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Apr 22, 2008 10:22 AM

Ace of Cakes & Hygiene

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?

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  1. 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

      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

        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: inhalethecake

            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

      2. 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

          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. 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

            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

              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

                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

                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

                  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

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

                7 Replies
                1. re: Antilope

                  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

                    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

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

                      1. re: delong99

                        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

                        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

                        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

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

                      4. 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

                          but WHAT are the fingernails dirty WITH? yuk!