Cake artist and Shorewood bakery owner Kimberly Hall has competed in the Food Network seven times. Now, she is getting a taste of what it is like to be one of the judges.
The owner of Signature Sweets will be the judge this season of “Buddy vs. Duff”, a series of contests between “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro and pastry chef and former “Ace of Cakes” star Duff Goldman.
During the show, two bakers – Valastro from Hoboken, New Jersey and Duff in Los Angeles – work with their teams of cake artists to combat it in a range of thematic challenges.
A panel of 50 cake artists from across the country are the judges, including Hall, who represents Wisconsin.
“I was so excited,” Hall said. “Like, they want me to judge two of the best confectionery artists in the world, so that really meant a lot to me. It makes me feel like my work is being recognized … I was thrown in the wind. “
For each episode, the judges were given the theme, the bakers told them the story behind their creations, and they watched the cakes being made. In the end, the judges cast their ballots.
“We’re cake artists just like them, so we know what to look for,” said Hall, who specializes in creating vivid cakes. “Like they were in the hot seat once in front of us.”
Valastro was one of the judges again when Hall competed in “Macy’s Thanksgiving Spectacular Cake.”
“It was like the roles came back this time,” Hall said.
Not only did Hall take part in the voting process, she said she also had to be one of the featured judges who interacted with the bakers and offered their feedback.
“I was so honored to be able to choose between so many wonderful cake artists,” Hall said. “I am extremely humble and grateful.”
Filming for the eight-episode season was done remotely, Hall said. She was sent a camera with instructions on how to place them all.
“Everyone was in their separate studios, but we were all able to see each other on our cameras,” she said. “It was very crazy and so much fun.”
While Goldman won the first season of the show, Valastro was the champion of the second season. The third season of “Buddy vs. Duff” premieres at 8pm CT on Sunday on the Food Network (and can also be streamed on Discovery +).
Hall is making a weekly gift to those who tune in to the program. Patrons who stop at Signature Sweets, 3801 N. Oakland Ave., on Tuesday during the season and can tell Hall what color shirt he wore in the latest episode get a free sweet cake. Tuesday hours in the oven are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Hall Time in the Food Network
Hall made her Food Network debut in 2010. One of her AT&T associates, where she was a technical specialist, entered the Hometown Showdown cake decorating competition in New York without telling her. She ended up winning.
Since then, Hall has been twice in “Cupcake Wars,” “Sugar Dome,” “Macy’s Thanksgiving Spectacular Cake,” “Holiday Wars,” and “Halloween Wars.” She also competed in “The Big Bake”, a series of holiday baking contests on the Food Network.
Erin Jensen from USA TODAY contributed to this report.
Contact Hannah Kirby at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @HannahHopeKirby.