Just before the end of 2018, downtown Johnson City-based bakery and cake decorating company Cakebuds proudly revealed a special announcement to ring in the new year. The local business will be competing on an episode of Food Network’s newest competitive baking show, “Winner Cake All!”
The show, hosted by popular Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis, premiered on Dec. 31, 2018, and will continue to air a new episode weekly for the duration of the season. The Cakebuds episode is scheduled to air on Feb. 18.
Each episode consists of four teams representing the top bakeries from across the country. They work to create intricate cakes to impress clients for the chance to win $10,000. Each team of competitors are hand selected by the Food Network production team.
Owner of Cakebuds, Timmy Norman, spoke out on the casting process, explaining that he had originally been contacted and asked to apply for the show in June 2018. He accepted, and from there the lengthy application process began.
“They sent me a couple different applications, and then I believe there were three Skype interviews and a couple phone interviews,” he said. “For one of the Skype interviews, the last one, I had to do a sculpted cake. I had a six-hour time limit, so they do test you before you are ever selected officially.
“It’s kind of a faith system because they don’t watch you, but they did have me slice the cake on camera to prove it was actually cake and not a non-edible material.”
After completing all these steps, the time finally arrived to compete on television against the other teams of bakers. According to Norman, the most difficult part of the experience came from facing his competitors.
“The biggest thing about being on the show is you are comparing yourself to talent,” he said. “Going on a show like this, you are competing against three other teams that are just as talented as you are. You have to find a balance in staying in your element as well as pushing yourself.”
Having talented competition hasn’t been all bad, though. Norman said that the most exciting part of the journey was meeting new people who shared his interests and goals.
“I met some really great people,” Norman said. “There’s this element of competition, and I wasn’t quite sure I would develop friendships out of that because you are there to win. But just the fact that we all do the same things, we are in the same business, we all hit it off. We talk almost daily since the show, so that’s been really neat.”