You’ve heard of deconstructed cake — but how about reconstructed cake?
FOX’s Crime Scene Kitchen (Wednesdays at 9pm ET/PT beginning May 26) puts a twist on the baking competition show. In each episode, a dessert item has been stolen, and it’s up to 12 pairs of bakers to become forensic scientists and figure out what dessert was made based on the crumbs, flour trails, stuff stuck on a whisk and a few other hidden clues left in the kitchen. The teams must re-create the dessert to the best of their abilities and have the final product judged by cake expert Yolanda Gampp and chef Curtis Stone. The team that survives all the eliminations wins a $100,000 prize.
Actor, comedian and proudly self-professed food snob Joel McHale has the enviable duty of hosting the show and sampling the goods.
“We’re eating cake all day that is freshly made by world-class bakers,” McHale says. “It’s a bonanza, and the poor crew is looking at it and salivating onto their eyepieces. The Crime Scene Kitchen just smells like a bakery, and it’s wonderful.”
Sure, rub it in. “I don’t know much about cakes, because I’m afraid if I learn too much then I’ll just start eating them endlessly,” McHale says. “Some of the things they’re coming up with are incredible, and some of the disasters are also spectacular. It’s a whole spectrum of success and failure, and the agony of defeated pound cake.”
A team’s success or failure is determined by two experts with finely tuned taste buds. “You’ve got Yolanda Gampp, who’s like a freakin’ computer,” McHale says. “She’s a cake lady and she’s just incredible. She knows so much that it kind of scares me. She started out with a YouTube channel and now she has an empire. And of course, the world-famous Curtis Stone. He knows so much about food in general — and not just cakes and desserts and puddings and all that. He knows about everything, and he knows the business really well.”
If Gampp and Stone aren’t sweet on something, they’ll make it known. “They’re not pulling any punches,” McHale says. “Sometimes they’ll say something like, ‘And the crust density wasn’t the same, wasn’t uniform.’ And I’m like, ‘I’m fine with it. It’s very delicious. Don’t worry about it. I don’t care about crust density.’ That’s what I do.”
All the ingredients whip up into one tasty TV soufflé. “There are tears, and there’s a lot of sweat and people are freaking out,” McHale says. “It’s great. It’s good television. And also I’ve been eating way too many carbohydrates.”