Thursday, February 23, 2012

Yummers goes to war … ‘Cupcake Wars’

By Alison Haywood, A&E Reporter

When Yummers 2 the 3rd Power chef Jeffrey Rowe received a call from the Food Network saying his shop was going to be on the reality show “Cupcake Wars,” he thought it was a prank call. Little did he anticipate the stress, trials and fame to follow the next few months.

Garfield Street cupcake shop Yummers 2 the 3rd Power participated in the reality show “Cupcake Wars,” which aired on Food Network Sunday evening. Yummers was eliminated in the second of four rounds.

"I'm disappointed they didn't win," PLU '11 alumna Paige MacPherson said after a public screening party at Farelli's Sunday night.

MacPherson added that she liked Yummers’ upcakes better than anywhere else she’d been.

About 20 Pacific Lutheran students and alumni along with Yummers staff members attended the public screening party.

This episode’s theme was “Monster Cupcake,” in which competitors baked cupcakes with a monster truck theme in hopes of earning the right to bake for the VIP pre-race pit party for Monster Truck Jam.

Rowe and Yummers co-owner Amber Serrano submitted their Strawberry Lemonade, Toasty Bacon and Slim Jim, Pumpkin Spiced Ale and their best-selling Monster energy drink-flavored cupcakes to the competition.

Round one got off to a rough start for the Parkland pastry chefs. They forgot to add the pumpkin to the Pumpkin Spiced Ale cupcakes, and Serrano later admitted in an interview to spilling maple flavoring into a container of French Toast Bacon frosting. To make matters worse, the cupcake display they had built at home and shipped to Los Angeles for filming arrived in pieces and had to be rebuilt.

“Whatever could happen, did happen,” Rowe said.

The drama rose in round two when the kitchen crew lost Team Yummers’ pre-made decorative fondue monster truck tires, forcing them to settle for paper racing flags as decoration instead. The judges were not impressed. The final straw was the Monster energy drink cupcake, which Food Network judge Florian Bellanger didn’t like for its artificial flavor.

“I don’t know why they didn’t think Monster energy drink cupcakes would be perfect,” Serrano said. “If we’d have had a younger judging crowd, it would have been better.”

Despite the early elimination, Rowe said he appreciated the exposure on national TV.

“I’m glad it was something I got to experience because we’re one of a million people who sent them audition tapes, and we’re four out of a million people that got picked,” Rowe said. “That’s pretty much a feat in itself, just being able to be on the show.”

Serrano and her father, Eddie Serrano, co-founded Yummers February 2011.

“One year, three days later, we hit Food Network,” Eddie Serrano said.
Amber Serrano sent in an audition tape shortly after opening. They found out they made the cut last summer.

Rowe said he believes their audition tape was selected because it showed their “personality and flair.”

“When you’re on a show like that, people aren’t going to have a chance to taste your cakes,” Rowe said. “And so you’re selling your cakes, basically, through the TV with your personality.”

This phone call marked the beginning of a period of preparation leading up to five days of filming at a studio outside of L.A. during the summer. Eddie Serrano described the experience as “wild and crazy and stressful.”

Amber Serrano said what she found most difficult was being constantly called aside and yelled at even while the clock was going.

“I don’t care how good of a baker you are, or how good of a multitasker you are, you’re going to be confused, distracted and I think that’s part of the whole competition,” she said.
After the competition, "Cupcake Wars" asked Yummers if they would consider a redemption show, to which they replied "absolutely."

“Now that we know what to expect, we’ll be able to do a lot better,” Rowe said.