Tag Archives: Buddy vs. Duff

Buddy Valastro and his Carlo's Bakery team pose for a photo after winning Season 3 of Buddy vs. Duff

Buddy vs. Duff Season 3: The Best Moments

A close race right up until the very end, the third season of Buddy vs. Duff kept viewers in suspense with a completely tied score heading into the finale. Despite filming on both coasts with judges scattered across the country due to the pandemic, the rivalry was just as fierce in this East Coast/West Coast mashup. Both bakers also came into the competition changed by life circumstances: Buddy Valastro’s bowling accident that injured his dominant hand (a crucial tool for a baker) and the birth of Duff Goldman’s first child Josephine, with his wife Johnna.

Although Buddy took home the ultimate win with a 247-245 final score, the eight-episode season was filled with memorable moments from the Charm City Cakes and Carlo’s Bakery teams. Let’s take a look at a few of Season 3’s best moments.

Related: Meet the Cast of Buddy vs. Duff

A Return To The Classics: Episode 3, “Sweet Rides”

Calling back to an early challenge in Season 1, Duff suggested a rematch to redeem his team’s previously faulty hydraulics on a lowrider 64 Impala that he built with lead cake decorator Geof Manthorne. “It was a cool cake, but not our best work,” admitted Duff. This time, Duff and Geof had a team supporting them and went bigger and better with an eight-foot-long version showing off an LA bounce and working headlights and taillights. Ultimately, the car ended up losing narrowly by two points to Buddy’s fire engine red ’57 Chevy convertible, which impressed the judges with its detailed interior and stunning isomalt work.

 

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An Ace In The Hole: Episode 8, “Monster Matchup”

Secret weapon Laurent Branlard was a real ringer on the Carlo’s Bakery team, spinning out sugar work that wowed the judges time and time again. His glowing blown sugar spikes with a colour-changing light reflecting through them was a stunning game-changer on the team’s 20-foot long dinosaur. Not only did Laurent, an executive pastry chef, create 70 of these spikes (“I’m not going to lie —it’s pretty overwhelming,” he said), but he also found time to decorate them with disturbingly realistic lesions on the cake. “Who doesn’t dream about eating a pimple?”, he joked.

 

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Mishaps: All Season

From dropped trees on Duff’s hanging gardens to a tire blow-up on Buddy’s classic car, both teams had to deal with mishaps all through the season. During the Episode 4: First We Feast episode, both teams faced challenges in construction. As the Carlo’s Bakery crew moved their massive cake slice into the final area, Buddy got to do some last-minute repair when the sprinkles on the back started falling off, leading head sculptor Ralph Attanasia to dub Buddy the “Sprinkle Boss” and reducing the team to giggles. “We actually had a little disaster of it falling down and we had to redo it. I gotta be honest with you — the second time around, I think we did it better,” Buddy told the judges.

See More: The Best Moments From Season 2 of Buddy vs. Duff

 

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On the Charm City Cakes side, homemade jelly jars made of isomalt filled with corn syrup were a great concept that had some issues with execution (trust Geof to hack a solution when the liquid springs a leak in the isomalt).

…And Machinery: All Season

Finally, who could forget the madcap machinations that occurred on both sides this season? Buddy’s love of his forklift (even executing a complicated cake flip that previously led to disaster in previous seasons) led pastry chef and cake artist Becky Blaso to comment, “Buddy always says go big or go home” when watching the mayhem. On the Charm City Cakes team, from Geof’s pivoting table belt that lifted the arms of nine-foot monster Marty to the lighting effect that animated the final cake, the team went all out to try new things. “Having the extra day gives us extra time to be extra dumb and dangerous,” observed Duff of Geof’s mad scientist lightning tube wiring.

Watch Buddy vs. Duff and stream your favourite Food Network Canada shows through STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, or with the new Global TV app, live and on-demand when you sign-in with your cable subscription.

Host Duff Goldman at Charm City Cakes with his arms folder and a smile on his face

The Evolution of Duff Goldman: From Ace of Cakes to Buddy vs. Duff

Duff Goldman became a household name with Ace of Cakes but soon, the success of the Food Network series inspired other cake shows and the landscape became sweetly saturated. Thankfully that was just beginning for this chef, who is also a bit of a rock star — he plays bass in the Elvis cover band Foie Grock, after all.

From emerging as the face of Charm City Cakes, to cookbooks, a handful of shows on Food Network Canada, and a very full personal life, it’s safe to say that Duff’s (dessert) plate is full. Let’s go back and see how it all began, shall we?

Watch Buddy vs. Duff Sunday at 9 PM ET/PT and stream all your favourite Food Network Canada shows through STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, or with the new Global TV app, live and on-demand when you sign-in with your cable subscription.

The Name of the Game

 

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Jeffrey Adam Goldman was born in Detroit in 1974 before his family moved to Missouri. His nickname came from his older brother, Willie, who was unable to pronounce “Jeffrey.” Instead, “Duffy” became his new permanent nickname. Thank goodness. Not sure we could handle a Jeff and a Geof (Geoffrey Manthorne, Duff’s right hand man).

Easy as Cake

 

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Duff’s been working in kitchens since he was 14. His first job was at a bagel store at the mall and eventually he became a fry cook at McDonald’s. In college, he applied to work as a cook at the Charleston, one of Baltimore’s finest restaurants, but head chef Cindy Wolf told him he lacked experience. She did, however, offer him a position making cornbread and biscuits. That was the turning point in his career.

Fine Art

 

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Let’s not forget that Duff went to culinary school. Post-university (he has degrees in philosophy and history from the University of Maryland), Duff attended the Culinary Institute of America. It was there that he discovered his serious cake-making skills. He then worked at The French Laundry, run by renowned chef, restaurateur and cookbook author Thomas Keller. Under Keller’s leadership, Duff realized food and art could become one beautiful thing.

Business as Usual

 

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Duff first launched his cake business in 2000, out of his Mount Vernon, Virginia apartment. There, he would make one cake a week, but as time went by his confections were becoming more in demand. Two years later he opened Charm City Cakes — this time out of a studio in Baltimore. By 2003, Duff sold $130,000 worth of cakes, nearly three times what he sold in his first year.

Show Time

 

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Ace of Cakes was born in 2006. The show focused on the daily operations of Charm City Cakes as Duff and his equally fun and quirky staff went about their daily routines, constructing cakes using a variety of traditional and unconventional tools (like belt sanders, blowtorches and power saws). The show ran for 10 seasons over five years, coming to an end in 2011.

No Slowing Down

 

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Ace of Cakes may have ended but that didn’t mean things were less busy for Duff. On the contrary, he opened his second bakery, this time in Los Angeles, which has the same Baltimore charm just in sunnier conditions. And more famous people.

Memory Lane

 

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Some of the more memorable events Charm City Cakes has represented over the years were the premieres of Kung-Fu PandaHairspray and a couple of the Harry Potter movies, not to mention the times he was commissioned to make replicas of Radio City Music Hall, Wrigley Field, and the Hubble Space Telescope.

Love and Marriage

 

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Duff and his then girlfriend Johnna Colbry dated for three years before they got married on Jan. 21, 2019. Naturally, there were three cakes at the ceremony: an underwater-themed creation that hung from the ceiling, a traditional white wedding cake for Johnna and a meat cake for Duff. That last concoction was memorable thanks to its bottom meatball tier, secondary meatloaf tier, lamb shawarma for the third tier, and scrapple on top. The frosting was mashed potatoes, bacon roses adorned the “icing,” and gravy cascaded from the chocolate fountain. Obviously.

Lights, Camera, so Much Action

 

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Ace of Cakes may have taken up a lot of Duff’s precious baking time, but after a few years’ hiatus, the baker and chef returned to the small screen in 2014 with Kids Baking Championship. He quickly followed that up with Holiday Baking ChampionshipSpring Baking Championship and Duff Takes the Cake.

Putting Pen to Paper

 

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Duff has always been willing to share the secrets to his success, which he does in cookbook form. The personality released his third title in Fall 2020, Super Good Baking For Kids. Previously he had also released  Ace of Cakes: Inside the World of Charm City Cakes and Duff Bakes: Think and Bake Like a Pro at Home.

Growing His Family

 

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Duff’s third book may have been inspired by the fact that he was about to become a dad himself. In February 2021 Duff and Johnna welcomed baby girl Josephine to the world. “We made a family! I have a whole little family!” he wrote on social media at the time. “I keep telling Josephine about all the wonderful things she’s gonna get to try like pizza and candy and swimming and concerts and riding a bike.”

Merching Out

 

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In addition to growing his business and his family, Duff has also gotten into the merchandising game. On his official site, he hocks plenty of branded t-shirts, beanies and baking accessories, allowing fans to bring a little of Duff into their own kitchens, too.

His Latest TV Adventure

 

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Duff’s latest competition, Buddy vs. Duff, is now in its third season. Duff took the crown in Season 1 thanks to his seriously charming yet complex cakes, but Buddy Valastro rebounded in a big way to take home the win in Season 2. This season, everything will be on the line for these legendary cake artists, who hope to prove once and for all that they are the reigning cake champ.

Watch Buddy vs. Duff Sunday at 9 PM ET/PT and stream all your favourite Food Network Canada shows through STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, or with the new Global TV app, live and on-demand when you sign-in with your cable subscription.

Posted by Denette Wilford. Last Updated on August 22 by Amber Dowling.

Host Buddy Valastro talks to his team on the new season of Buddy vs. Duff.

The Evolution of Buddy Valastro: From Cake Boss to Buddy vs. Duff

Buddy Valastro has come a long way in a short time, from son of a baker to boss of all things baked. And while his personality has made for perfect television, Buddy still does what he does best: bakes elaborate and mouthwatering cakes that are treats for the mouth and the eyes. But while cakes may be his day job (thanks to Carlo’s Bakery), family is everything for the husband and father of four. His two cookbooks are all about famiglia and the fourth generation baker keeps those traditions going in his shops. Let’s take a walk down memory lane and explore the evolution of Buddy Valastro.

Watch Buddy vs. Duff Sunday at 10 PM ET/PT and stream all your favourite Food Network Canada shows through STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, or with the new Global TV app, live and on-demand when you sign-in with your cable subscription.

 Jersey Boy

 

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Buddy was born in Hoboken, N.J. in 1977. The baby of the Valastro clan (he has four older sisters) began working at his family’s business, Carlo’s Bakery, at age 11, alongside his father, Buddy Sr. He took baking courses in high school, but the gene was already baked in his blood. Nothing was going to stop him from creating cakes and other amazing confections.

Shop Talk

 

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Buddy’s dad passed away in 1994 when Buddy was 17. The son not only took over the shop but also succeeded his Pops as the new cake boss — literally.

Buddy’s Television Debut

 

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The shop has made a name for itself by producing some of the most extravagant and grandiose cakes. Buddy made his first appearance on the Food Network in 2007, when he guest-mentored the “Battle of the Brides” episode of Food Network Challenge. But with his personality, it wouldn’t be the last we saw of him on-screen. In fact, it was just a taste.

Star Power

 

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Carlo’s Bakery is known for creating cakes for any occasion that are devoured by celebrities (from Britney, to Gigi, to Beyoncé, to Big Bird) and ordinary Joes alike.

The Big Time

 

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In 2009, his series – the aptly named Cake Boss – premiered on TLC and ran for eight seasons. It spawned several spinoffs including Next Great BakerKitchen BossBakers vs. Fakers and Buddy’s Family Vacation, which featured Buddy, wife Lisa and their four kids — Sofia, Buddy Jr., Marco and Carlo — as they embarked on an RV road trip across America in search of delicious eats and fun-filled adventures.

Sweet Street

 

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Carlo’s Bakery was actually founded by Italian pastry chef Carlo Guastaferro in 1910 before he sold it to Buddy’s father in 1964. In 2010, in honour of the bakery’s 100th anniversary, Hoboken renamed the corner of where the shop sits (Washington and Newark Streets) to Carlo’s Bakery Way.

A Tough Personal Loss

 

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In 2017 Buddy suffered a huge personal blow when the family lost their matriarch, Mary Valastro. The 69-year-old had been diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and she put up a good fight. “She is no longer suffering and I hope she’s dancing to ‘I Will Survive’ with my dad right now,” Buddy shared on social media at the time.

A Rivalry Was Born 

 

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The brilliant idea of pitting Buddy against Ace of Cakes’ Duff Goldman was an epic baking battle that couldn’t be denied. They may be baking royalty but their styles are very different as Buddy’s cakes tend to be huge and filled with all kinds of personality, while Duff’s are meticulously detailed. In any case, Buddy vs. Duff was born, and one thing was clear: Buddy didn’t like it when he lost to Duff—he didn’t like it one little bit.

Host With the Most

 

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Buddy may have been licking those frosted-filled wounds following the first season of Buddy vs. Duff, but he was too busy to dwell on the loss for long. The 43-year-old couldn’t be a more perfect host for the series Bake You Rich, which saw four bakers competing to become a household name. Each episode’s victor found their winning creation available to order at Carlo’s Bakery. Now that’s sweet!

Ace of Cupcakes

Buddy broke his own Guinness World Record in October 2019 when he appeared on Live! With Kelly and Ryan and iced even more cupcakes in one minute than he did earlier in the year.

Buddy vs. Duff: Take Two

 

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Duff may have taken Season 1 of Buddy vs. Duff but Buddy had something to prove in the show’s second season. He and his team mounted an epic comeback with some of the biggest cake creations we’ve ever seen, evening out the score between these two bakers by taking home the win.

A Tragic Accident

 

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Buddy’s victory was short-lived when, in September 2020, he mangled his hand in a gruesome freak accident while bowling with his family. The bowling pinsetter malfunctioned, and a metal rod impaled his hand. The ace baker then underwent five reconstructive surgeries and physical therapy, and today he says he feels back to 90-95 per cent.

Ready for Round 3

 

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With Buddy and Duff tied at one win apiece, there’s a lot on the line as we head into Buddy vs. Duff Season 3. This time around the challenges are tougher than ever, but both personalities seem ready to prove that they have what it takes to outdo the other. And as far as we’re concerned, we can’t wait to see how it all plays out.

Watch Buddy vs. Duff Sunday at 9 PM ET/PT and stream all your favourite Food Network Canada shows through STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, or with the new Global TV app, live and on-demand when you sign-in with your cable subscription.

Posted by Denette Wilford. Last Updated on August 9 by Amber Dowling.

Buddy Valastro on the set of Big Time Bake

Buddy Valastro Gives Us the Scoop on Big Time Bake

We’re used to seeing cake master Buddy Valastro create masterful concoctions and larger-than-life gateaux, but in his latest series he’s trading in his apron for a scoreboard. In each episode of Big Time Bake Buddy hosts and judges as four bakers create cookies, cupcakes and a showpiece cake in just six hours.

So what’s the twist? Unlike other competition series the clock never stops on this showdown. So bakers not only have to plan out their time wisely, but they have to prove they’re as good at multitasking as they are at creating. We sat down with Buddy to get his hot take on what impresses him in the kitchen, what he misses about competing, and how, despite his impressive resume, he’s really “not a cake snob” at all.

See More: 10 Moments From Buddy vs. Duff That Had Us On the Edge of Our Seats

After doing Buddy vs. Duff, is it nice to be on the other end of the judging table with Big Time Bake?

I love to compete. For years, I really didn’t compete. I just kind of did my own show. I did Cake Boss. And I wasn’t competing with anyone, but it was a way to push myself to the limits, right? And then when you go into a competition, I think that even upped the ante even more. It pushes you even further. So when I’m judging, I’m also rooting. I’m the kind of guy that’s like, ‘Oh, man, I wish I could help’ or, ‘I wish I could give them a piece of advice.’ Just like a lot of people at home. I’m sure a lot of people watch at home and are kind of like ‘Oh, why did you do that,’ or, ‘Why did you use that colour?’ So it’s nice to judge but if you said to me, like gun to the head, ‘What do you want, to compete or judge?’ I would compete.

What is it that you love about competing?

I love to make, to create and it’s just kind of what I like to do. And it’s less about winning or losing. It’s more about challenging myself. Kind of like breaking a new record or making a another favourite cake or, just sparking the ideas. I have the mind of an eight-year-old-boy when I cake design, because I think the ending is possible. Why can’t this cake move, or why can’t it spin, or why can’t it be, you know, five thousand pounds or whatever. Whatever the obstacles are. And when you’re able to look at things that way, and you become successful at it, you look at life that way. So I look at life, I look at business and I go, ‘Why can’t I open a bakery in Canada?’ Or, ‘Why can’t I have vending machines?’ or whatever it is. You’re not afraid to dream big and make things happen. And I feel like a lot of my successes is because of that. I attribute a lot of that to my whimsical daydreaming and cake design to success in business.

Does watching these competitors spark your creativity at all?

Oh, absolutely. You pick things up from the competitors, too. I’m a student and I’m always learning. I see a good idea or a good technique or a good thing and I’m always putting that in my back pocket and trying to do different things with it. And I don’t want you to take what I said before wrong in the sense where, I do love to judge. I still love to encourage people and I still love to give my critique.

Related: The Evolution of Buddy Valastro

How would you describe your judging style?

I’m a pretty open book, I call it the way I see it. If I love something I’m going to tell you I love it. If I don’t like something I’m going to tell you I don’t like it. I gotta tell you, watching this show, you’re rooting and trying to coach and it’s amazing. What I love about this show in particular that’s different than a lot of the older formats that we did, was this show is kind of like non-stop action the whole time. Meaning the clock never stops.

Is that an advantage or a disadvantage?

It might seem like a disadvantage to the competitors for the audience at home, but it’s quite the contrary, it’s the opposite actually. Because when you work in your bakery or you’re doing your thing, you’re making cookies and cakes and pies and everything is happening at the same time. I actually feel like this is more of a baker’s natural habitat. And because we combine the six hours into one, versus having the two-hour cookie round, the two-hour cupcake round, and the two-hour cake round, we’ve been so successful with the level of difficulty in the beauty of the final products throughout. It’s been amazing. I mean, some of these cakes are the best cakes I’ve seen on these types of competition shows. I was totally blown away.

See More: Buddy Valastro’s Coolest Celebrity Cake Creations

What does it take to impress you in that kitchen?

The thing is, I am so impressed. Like, I’m not a cake snob by any means, because I’m the Cake Boss or because I can do some crazy things. I never belittle anybody’s work. Everybody works to their own level, or their own creativity. Everybody marches to the beat of their own drum, right? And I see the beauty in everything. It’s why I’m creative when I dream of cakes. Like if I’m driving to work and it’s fall and I start to see the foliage? Cakes and colours and schemes pop into my mind. Or, if I’m in the Middle East and I’m looking at architecture, I’m inspired. Or if I’m in an old Victorian house and I’m looking at moldings and trims, I can apply that to what I do. To me the world is my inspiration. And by seeing other people’s work and other people’s talents, I learn a lot. I’ve seen a couple of things from watching the show and from seeing competitors compete using different techniques. It was really good.

Watch Big Time Bake Mondays at 10ep and stream all your favourite Food Network Canada shows through STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, or with the new Global TV app, live and on-demand when you sign-in with your cable subscription.

 

9 Memorable Moments From Buddy vs. Duff — Plus, the Season Two Winner Revealed

The batter has been poured, the cakes have been sculpted, and the second season of Buddy vs. Duff is in the (flour) bag. Over eight episodes the Carlo’s Bakery and Charm City Cakes owners have gone head-to-head in a flurry of challenges, proving they really are the crème de la butter-crème when it comes to larger-than-life cakes. Here are all of our favourite season two moments leading up to and including the Buddy vs Duff finale, when the judges named this year’s ultimate winner.

Duff Decorates the Inside of a Cake

Riding high on his first season win, Duff was ready to pull out all the stops in the first episode when the guys were asked to create a New York City cake that showed off their best interpretation skills. And while Buddy went big and recreated the Statue of Liberty, Duff dug into the details of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Most of those details just happened to be inside of the cake itself, and the judges could only see those beautiful arches and stained glass through a camera. In the end, those details earned the baker the extra half-a-point he needed to take the first challenge win, but one thing was clear: this was going to be a close season full of next-level cakes.

Buddy vs Duff season 2 episode 1 winner

Forklifts Are the New Stand Mixer

Proving that bigger is actually sometimes better, Buddy set the tone in the dinosaur sleepover challenge when the guys were asked to tackle realism and dinos. Not only did Buddy recreate a life-size creature with amazing eyeballs and textured skin (thanks to the help of some gumballs), but the crew needed a forklift just to lift the thing. It wasn’t the last time Buddy used the machine to help crate his creations around throughout the season, proving that next-level bakers need next-level tools.

Buddy vs. Duff season 2 episode 2 winner

Related: The Evolution of Buddy Valastro 

Duff Pulls Off a Horse, Because of Course

When Buddy had the lead heading into episode three, Duff realized he needed to up his own game for the medieval feast challenge. So when the judges told them to hone in on special effects, he and his team built a gigantic horse that transformed into a unicorn and farted glitter. Not only are horses one of the hardest bakes to pull off to begin with, but this creation was so big that Duff and Co. couldn’t even get it out the door without disassembling it first.

Buddy vs Duff season 2 episode 3 winner

Everyone Recreates Jordin Sparks

It has to be super trippy to see yourself in cake form, but Jordin Sparks was seeing double in the Waitress musical challenge when the guys were tasked with creating a tableau that best described the play. Buddy’s team opted for a cute caricature while Duff’s team did a life-size recreation, and while both offerings had Sparks tearing up it was Duff’s cake that pulled out the big W.

Buddy vs. Duff season 2 episode 4 winner

Duff Loses to the Clock

When the teams headed to the aquarium to pull off some swimming aquatic cakes, Duff got up in his head when he realized he may have overshot his cake—especially when he saw Buddy’s impressive three-tonne whale bake. So with dozens of details still not complete at the 48-hour mark, Duff kept working and wound up taking a two-point time penalty. As a result, Buddy earned five total extra points that week, propelling him to an easy win.

Buddy vs Duff season 2 episode 5 winner

Related: The Evolution of Duff Goldman

The Air Conditioner Goes Bust

Duff was feeling the pressure heading into the mini golf challenge and admitted he was pretty thirsty for some redemption after the aquatic kerfuffle. So he went with an oceanside theme for his hole, which quickly went awry when the air conditioner at his shop went bust and his cakes started melting. Buddy, meanwhile, created a Carlo’s Bakery theme with dozens of cakes and an impressive storefront sign, easily beating Duff once again.

Buddy vs. Duff season 2 episode 6 winner

Team Duff Takes a Camera Detox

With two tough losses under his iced belt, Duff was in his feelings by the time the guys got around to the amusement park challenge and they were asked to incorporate movement into their cakes. Both teams went for carousels, but in a surprise move, Team Duff went dark. Turns out the baker just really needed to be able to focus on the fun of creating with his team, and so he turned the cameras around. As a result, for the first time all season, neither Buddy nor the judges could see what he was up to.

Buddy Makes the Most Interactive Cake Yet

Meanwhile over on Team Buddy, the baker decided to go all-in and make a carousel cake that the judges could also ride. Enter that famous forklift and a whole lot of stress, because if that thing wasn’t properly designed it could actually end up seriously hurting someone. They pulled it off in the end, but it wasn’t enough to top Duff’s top-secret cake, which shot out popcorn and won by a whopping three points.

Buddy vs. Duff season 2 episode 7 winner

Related: 10 Moments From Buddy vs. Duff Season One That Had Us on the Edge of Our Seast

Buddy Takes the Cake

Heading into the finale Buddy had an impressive six-point lead, but with two Star Wars-themed cakes on the line that had to incorporate all of the previous skills, the pressure was on. Buddy impressed with a recreation of the Millennium Falcon and a laser show that the audience was certainly there for, but in the end, Buddy’s X-wing tableau with an amazingly sculpted Yoda was the cake of the night. However, Duff’s win wasn’t enough to overcome a tough season full of surprise mishaps, and in the end, Buddy got the ultimate redemption when he was named season two winner.

So that’s one season win for Duff, and one season win for Buddy. It seems like a third-season tie-breaker is inevitable, no? Well there’s no news just quite yet, but one thing is clear: people definitely need more jaw-dropping cakes from this duo.

Buddy vs Duff season 2 episode 8 winner

Watch Buddy vs. Duff Sunday and stream all your favourite Food Network Canada shows through STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, or with the new Global TV app, live and on-demand when you sign-in with your cable subscription.

 

Food Network Canada spring schedule

8 Reasons You Need to Watch Food Network Canada This Spring

Winter is finally behind us, which means it’s time to trade in the hearty soups and casseroles for crisp salads and grilled fare. It’s been a long haul, but we’ve officially made it through the ice storms and sub-zero temperatures, and now we can’t wait to get out there and celebrate all the delicious things spring has to offer.

That includes some downright delectable selections coming up on Food Network Canada. The spring lineup is jam-packed with new and returning personalities, a few fun new competition series, and the return of Top Chef Canada, to name a few. Read on for all the reasons you’ll want to tune in to watch Food Network Canada this spring.

Buddy-Valastro-and-Duff-Goldman

Buddy vs. Duff

Premieres: March 10

Who’s your favourite pastry chef, Buddy Valastro or Duff Goldman? Both guys have been hitting us with their insider baking knowledge for years, but for the first time ever they’re going head-to-head in the kitchen for what might be the greatest feud in baking history.

Over the course of six pastry-filled episodes, Buddy and Duff compete in an intense selection of themed bake-offs that tackle everything from carnival treats and beautiful pies to plated desserts and doughnuts.

Along the way, they’ll also participate in six “cake-offs,” in which the chefs and their hand-selected teams try to outdo one another in a bid for bragging rights.

It all culminates in a massive showdown at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute, where the chefs help execute two decadent wedding proposals before crafting special space-themed cakes that put all of their skills on the line.

Spring Baking Championship season 5 with Clinton Kelly

Spring Baking Championship

Premieres: March 18

Get those convection ovens ready because the fifth season of this seasonal baking competition is back, baby! Ten new bakers are ready to mix, whisk and purée their way to a big $25,000 win, and they’re willing to pull out all of their best baking tricks in order to nail this thing.

The competition kicks off with celebratory challenges, in which the competitors invoke their inner artists to create animal-themed doughnuts and, later on, watercolour cakes featuring all of spring’s best fruits and veggies. Decorative pies, marshmallow treats, and nutty desserts are also in store throughout the rest of the season.

Joining returning judges Duff Goldman, Lorraine Pascale and Nancy Fuller is new host Clinton Kelly, of What Not To Wear fame. We have faith that the lifestyle expert will be just as deft at handling these new hosting duties as he is the latest fashions.

Family Food Showdown

Premieres: March 21

There’s nothing quite like the act of cooking to bring families together, whether it’s through a secret family recipe, weeknight dinners at the table, or even a Sunday afternoon bake-session with the kids. But in this new competition series hosted by Valerie Bertinelli, we’re about to meet a series of families for whom food is everything.

In each episode, two foodie families (think restauranteurs, food truck operators, competition cooks and relatives) face off in a series of challenges that are designed to put their cooking, communication, and creativity to the test for a weekly $10,000 prize.

“With these contestants it’s not just about the money,” Bertinelli says. “There was a lot of pride involved, and so that’s when you’d see the fires really start to happen on the grills and in their personalities. So I would get close to them immediately, and it was really hard to watch the ones that didn’t get to go through. You start to fall in love with these contestants.”

Fire-Masters

Fire Masters

Premieres: March 21

The kitchen is about to get lit with the debut of this brand new Canadian competition show, which ditches the traditional oven in favour of all things grilled, charred and ‘cued. In 10 fire-fuelled episodes chefs from across North America come together in a sizzling, three-part cook-off for a rotating panel of established judges.

In the first round, three chefs must present an impressive signature dish to stay alive in the Napoleon grill arena. In the second round, the two remaining chefs go head-to-head by incorporating one of two featured ingredients into their dish. And then in the last round, the “Feast of Fire,” the last man or woman standing will take on one of the Fire Master judges.

Considering this year’s roster of experts includes former Top Chef Canada competitors and some of the greatest pitmasters around, we’d say the contestants have their work cut out for them. Canadian chef Dylan Benoit hosts the fireocious new series.

Burgers-Brew-and-Que

Burgers, Brew & ‘Que

Premieres: March 21

What’s better than a perfectly grilled burger and a fresh pint to go with it? Not much, according to Iron Chef Michael Symon. The chef and personality is back for a fourth season of his grilled-meats-based travel show, and we can’t wait to see what he’s going to uncover next.

Follow along as Symon searches high and low for the best barbecue and burgers in America, from elaborate cheeseburgers and perfectly smoked brisket, to fall-off-the-bone ribs and ridiculous roasts. Of course, he’ll also need some hoppy local brews and bevvys to wash it all down with, giving us some serious barbecue envy. In fact, a few episodes in, and you’ll probably want to start crafting your own food-based road trip, too.

Top Chef Canada Season 7

Top Chef Canada

Premieres: April 1

This is not a drill — Canada’s most prestigious culinary competition is back, and this season the “steaks” are higher than ever. Join 12 up-and-coming chefs, each representing the coming-of-age in the Canadian food scene, as they battle in some of the most intense Quickfires and fiercest Elimination Challenges to-date. On the line? A $100,000 cash prize from Interac, a design-inspired Café kitchen, a culinary tour of Italy for two from Air Transat, $5,000 worth of Cuisinart products, and the title of Top Chef Canada.

The action kicks off in the premiere episode with an “In-Cook” twist, when the 11 named competitors are asked to judge dishes from the three chefs vying for the last spot in the competition.

That inaugural challenge certainly sets the tone for the season to come, and we can’t wait to dig in. Host Eden Grinshpan is back to helm all the action; she’s joined by returning head judge Mark McEwan and resident judges Chris Nuttall-Smith, Mijune Pak and Janet Zuccarini.

Restaurant Impossible

Premieres: April 23

We have a soft spot for the owners of failing restaurants… after all, who doesn’t appreciate a foodie who is trying to put his or her dreams into action? So we’re all in when the 14th season of Robert Irvines restaurant-saving series returns in April following a two-and-a-half-year hiatus. After all, who doesn’t want to watch a new slew of restaurant owners that just need a little help in turning things around?

With a mere $10,000 and only two days to do it, it’s all hands on deck as Irvine attempts to muscle his way through the overhauls, teaching these owners the dos and don’ts of the industry so that their eateries can ultimately survive.

It’s a tall order, but if anyone has proven his salt over the years it’s gotta be chef Irvine.

Best Baker in America

Premieres: May 19

Sure, you can do better than store-bought goodies for the bake sale, and you’ve been known to roll out the fondant on occasion. But do you have what it takes to be classified as the best baker in the country? That’s the question this series poses when it returns for a hefty third season of elevated buttercream frostings, airy meringues, and modern takes on some tried-and-true classics.

Follow along as a brand new batch of contestants prove they have the baking skills needed to impress the all-star judges — and each other — in their rise to the top.

Buddy vs. Duff

Buddy vs. Duff: See Buddy Valastro and Duff Goldman’s Most Epic Cakes

In Buddy vs. Duff, legendary bakers Buddy Valastro and Duff Goldman will bring their culinary A-game as they face off in a series of dessert-themed challenges. The battling bakers will compete in a final space-themed task, where the judges will crown the winner and settle this epic feud once and for all. For a (visual) taste of what you cake expect to see from the series, we’ve kicked off the competition early, showcasing some of the most epic baked creations from Buddy and Duff. May the best baker win!

Buddy’s a pro at bringing animals to life

This sea-creature-inspired cake has our eyes go from the Hammerhead shark breaking through the top-most tier to the eel weaving it’s way through the middle section, all the way to the colorful collection of underwater life and seashells scattered all around the base of this cake. From shading to texture, we just can’t get over how detailed every creature on this cake is up-close!

Duff is all about the details when it comes to scene-style cakes

This elaborate city-scape cake created by Duff and his team called for 150 pounds of cake and 50 pounds of fondant. There is so much going on here, from a “just married” car and mini wedding cake to the hot air balloon — can you spot the sailboat?

Buddy is a master chef when it comes to barbeque baking

This cake, dubbed “House of Que”, looks so good; you would think it was the real deal. We’ll take a side of ribs, please!

Duff is always looking to up the ante

Never to be outdone, Duff takes the barbeque-baking concept to the next level, with his massive and ultra-realistic steak-cake, created with the Baltimore Ravens logo seemingly seared into the fondant. We love how detailed this cake is, from the meat-like texture created with shading and colouring, to the T-bone design that really completes the illusion of a real steak.

Buddy has a musical side – or at least his cakes do

Buddy created this amazing guitar-themed cake as a birthday tribute to musical icon Willie Nelson. The hand-painted details make this creation a true work of art — just look at the (intentional) signs of “wear and tear” and signature designs added to mimic Willie’s real guitar.

No one does a large-scale cake quite like Duff

This behemoth of a stadium-themed cake, designed to mimic the real deal and created for the US Open Grand Slam Tennis Tournament in 2010, has onlookers in awe as Duff adds the final touches. We love how Duff was able to mimic crowds in the stands, and have you seen the extra design elements outside of the stadium piece?

Buddy’s a builder – with fondant, at least

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Having so fun @marylandlive how do you like my cake?

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Channeling his inner urban planner, Buddy crafted this true-to-life urban landscape for Maryland Live, and judging by the look on his face — he seems pretty happy with the results. We don’t blame him — the buildings, roadways and even greenery that sit atop the base of this giant cake all look like the real-deal.

Duff creates the stuff of (Marvel) legends

Would you believe this giant Hulk recreation is in fact, a fully-edible cake? Believe it! The mean green machine himself was built up as a cake and presented by Duff to the Stan Lee in 2014 at Comikaze Expo. Duff recently reposed this epic throwback creation as a tribute to the late Marvel Comics legend.

Buddy serves up the best of both worlds

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If you struggle with satisfying your sweet tooth while also getting your daily fruit-fix, Buddy’s got the solution with this delicious watermelon cake. All cake and icing on the outside, with juicy, ripened watermelon on the inside. Now this is a summertime treat to get excited about!

Duff makes the donut cake of all donut cakes

Helping Krispy Kreme celebrate their 81st birthday – and the launch of a new donut flavor – is no easy task, but judging by this cake, Duff is up to the challenge. This donut-covered cake looks too good to be true… mind if we have a piece, Duff?

Tune in to Buddy vs. Duff Sundays at 10:00 PM E/P.