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Ace of Cakes & Hygiene

2top Apr 22, 2008 10:22 AM

I watching Geoff making a guitar cake with dirty finger nails. Does it bother anyone else that the cake decorators don't have gloves or hair nets?

  1. g
    gigika38 Oct 5, 2012 11:52 AM

    wow she or he here just make a littel observation, i do watch the program and i find those guys awsome! the cakes are beautiful., have no ideia what the taste like, but i agree, they should wear hair nets, apron, and make the place lass messy!! comum sence!!!

    1. m
      mojoeater Jun 28, 2011 08:49 PM

      The handmade figurines on these cakes are not meant to be eaten. They are usually 100% fondant, which also covers the entire cake. I don't know anyone that eats that nasty stuff. And if someone breathes on it, any germs stop on the outside since the fondant is so dense. Sure, they could potentially contaminate the interior when cutting the cake, but that is usually many hours or even a day after the decorators handled it. The risk is minimal. If I liked cake, which I don't, I would have no problem peeling the outer layer and eating one of Duff's cakes.

      1. i
        inhalethecake Jun 27, 2011 02:57 PM

        What I don't like is when they talk so close to the cake, you just know some spit is flying off and hitting the cake. YUCK!
        They should watch it; some people are immune-deficient and vunerable to infections. The human mouth is really germy!

        1. Azizeh Apr 5, 2010 01:59 PM

          I remember watching one episode where they were working on a little polo man, or something similar. The cake fell on the floor and they picked it up, undamaged. A big disclaimer came on the screen that the cake was properly sanitized after it hit the floor. Not sure how you sanitize a cake, but I'm guessing they made a point of telling us because so many people have complained about the sanitary conditions.

          The thing that bothers me the most is the hair. The girls never have their hair in a ponytail, it's always hanging in their faces and getting awfully close to the food.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Azizeh
            Scott_R Apr 11, 2010 11:51 AM

            I've been trying to find which episode this is (the sanitized cake). Does anything here ring a bell?

            1. re: Scott_R
              Azizeh Apr 13, 2010 11:11 PM

              I really wish I remembered what else they worked on that day. It was a little horse jockey cake... just the actual figure itself, standing up. If I remember right, he was wearing white pants and a green shirt.

              I can't tell you what year the show was from, but I had a friend with me and I believe we watched the show on January 8th of this year (she was in from out of town for only a couple days, which is how I remember that.)

            2. re: Azizeh
              inhalethecake Jun 27, 2011 02:58 PM

              Oh, gawd - hair is GROSS!!!

            3. i
              inhalethecake Mar 31, 2010 05:29 PM

              Oh, yeah. i don't watch this show anymore for that very reason. I also HATE the way they talk and breathe all over the cakes when doing fine work up close. GROSS! Cake Boss are a bit cleaner in my view.

              3 Replies
              1. re: inhalethecake
                pikawicca Mar 31, 2010 06:18 PM

                How can you _not_ breathe on a cake if you're doing fine, close-up work? Hello! Chefs and bakers (and home cooks) "breathe" on food all the time. Do you think we should all be wearing SCUBA gear?

                1. re: pikawicca
                  flourgirl Apr 5, 2010 06:46 AM

                  "Do you think we should all be wearing SCUBA gear?"

                  I just read in the paper that this is Mike Bloomberg's next big idea for NY restaurant chefs.

                  1. re: pikawicca
                    inhalethecake Jun 27, 2011 03:44 PM

                    Woah, chill. I just meant they talk ALOT in front of the cake.
                    I bake too! But I don't talk in front of my cake because I know spit comes out!!!

                2. m
                  MrsT Oct 18, 2009 11:19 AM

                  I was watching an old episode of Julia Child yesterday--the one where she was handling all those chickens. She put on her glasses, took them off, was touching pliers and other equipment, and did not wash her hands. I wonder if she had some sort of immunity to salmonella?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: MrsT
                    KenWritez Oct 18, 2009 02:49 PM

                    AFAIK no one has immunity to salmonella. Touching raw chicken and then touching other surfaces does not guarantee the passing on of food poisoning. Doing so just makes it more likely. Look at the the Third World street food vendors you see on travel shows. They demonstrate enough unsafe food handling to turn a health inspector's hair white, yet their customers aren't dying in droves from botulism or salmonella. (Could be the immune systems of someone in Laos or Calcutta are probably more robust than ours?) I'm not saying unsafe food handling is trivial, just that it's by no means a guarantee and many people go years without experiencing it despite being exposed to circumstances favoring it.

                  2. viperlush Oct 15, 2009 10:45 AM

                    How is that different from all the other cake decorating/cooking shows on tv? Don't single out just AoC.

                    1. a
                      avon96734 Oct 13, 2009 05:20 PM

                      This is too funny (or not). I was just thinking the same thing while watching an episode where one of the decorators cupped her face with both her hands and dove right into the fondant with their loose hair flying all over the place. Yuck. So I googled "ace of cakes unsanitary," and voila--countless hits.

                      1. a_and_w Feb 18, 2009 03:26 PM

                        People sure seem to have a lot strong opinions of how Duff's cakes taste. Has anyone actually tried them?

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: a_and_w
                          QSheba Feb 19, 2009 06:53 AM

                          Duff came to PGH a year or two ago to do a demo and brought/made some of his cakes. I tried a piece of his chocolate cake and it was dry and flavorless. I'd much rather have a cake made from the box, or from the local Stop 'n' Shop. His cakes may look "cool" but...they use so much foam, wood, plastic, gross fondant, is it even a CAKE anymore? I was annoyed that Macy's ordered a cake from them for their anniversary....as if there aren't other BETTER bakers in NYC?!?! That won't have to drive from Baltimore?! What a waste!

                          1. re: QSheba
                            a_and_w Feb 19, 2009 08:52 AM

                            Man...you people are killing my appreciation for this show...LOL!

                            1. re: QSheba
                              ferret Feb 19, 2009 09:56 AM

                              At some point they clearly crossed the line from cakes to arts & crafts projects.

                              1. re: QSheba
                                MartinDC Feb 22, 2009 09:17 AM

                                Those bakers in NYC don't have their own shows, and thus would not provide Macy's with national publicity for the relatively low cost of a cake.

                                If CCC didn't have a TV show, I wonder how successful it would actually be.

                                1. re: MartinDC
                                  chipman Feb 22, 2009 04:47 PM

                                  One could also say, if they weren't successful they never would have gotten a show.

                                  1. re: chipman
                                    monku Feb 22, 2009 05:24 PM

                                    They have a show because the creator-producer of the show is Duff's brother-in-law or someone related and sold the idea to Food Network and they bought it.

                            2. b
                              Bunson Feb 18, 2009 11:25 AM

                              The cakes at Charm City are more for being memorable conversation pieces that will get people talking, and allows for customization that's hard to find. If you want a wedding cake for the cake, there are plenty of bakeries that can do that ,and do that well. As for the hygiene, I've wondered myself how cakes that have been sitting around for a day or two doesn't accumulate dust on the fondant (granted I never eat the fondant anyways...I've always peeled it off and just eaten the cake underneath). If I ever decided to buy a "sculpture" cake, I'd get a sheet cake on the side to serve to guests.

                              1. c
                                charmedgirl Jan 11, 2009 06:30 PM

                                I couldn't begin to comment about how the bakery is run or standards of cleanliness, but I have eaten Charm City Cake cake before and it was not very good. Dry, dense, and flavorless. I tried four varieties and of the four only one (pumpkin chocolate chip) actually tasted like something other than generic cake. I was pretty bummed.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: charmedgirl
                                  inhalethecake Jun 27, 2011 03:40 PM

                                  Yeah, and now you can get Duff's "special" frosting in tubs at Micheals (the craft store). The ingrediants are a lot of artifical nonsense, with Duff's mug all over the label.

                                2. Chef Gurp Nov 17, 2008 11:31 PM

                                  I must say, this show really turns me off. Although I've been in the restaurant idustry for 30 years and I'm no stranger to the fact that things are not always as sanitary as we'd like to believe, most of the work here seems to go into whimsy, not taste. A cake should be beautiful, but it's sole purpose is not decoration. Decorations are for the table and the environment. Cakes are to eaten. These look like they have no taste. Much more armiture than I'd ever care for. This is a sculpture, not a food item.

                                  1. Sooeygun Nov 14, 2008 06:17 AM

                                    If it is chocolate under the fingernails, not dirt, washing hands isn't going to get it out. On days when I had worked with a lot of chocolate, even after a shower it would still be there. Even a nail brush didn't get it out. It would take a nail file to really clean it out. Chocolate is absolutely the worst thing to get off the hands.

                                    1. m
                                      MsEileen Nov 13, 2008 06:30 PM

                                      The cakes are beautiful, but I have decided that for me... art work only. They are treated like art work, using your hands is one thing, but they man handle the cake too much for me and then they are touching everything, their face, scratching, I've seen nail polish on some of the ladies, with cake under their nails, that can't be sanitary. I'm watching it now - this girl leaned over and her hair is all over the board that she is making figurines on. I can't imagine ever being able to eat one of these cakes. OMG I've got to stop talking about it... I'm getting sick...

                                      8 Replies
                                      1. re: MsEileen
                                        sugarbuzz Nov 13, 2008 07:14 PM

                                        I noticed that this season there are more comments on how good the cakes taste. They probably have been reading sites like this where we all wonder if it's all style & no substance. I wonder if customers who appear on film are told somewhat indirectly to say on camera how good their cake is.

                                        1. re: sugarbuzz
                                          YumyumFrosting Jun 26, 2011 04:12 PM

                                          YES I'm so glad someone wrote this because I totally noticed this as well. Not only do people sound very forced when they say it, as in 'Oh yeah it looked amazing! Oh uh.... yeah but it was DELICIOUS too!' but in the bakery the decorators have been talking about flavour a lot as well. They keep dropping it into convo when they're just talking about fondant, and there are more shots of the staff eating cake going 'Mmmmm!'. I personally can't imagine a 3/4 day old cake sitting around is going to taste too good. I mean I cover mine in frosting but it doesn't 'seal' the cake like CCC say it does.

                                        2. re: MsEileen
                                          anonymous313 Feb 18, 2009 08:22 AM

                                          I agree. I don't care how good a cake tastes. You can make a good tasting cake at home. I would NEVER buy a cake from them after watching their show. The women lean over and their hair is all over the cakes, they don't wear aprons and one episode they bought their animals in! I don't want dog hair or human hair in a cake that I'm paying hundreds of dollars for. That's how people get sick and then get mad when the doctors can't figure out what's wrong with them.

                                          1. re: anonymous313
                                            nkeane Feb 22, 2009 07:11 PM

                                            im sorry, but off the top of my head I cannot think of any HAIRBORN illnesses!? is there a rapant outbreak of hairamisatisis im not aware of? seriously, you must not have much food service experience if you are this uptight about such things. You would wilt if you saw the standard goings-on at your local TJ McPicklePoopers!

                                          2. re: MsEileen
                                            irishnyc Feb 22, 2009 05:08 PM

                                            I'm with MsEileen.

                                            I'm not ignorant to the fact that there's a lot of touching going on in a lot of places preparing food. I'd just prefer to be blissfully ignorant about it.

                                            1. re: MsEileen
                                              inhalethecake Mar 31, 2010 05:44 PM

                                              i don't blame you for talking about it. CCC gets a lot of money for both their cakes and the show, and they should act accordingly. Being paid for something that could fire others for filthy behavour makes me angry. i worked in a bakery and the breathing all over the cakes and the wiping your face and then touching fondant would have you fired STAT.

                                              1. re: inhalethecake
                                                inhalethecake Jun 27, 2011 03:37 PM

                                                Exactly. I worked in a restaurant and that behaviour was not tolerated. Touching your hair was out out out. We all wore freshly laundered kerchiefs and kept our nails short and clean and stayed at home if we were sick.

                                              2. re: MsEileen
                                                inhalethecake Jun 27, 2011 03:32 PM

                                                Ugh!! Hair is gross gross gross in or on food. Nope. Can't watch it now

                                              3. g
                                                GDFLS May 6, 2008 08:37 AM

                                                Now I am not trying to make excuses for the lack of hair nets or working in ‘street clothes’ or dirty fingernails, but all of the decorators are artists, not chefs. That doesn’t give them the right to be blatantly unsanitary, but they are of a different mind set. Which may also explain why they all look like a bunch of stoners all the time! LOL.

                                                I think it is a pretty fun show to watch, I’d consider getting a cake from them for a special event if they were closer to Philly. As far as the ‘rules’ for special cakes, I think they ask for so much because if a client is paying so much for a cake, they want to make sure it is exactly what the client wants.

                                                Example, I would want them to do a Siberian Husky cake for my wife, and if that is all I tell them and they send a cake that is a black and white husky with blue eyes, but ours is a red and white bi eyed Siberian. I can see people refusing to pay and getting into big debates over who is at fault, should I have told you or should you have asked kinda thing.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: GDFLS
                                                  inhalethecake Mar 31, 2010 05:41 PM

                                                  just because you are an artist does not mean you are above common sense health and safety! give me a break!

                                                2. e
                                                  enginerd Apr 30, 2008 02:31 PM

                                                  Wow, you all really feel strongly about this. I have no idea what really goes on there, but please keep in mind this is TV. Since when is TV truthful? Assuming they do wash their hands and such, do you think the producers are really going to edit in when they do it? It's boring and could cause people to change the channel.

                                                  Now as for hairnets and coming in sick, I got nothing for that. Duff is a different type of chef, so he has a different type of bakery. It seems like there are enough people that don't care, they are ALWAYS booked.

                                                  8 Replies
                                                  1. re: enginerd
                                                    sommrluv May 1, 2008 06:30 AM

                                                    I like the show a lot, and just assumed all the hygiene moments were edited out.

                                                    I have to say, I checked out their website to order a cake, and while I expected expensive, I didn't expect the lecturing, off-putting tone.

                                                    I understand they are popular and might get some fan calls that waste time, but if I'm spending $500 ++++ on an event cake...I expect a HELLUVA lot more than do this, don't do that, do this, we expect, we expect, we expect from a person that is essentially working for me.....

                                                    IS that wrong? I've worked in food service, but never pastry, for my wedding cake, I did plain fluted cake and decorated with flowers on a custom cake stand, because we have a family gal that does cakes...I'd rather pay HER the money and have cake for a freaking year. I KNOW she's clean and good.

                                                    And she's nice. LOL

                                                    1. re: sommrluv
                                                      maisonbistro May 1, 2008 07:48 AM

                                                      Reminds me of the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld. LOL

                                                      Yeah, if I'm paying a lot of money for something, it's more like you're doing what I say, not the other way around.

                                                      1. re: sommrluv
                                                        ccbweb May 1, 2008 12:55 PM

                                                        I disagree completely with the idea that the website is lecturing....I find it straightforward and specific. They're not wasting anyone's time. If you're going to get a cake from them, they're clearly going to work closely with you on the cake and they spell that out, too.

                                                        It's still a business and they have to be able to run it as such; I'd be happy if more places laid out all of their policies in advance so I knew what I was getting into.

                                                        Perhaps its only good editing, but they seem to go out of their way for their customers and for things like the Make A Wish Foundation....seems pretty nice to me.

                                                        1. re: ccbweb
                                                          SDMike May 1, 2008 01:36 PM

                                                          Good point. And, I wouldn't be that surprised at all if they did that one as a freebee. They all seemed to be touched and I don't think Charm City Cakes or Duff is hurting for money at the moment. He's one of the few FN stars that often has a PSA for that charity of his. It runs all the time.

                                                        2. re: sommrluv
                                                          kenito799 May 2, 2008 09:38 AM

                                                          i dunno, I just looked at the site, either they changed it or I completely can't understand what you are reacting negatively to...it is perfectly friendly and straightforward. I didn't see any "we expect"...can you give specific quotes?

                                                          Do you think the deposit and refund policies are unreasonable? Wouldn't it be unfair to them to have people canceling and wanting refunds after they have committed lots of time and expense to making the cakes?

                                                          I just don't get any kind of "lecturing, off-putting tone." On the contrary, they sound like they would genuinely enjoy having people come visit and watch, but it would be impossible to run the place or pass health inspections if they did, so they are amusing and apologetic about that policy.

                                                          1. re: sommrluv
                                                            KenWritez May 2, 2008 01:04 PM

                                                            <<IS that wrong?>>

                                                            Hmmm... yes. I just checked out the sight. IMO you misinterpreted a matter-of-fact tone as lecturing and off-putting. The web site writers are telling potential clients "Here's how we do business." As busy as they are--look at their schedule--they don't have time to answer the same questions hundreds of times each week and it's not their job to coddle the reader.

                                                            Their web site acts like a doorman or a bouncer at a club: He screens out the riff-raff. In this case, the site screens out the tourists, the merely curious, the tire-kickers, lizards and time-wasters who have no intention of buying a CCC cake and want to treat CCC as their playground.

                                                            CCC treats their web site visitor like an adult and expects these visitors to realize CCC is first and foremost a business, not anyone's buddies.

                                                            Put yourself in their shoes: You have a finite amount of time and an infinite number of demands on that time from paying customers and your business, yet you've got crowds of people knocking on your door, many of whom won't buy your product. Now, return to the CCC web site and re-read it. I'll bet your perspective changes.

                                                            1. re: KenWritez
                                                              sommrluv May 2, 2008 05:35 PM

                                                              I don't have a lot of time to quote, I'm on the way out the door, but from what I re-read this afternoon, unless you have a cake feeding over 75 people, you will not get cake sample flavors, a sketch, not a meeting.

                                                              And you are still paying $500 to $1000 per cake for that. Now, obviously they have to cross the line somewhere, I'm not compeltely faulting them, but I run a business as well, I just choose to run it differently. While I don't have a TV show, I will modestly admit to being 'known'. I still will at least speak on the phone with each and every customer.

                                                              I still found it very much..this is the way you will do it, if not, you are doomed. The soup nazi comparison was not lost on me. Maybe you do get samples for a small cake, but they omit that fact than. Personally, I'm not going to spend $750 on an novelty item that I'm not sure is also going to taste good AND look good.

                                                              1. re: sommrluv
                                                                ccbweb May 3, 2008 12:09 AM

                                                                The website specifies that if you want a cake for over 75 people _or_ a wedding cake (presumably for any number) then they will provide samples and have a meeting. Otherwise, they'll handle it by phone or via email...they just won't do quote over the phone (I'm thinking so that they have no chance of someone saying "but you told me it would only be $X) . My read says once you have the quote and want to place an order, they'll be happy to do it via phone. And if you're getting a wedding cake, they're going to meet with you, make sure you like the flavors and so on. Makes sense to me.

                                                                You have a different way of handling your business, which is fine; but I don't think the website is at all out of line and I don't think there's any "Soup Nazi" thing going on.

                                                        3. c
                                                          cook52 Apr 29, 2008 08:20 PM

                                                          I would say these people don't even try to wash their hands, I don't see them cleaning up after themselves and the place is a mess. To me cakes are special and should be pretty as well as taste good.

                                                          6 Replies
                                                          1. re: cook52
                                                            Jeserf May 1, 2008 05:46 AM

                                                            ...you do realize that baltimore does have health inspections, right?

                                                            I'd rather watch them create than watch them wash their hands a la Emeril and Sandra Lee, who often times just rinse their hands under water anyway.

                                                            If I could afford it (and were getting married), I would SO give CCC my biz.

                                                            1. re: Jeserf
                                                              cook52 May 3, 2008 12:23 PM

                                                              Good for you, happy eating nail mites and dirt

                                                              1. re: cook52
                                                                KenWritez May 5, 2008 02:00 AM

                                                                It's all protein, baby! lolol....

                                                                1. re: KenWritez
                                                                  anonymous313 Feb 18, 2009 08:15 AM

                                                                  You say that until you end up in the hospital with food poisoning. They are gross at CCC. I've seen them put the cake decorations on their heads and ears, who knows where else. I'm sure they don't run over to the sink everytime to wash these items off. They need to be reported!

                                                                  1. re: anonymous313
                                                                    KenWritez Oct 15, 2009 10:39 AM

                                                                    Haven't been hospitalized with food posioning, but I have had my bouts with f.p. at home.

                                                                    I've seen the show many times and I'm satisfied with their levels of food safety. Unless they're doing dangerous things off-camera, but Duff seems professional enough not to allow that.

                                                                2. re: cook52
                                                                  inhalethecake Jun 27, 2011 03:27 PM

                                                                  Nail mites??? EEEEK!!!

                                                            2. s
                                                              SDMike Apr 29, 2008 04:43 PM

                                                              I have to say it looks like he’s doing something right because the bakery is booked six-months in advance and has been for the past couple of years. Also, he seems to get a fair share of repeat business like doing a wedding cake, anniversary cake, and then a birthday cake all for the same people.

                                                              Regarding the show, I never watched in the beginning because it was about baking but I watch it now. Some of the shows are pretty good entertainment. Today was a re-run of the “Lead Chef”, a take of on Iron Chef. Mary Alice played AB, Duff was the chairman, and Geoff and Adam made scrapple. It was complete with music, sound effects, and the fast editing, and was really pretty entertaining. I wish FN would have more shows that had a sense of humor to them so they could parody themselves like that more often. DI did it a little too one show they had with the magicians.

                                                              1. im_nomad Apr 29, 2008 04:20 PM

                                                                I'm ashamed to say a local well known, and well haunted take out in my home town, was also home to the cook, who was known for his fingernails. Sadly it didn't seem to deter many of us, as oddly the food was good.....and deep fried . I might not go there now though.

                                                                1. im_nomad Apr 29, 2008 12:08 PM

                                                                  if you've ever tried to make truffles or what not, you'd appreciate how difficult it is to keep chocolate from not only getting everywhere, but it stains sometimes too.

                                                                  I've noticed the lack of hairnets and such on shows such as this, and especially on HK, where long flowing hair is barely pinned back, never mind a hair net. If i'm baking at home for a sale item, i look like a freak i've got so much stuff on my head (headband, pony tail etc)...tis not a pretty sight :)

                                                                  Duff's bald though isn't he? It did bother me though watching this past week and the blond girl rubbed her nose and then went back to work.

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: im_nomad
                                                                    Chocolatechipkt Apr 29, 2008 02:12 PM

                                                                    Yes, truffles are messy and the chocolate seems to travel. But I've noticed the hygiene-type issues on this show, too. Someone's sick and comes to work, hacking and sneezing away near the cakes. Someone with hands in their hair and then decorating the cake. You never see them wash their hands ... but I am assuming a lot of things just aren't shown on tv.

                                                                    1. re: Chocolatechipkt
                                                                      choctastic Apr 16, 2010 04:48 PM

                                                                      yeah, but if you're making chocolate truffles, I would hope you're using gloves. There's no precision involved so, no excuse.

                                                                      1. re: Chocolatechipkt
                                                                        Scott_R Apr 18, 2010 12:49 PM

                                                                        There's a review of a book about Charm City Cakes, co-authored by Duff,

                                                                        "Also included are a list of Frequently asked questions, like 'Do you ever wash your hands, you filthy people?' (Yes, but that part always ends up on the cutting room floor)- every time they switch fondant colors, they have to wash their hands, so assume it's going on even if it isn't shown!"

                                                                    2. KenWritez Apr 28, 2008 09:51 PM

                                                                      At some point it's got to be more about the food and creativity than about dirty fingernails or a lack of a hairnet.

                                                                      If the food is great, I can forgive a lot outside of actual toxicity. Go to any third world street food vendor and you'll see hygiene that makes dirty fingernails or lack of hairnets as nothing. I remember the Lagunilla in Mexico City, and I wondered why in the world the butchers put raisins on their meat. Then the raisins flew around....

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: KenWritez
                                                                        alkapal Feb 23, 2009 10:35 PM

                                                                        but WHAT are the fingernails dirty WITH? yuk!

                                                                        1. re: alkapal
                                                                          pikawicca Oct 18, 2009 07:16 PM


                                                                          1. re: alkapal
                                                                            KenWritez Oct 18, 2009 08:20 PM

                                                                            Human flesh?

                                                                        2. Antilope Apr 23, 2008 02:00 PM

                                                                          I'm surprised that most of them do their work in their street clothes.

                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Antilope
                                                                            Axalady Apr 24, 2008 05:15 AM

                                                                            I don't mind the street clothes, or even the fact they're not wearing hairnets so much (I wonder where the Balto City Health Inspector is), but seeing anyone prepare food with dirty fingernails is a HUGE turn off. Even if the "dirt" is chocolate (which I doubt). Just like my Mama said to me, "wash your dirty hands for heavens sake!" I've only watched the show a few times. Seems like he uses a lot of foam forms in some of his cakes, which I found surprising. I guess some of them are just to be "oohed" and "ahhed" at. Who wants a cake that only has 1/2 edible? I wonder how much customer pay for a foam base vs. a real cake base.

                                                                            1. re: Axalady
                                                                              MaspethMaven Apr 25, 2008 06:00 PM

                                                                              having been to many weddings/events/ fancy cake having parties...

                                                                              the fancy cake is frequently just for show. Very often, there's a sheet cake in the kitchen somewhere that's sliced for guests to eat.

                                                                              1. re: MaspethMaven
                                                                                delong99 Apr 28, 2008 09:25 AM

                                                                                I was wondering if people really eat those cakes they make, or if they are just for show.

                                                                                1. re: delong99
                                                                                  im_nomad Apr 29, 2008 04:50 PM

                                                                                  I wonder this about any of those shows were $$$$ foods are made for celebrity gatherings. Wonderful and beautifully crafted culinary creations... do people squeezed into their post-Oscar party dresses really chow down that way?

                                                                                2. re: MaspethMaven
                                                                                  southernitalian Apr 29, 2008 12:14 PM

                                                                                  I certainly intended for my guests to eat our wedding cake, which they did. I personally have never been one for sweets so aside for the mandatory shot where my hsuband and I fed each other cake, I didn't eat much. But over the years I have become increasingly skeeved by "fancy" cakes and pastries, really a wide variety of party/catered food, because it seems much less like food and much more like a dirty party favor. I am sometimes interested in watching Duff and crew make the cakes but get grossed out if anyone actually eats them.

                                                                                3. re: Axalady
                                                                                  Missi Feb 18, 2009 01:56 PM

                                                                                  I was going to order their cigar humadore cake for my husband's birthday. Can't exactly remember the price but it was in the $350-$400 range. I expected it to be expensive. What I didn't expect is that they do not ship, they only deliver and the delivery fee was something like $125.00 per hour. Inasmuch as I live in Alabama and they are in Maryland, I politely thanked Mary Alice and decided against it. Oh and yes, they are ALL medicated on that show, but it seems like such a fun place to work,, maybe because of that :)

                                                                                  1. re: Axalady
                                                                                    inhalethecake Mar 31, 2010 05:36 PM

                                                                                    isn't foam subjected to off-gassing? Foam is toxic! Yuck, I say.

                                                                                4. c
                                                                                  cook52 Apr 22, 2008 03:04 PM

                                                                                  Of course a person must use their hands, but they should have clean hands and nails. I don't like it when cooks lick their fingers and put them right back in the food or when they are always touching their hair.

                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: cook52
                                                                                    sibeats Apr 23, 2008 04:02 AM

                                                                                    Of course chefs use their hands, I think you would be lying to yourself if you thought otherwise. But I have cringed many times watching this show, especially when they are transporting the cakes and they just put them in the back of somebody's car without a box or any kind of protection. The other part that we always comment on is when someone is using power tools to create some framework for a cake in the same room they are decorating hte cakes in. There's got to be dust from the wood/foam/metal that they are cutting that gets stuck into the frosting and stuff. Some of the cakes look great and they are an interesting bunch to watch, but I don't think I'd want to eat one!

                                                                                    1. re: sibeats
                                                                                      chazmo Apr 23, 2008 08:09 AM

                                                                                      I've warmed up to this show since it first came on and enjoy it now. I have to agree many of the cakes don't look like I would want to eat them. Is it just me or besides Duff and Mary Alice everyone seems to be medicated to some degree?

                                                                                      1. re: chazmo
                                                                                        im_nomad Apr 29, 2008 12:01 PM

                                                                                        OMG i'm glad i'm not the only one who noticed that....i watched this the other night, and one of the guys nearly lulled me to sleep listening to his sloowww ...draaaaaaaaawwwwn out dialogue...i wondered what the heck he was on.

                                                                                      2. re: sibeats
                                                                                        ultramagnetic Apr 23, 2008 09:38 AM

                                                                                        Having delivered many large wedding cakes, I can say that having to put anything tall, heavy, awkward or delicate/intricate like multi-tiered wedding cakes or the stuff the Charm City does into a box for transport only makes for more opportunities to damage the cakes. Having anything close to the cake like a box or other protection is something incredibly close that you now have to avoid while placing the cake into or taking it out. A box is something that could be accidentally pressed into the side of a cake, doing serious damage. And unless you have a box that's the exact size of the board the cake is on, you'd have make a box to fit the board.

                                                                                        Putting a cake on a non-slip mat in the back of a clean van and driving carefully is the way to go.

                                                                                        1. re: ultramagnetic
                                                                                          sibeats Apr 23, 2008 09:55 AM

                                                                                          Agree, I guess my point was that the backs of the employees cars don't look so clean! And yes chazmo, they all do seem medicated, which kind of adds to the fun of the show!

                                                                                          1. re: ultramagnetic
                                                                                            EWSflash Feb 27, 2010 05:06 PM

                                                                                            Maybe in real life they have a patented delivery device that they dont'[ want to show?

                                                                                            Honestly, I think they do a lot of stuff just for the show- entertainment value. Besides, those stoned-appearing kids make me laugh.

                                                                                      3. TrishUntrapped Apr 22, 2008 02:05 PM

                                                                                        Julia Child once observed that the food on a plate in a fancy restaurant was so beautifully arranged you just knew someone's hands had been all over it. (She was not a fan.)

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: TrishUntrapped
                                                                                          jodymaryk Apr 29, 2008 06:52 PM

                                                                                          That's great! I cooked good but my presentation sucks! It might not be pretty but it sure tastes good! I'd actually like to take a class on presentation sometime.

                                                                                        2. c
                                                                                          creamydeluxe Apr 22, 2008 11:48 AM

                                                                                          Have you ever made a fondant wedding cake with gloves? I'd like for you to try it.

                                                                                          The "dirt" is 99.9% likely to be chocolate.

                                                                                          Get over yourself. If you spent 100 hours a week doing that kind of work (I have, you are drenched head to toe in food--you keep as clean as humanly possible). This is besides the point that this man is a crappy cake maker.

                                                                                          Yeah, it wouldn't kill him to wear a hat though...

                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: creamydeluxe
                                                                                            Kelli2006 Apr 27, 2008 12:08 PM

                                                                                            I'm glad that other cake professionals have the same opinions of that show. I am admittedly more of a baker than a decorator, but I don't see why he is held in such high regard, as he isn't that good.

                                                                                            His skills aren't as high as they would like you to believe, and I have to wonder what the cakes taste like, as they seem to treat the underlying cake as little more then edible foam.


                                                                                            1. re: creamydeluxe
                                                                                              Scott_R Feb 25, 2010 07:51 AM

                                                                                              Way late on a response, I realize, but you're telling me a surgeon can reattach your leg while wearing gloves, but you can't roll out fondant with them on?

                                                                                              1. re: Scott_R
                                                                                                inhalethecake Jun 27, 2011 02:52 PM

                                                                                                Well said!!

                                                                                                1. re: inhalethecake
                                                                                                  sarahjay Jun 28, 2011 08:11 PM

                                                                                                  The fondant sticks to the gloves. Every time. Powdered sugar or not. You just have to keep the hands clean. The only time I wear gloves making specialty cakes is if I've got a wound, then it's a bandaid and a glove and mostly use the other (ungloved) hand

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