in the Skills Challenge. In the Master Challenge, the bakers must bake, plate and present a two-course dessert tasting menu, featuring chilies and fennel. One more baker’s dream ends today as they head home before the finale.

Premiering Wednesday, November 1st at 10pm ET/PT – FINALE!
“Chocolate”
The pressure is on as the final three bakers take on the most revered and beloved of all baking ingredients – chocolate. In the Skills Challenge the bakers must bake a perfect version of the ever-temperamental chocolate soufflé. The final Master Challenge is to create the Ultimate Chocolate Cake — a truly spectacular, elaborately decorated cake that should be the best chocolate cake the bakers have made in their lives, using some type of liquor as the required featured flavor. A winner is declared, becoming the first Best Baker in America and walking away with $25,000.

7-Eleven debuts its first candy-bar topped donut

May 9, 2017

7-Eleven TWIX topped donut
7-Eleven TWIX topped donut (Photo courtesy of 7-Eleven, Inc.)

The following is a press release from 7-Eleven:

7-Eleven, Inc. is introducing its first fresh donut topped with chocolate bar pieces, and the world’s largest convenience retailer selected one of America’s top 10-selling chocolate candies for the honor – TWIX® Caramel Cookie Bars.

The Caramel Bar Made with TWIX Donut is a yeast-raised rectangle bar topped with caramel icing, drizzled with chocolate and sprinkled with chopped TWIX pieces.

Made by Mars Chocolate North America, a single pack of TWIX Caramel Cookie Bars comes with two crunchy cookie bars covered with smooth caramel and enrobed in creamy chocolate. Not only is the new donut topped with chopped pieces of TWIX, it was created to replicate the candy’s caramel-chocolate deliciousness.

“People want to have fun with their food, especially treats,” said Terrell Smith, 7-Eleven fresh bakery category manager. “Premium and specialty donuts are becoming an all-day impulse item that our customers are purchasing when they crave something sweet. With our Caramel Bar Made with TWIX donuts, they get two treats in one, a delicious donut topped with one of our best-selling candy bars.”

Specialty donuts continue to be a hot bakery trend, with fun or unexpected flavors and sweet, savory and surprising toppings and fillings. Previous exotic donuts offered at 7-Eleven stores have included a pink sprinkle version of the one featured prominently on The Simpsons television show and, for the 50th birthday of its iconic frozen drink, wild cherry and blue raspberry Slurpee donuts.

Like all fresh bakery items, the Caramel Bar Made with TWIX Donut is made fresh and delivered daily to 7-Eleven stores. Suggested retail price for the limited-time premium donut is $1.69 at participating stores.

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