Friday, September 22
Me: As you know, I took a liking to you and your fun personality instantly. You seem to really balance out the group and make things fun in there. Did you expect to get such a following and your own fan club so quickly? =)
MA: Absolutely not. I didn't even expect to be on the show that much. But I think that the show is doing well because of just that - every one of my coworkers' personalities blend together well and we balance each other out. It's true in the day-to-day work environment and that reflects on the show.
Me: The cakes seem to be worked on for hours. Do they even taste good by the time they are ready, or is it all about the look?
MA: They actually do taste good - I'm not only the manager, I'm also a client! (Duff did my wedding cake). Once the cakes have been covered in fondant it kind of serves as a moisture lock. The only thing we need to rush is getting the cakes cooled, iced, and covered. After that they stay delish for a couple of days.
Me: With the added exposure, I would imagine Charm City Cakes has only gotten busier. How does your relatively small staff manage to keep up? Also, I noticed you don't ship cakes so the demand must be relatively local. Any plans to grow?
MA: Right now we're knee-deep into the busiest time of our year. There is a finite number of cakes we can do a week (I try to keep it around 20) because that's what our staff can handle, so the decorators' workload is very busy. As for me, I've had about a 10-fold increase in phone calls and emails since the show started, which has made my workload kind of insane. At first it really overwhelmed me but it's just a matter of sorting through the "hey your show rules!" emails to get to the actual client and cake order stuff first. So far I've been on top of it but we might need to hire some help for me soon. I've never had a minion before! Exciting!
No plans to expand to another location. Duff likes to joke about opening up Sin City Cakes in Vegas but I think he's very happy where he is.
Me: Did you watch the Food Network before your show?
MA: Oh my god are you kidding? I'm a complete Food Network junkie. My husband and I are die-hard Alton Brown groupies. I love that man on a geeky obsessive nerd level to the 17th degree. If I ever met him I would probably be reduced to giddy schoolgirl giggles. I enjoy Iron Chef (both of them, but the original is best) as well as Everyday Italian (on occasion) and I LOVE the challenge shows. I watch them even if I have no interest in what they’re making. Oh and I am SO excited that Nigella Lawson is getting her own FN show because I love her with the power of a thousand suns.
Me: What do you think of Rachael Ray… be honest?
MA: I used to watch 30 Minute Meals a lot. Granted, I liked to poke fun of her accent and scream at the TV when she said the same things OVER AND OVER but truth be told she did teach me a lot back when I was in the early stages of learning-to-cook-for-two. I still buy her cookbooks. I have most of them. I completely agree with your comment last month that no matter what you think of her, "she's got a lot of people out of the fast food line and into the kitchen"…that is indeed a very good thing.
Me: Any news on a second season?
MA: We just found out last week that the Food Network has asked to renew the show for another thirteen episodes. Huzzah! We're kind of still a little shocked about it but couldn't be happier.
Oh, and on one final note, I must point out that although yes, I did indeed state our new fondant purveyor was cute, he is not nearly as cute as my fantastico husband, Dave, who is the coolest in the universe and always will be. Note to self: Don't say things about cute purveyors on national television because not only will your husband watch it and make fun of you, the cute purveyor will watch it too and be back at the bakery the following week to deliver things and that's when the real joy of awkward starts. Good times.
Me: Once again, thanks a lot for taking the time to talk to me. Good luck with everything and let me know if you have any exciting Charm City Cakes or Food Network updates!
MA: Thank you so much for promoting the show and for liking it! It's been a trippy couple of months to be sure but I'm really looking forward to filming season two! I'll definitely keep you in the loop on all the hot happenings.
Me: Thanks Mary Alice!!!!!!
(bicycles because she likes to ride around on her bike!)