‘Buddy vs. Duff’ decks the halls with Christmas-themed cakes



Following the path of ingredients on 'The Katie Button Project'


Hosts Buddy Valastro and Duff Goldman at the Food Network Studios during the Surprise Proposal challenge, as seen on Buddy vs Duff, Season 1.

The competition gets more festive but no less fervent when pals and rivals Buddy Valastro and Duff Goldman square off in a four-part bake-off upcoming on Food Network and discovery+.

In Season 4 of “Buddy vs. Duff,” premiering Sunday, Nov. 28, the two master pastry chefs and their teams come together for a special competition to celebrate the holidays. Each group selects a theme and then has 20 hours to bring their vision to cake reality, with the final products being judged by Gesine Prado and Elizabeth Falkner at Valastro’s bakery in New Jersey and Stephanie Boswell and Valerie Gordon at Goldman’s bakery in Los Angeles. The overall winner receives $25,000 to be donated to the charity of their choice.

It’s a scene certain to be filled with Santas, reindeers, trees and of course, lots of snow, which Goldman says is particularly tricky for a baker to create.

“If I was going to do a miniature of say like a snow-covered village,” he explains, “I would probably make it smooth because when you’re flying and you’re flying over an area that has been snowed on, it looks like a smooth, white blanket. But if something’s going to be life-size, then you want to put texture on there because if you don’t then your eye kind of tricks you into thinking that it’s much, much, much bigger than it actually is.”

And there were other skills that Goldman had to call on. He had to pull his ice sculpting talents out of mothballs to create a sculpture for a cake. And to make Christmas ornaments, he had to reacquaint himself with the fine art of blowing sugar.

“For really good Christmas ornaments you need to blow it out of sugar just like you’re blowing glass,” Goldman explains. “That was another thing that I hadn’t done probably since culinary school, and I was like, ‘Man, I gotta figure out how to do this.’ I watched a video on YouTube of how to blow sugar and then made a bunch of Christmas ornaments for this tree and it was really, really cool.”

Of course, at the heart of the show are Goldman and Valastro, two world-class pastry chefs who have great respect for their craft and each other. That they also get along on camera and off is the (pardon the pun) icing on the cake.

“I feel like for the scale, there’s not many people that can do what we do,” Goldman says, “And I think that that’s really exciting, is that we are combining so many different disciplines into what we create. You know, the engineering, the building, the design, the color theory, the actual baking, the stuff we’re doing with food. There’s so many sort of different components it’s almost like we created this like — I don’t even know what to call it — genre.”

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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