Why Netflix's Bake Squad Is the Sweetest Competition Baking Show
If you're looking for a show that's equal parts fun, colorful and competitive, you've come to the right place. Bake Squad, which premieres on August 11th on Netflix, features all of that through the creation of over-the-top, elaborate desserts. During each episode, "four individually brilliant bakers will battle it out to see whose dessert will be chosen for someone's extra special big day," reads Netflix's official synopsis for the show (you can watch a trailer for the show here).
The four talented bakers are Maya-Camille Broussard, founder of Justice of the Pies, Ashley Holt, founder of Sugar Monster Sweets, Christophe Rull, a pastry chef, and Gonzo Jimenez, co-owner of Miette et Chocolat. Leading and supporting these bakers is host Christina Tosi, founder of Milk Bar. EatingWell got the chance to speak with this impressive cast—here's what we learned about the new series.
What Bake Squad Is Really About
Yes, Bake Squad is about baking and the jaw-dropping, creative desserts that the four bakers make for each client, but Tosi says that the core of the show is "the spirit of showing up." This mindset translates to "showing up for people, showing up for yourself, showing up with utmost creativity and imagination, showing up at all costs, even when you know it's going to be hard," Tosi explains. This spirit is clearly shown in each episode as the bakers push themselves to their limits in terms of creativity and scale of their desserts (episode one features the biggest chocolate egg that I have ever seen).
While Tosi pushes each baker to rise to the occasion (pun intended), she says the most enjoyable part of serving as the host is witnessing the transformational moments. From dreaming up the concept to watching each baker "go deep into their skillset, into their brains, into what it is that they're trying to express through the lens of dessert," Tosi says she was honored to earn the trust of each baker and support them throughout the series.
What It Was Like to Compete
Each episode focuses on a client's special event, from weddings to a party celebrating someone's triumph over cancer. Luckily, the bakers were familiar with handling the pressure of creating desserts for such important events as Rull notes that "[the pressure] is what we're facing on a daily basis in our industry." Broussard adds, "The four of us have an athleticism that allows us to perform extremely well under pressure...when we have a lot of pressure applied to us in our craft, what it does is pushes us into diamonds, and that diamond is creativity, and so we thrive in that space."
Speaking of creativity, Holt says the ideas just flowed for her throughout the series. While there was a seven-hour time limit to each bake, Holt says, "the sky's the limit," when it comes to what's possible in the kitchen. This mindset for Holt translated to some pretty stunning creations—including a Volkswagen van and an edible ball pit (my favorite dessert of the series!).
How the Bakers Showcased Their Personalities
The four bakers each have their own distinct skillset and were given appropriate monikers: Broussard is the "flavor fanatic," Holt is the "queen of cakes", Rull is the "pastry illusionist" and Jimenez is the "champion of chocolate." In addition to their specialties, each baker was able to bring their own sense of self into the set of the show, thanks to personal photos displayed around their station.
For Jimenez, it was "great to actually see [photos of] my whole family...it actually helps you create stuff. It was pretty cool." In addition to the family photos, Jimenez brought in the flavors of his South American heritage whenever he had a chance. Meanwhile, Holt says there was never any worry that the bakers would overlap in their ideas because, she says, "We each are just very individual and unique in our own rights."
While each person might be known for a different area within baking, that didn't stop them from trying new techniques and desserts throughout the series. And if they had to make a dessert in a fellow competitors' area of expertise, Tosi says she would opt for Broussard and her flavors, which Tosi describes as "weak in the knees, deliciousness, swoon." Meanwhile, Broussard and Holt would both opt to learn from Rull and his sugar work. Rull would want to create something out of chocolate à la Jimenez, and Jimenez would make a cake, Holt's specialty, because he "really loves the wow factor of each one of her presentations."
Want to watch these bakers and their incredible creations? Season one of Bake Squad premieres on August 11 on Netflix.