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Archive for the ‘Next Great Baker’ Category


It’s no secret that Season 2 of Next Great Baker has had it’s share of drama. With the sad passing of Sgt. Wesley Durden to Minerva challenging Buddy. Here we talk with Minerva Vázquez who we quickly found out was full of passion, grace and fire!

As an added bonus, she shared one of her favorite recipes with us.

1. Why did you decide to become a pastry chef?
Actually, I’m not a pastry chef; I’m a personal chef and a cake artist. It all started seven years ago when I decided to move from San Juan, PR to Miami, FL. My friends and family were always paying me compliments about my food and desserts; and they would suggest that I should make a career out of it. So, I decided to go for a culinary program at a vocational school in Miami. Soon after that, the word started spreading around. I started as a personal chef doing brunches for small corporations, then private dinners. Desserts were always a hit and suddenly, my customers were asking for birthday cakes. That got me very motivated! I went ahead and took the cake decorating Wilton Method; and that’s how I became a cake artist.
 
2. If not a Personal Chef, or Cake Artist what would you be doing right now?
I love the food industry with a passion! So if I’m not cooking or baking for a specific client; I would be on TV, teaching how to cook and bake for an audience of thousands :)
 

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After many conversations back and forth, we are officially posting the cause of death of Wesley Durden, contestant on Next Great Baker. While we don’t feel that publicly posting news of this great sadness is beneficial to our culture at The Bakery Network, we also feel that instead of hunches and rumours flying around, we would give you the news straight from Joyce Chen, with New York Daily News.

Reality TV has claimed its latest victim…Wesley Durden of Next Great Baker.

A contestant on TLC’s “Next Great Baker,” Sgt. Wesley Durden, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after production wrapped in October, according to Fayetteville, N.C. authorities. The network announced Durden’s death at the conclusion of Monday’s episode but failed to mention the death was reportedly a suicide.

“In Memoriam, Wesley Durden 1982-2011, TLC extends its deepest condolences to Wesley’s family and friends,” the network’s on-air note read. “He will be warmly remembered by the cast and crew of ‘Next Great Baker.’”

Durden, 28, was an Iraq War veteran in addition to being a competitor on the baking show.

According to the Jacksonville Daily News newspaper in his home state of North Carolina, Durden was a cook with the 82nd Airborne Division, and was deployed to Iraq twice – from January 2007 to March 2008 and from August 2009 to December 2009.

He is survived by his wife and two young children, Wesley Joel, 7, and Giannia, 2.

Earlier this year, “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” husband Russell Armstrong made headlines after he hanged himself over alleged money and marital problems with wife Taylor.

A friend of the businessman told RadarOnline.com at the time that Armstrong had reached out to him in the days prior to his suicide.

“He was down in the dumps over the latest allegations that he had abused Taylor,” photographer Tom Vickers said of his last conversation with the reality show husband. “I told him people don’t believe everything they read and he told me: ‘It’s funny how a reality show can ruin your entire life.’”

jchen@nydailynews.com

Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/great-baker-reality-tv-show-contestant-sgt-wesley-durden-dies-self-inflicted-gunshot-article-1.994903#ixzz1hI1XO3wA

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A BAKER’S DOZEN COMPETE TO BE TLC’S NEXT GREAT BAKER

Read exclusive interviews on The Bakery Network: http://www.thebakerynetwork.com/next-great-baker-season-2-contestants

13 Contestants vying for $100,000 prize and chance to work at Carlo’s Bakery. 

Buddy “Cake Boss” Valastro is looking for the NEXT GREAT BAKER and 13 aspiring cake artists are entering the kitchen to see if can bake their way to the top. At stake: the sweet prize of $100,000, a four page feature in Brides Magazine, and a chance to work side-by-side with Buddy and his team at Carlo’s Bakery.

The 10-episode season kicks off with a special 90-minute premiere on Monday, November 28 at 9pm ET/PT. The season one finale – which crowned Dana Hebert the winner – averaged 2.34 million viewers, up +67% from its series debut.

“This season is bigger and better – we’ve doubled the prize, the challenges are tougher, and there’s a seasoned ‘bakers dozen’ fighting it out to prove to me they have what it takes to hang with the Carlo’s crew,” said Buddy Valastro.

This season’s contestants include: 

Ryan Cimorelli, Providence, RI
30 years old; Owner, The Bakery Boutique in Smithfield, RI. 

Wesley Durden, Fayetteville NC
29 years old; Active serviceman with 82nd Airborn Division, based at Fort Bragg. 

Chad Fitzgerald, Duncanville, TX
44 years old; Owner of THE CAKE GUYS in Dallas and Duncanville, TX; also a High School Math Teacher. 

Jasmine Frank, Los Angeles, CA
20 years old; Owner of Jazzy Cakes 

Tony Frys, Forth Worth, TX
23 years old; a co-owner of “The Sugar Art” 

Heather Grubb, Knoxville, TN
31 years old; owner of Cake of Knoxville.

Megan Hart, Pittsburgh PA
38 years old; works as a paramedic for the city of Pittsburgh. 

Marissa Lopez, Pompton Lakes NJ
24 years old; Cake decorator at the Brownstone in Patterson NJ and small business owner.

Heather Macia, Las Vegas, NV
32 years old; a culinary school graduate, she currently works as an exotic dancer.

Carmelo Oquendo, Worcester, MA
43 years old; a retired Gang Unit Police Officer and now the “Cakefather of Worcester.” 

Nadine Reibeling, New York, NY
28 years old; owner of Lolly Love, LLC, and also works in catering sales for a hotel.

Minerva Vazquez, Miami, FL
46 years old; a personal chef and cake artist 

Sara Williams, Cedartown, GA
39 years old; owner of a bakery, Crickette’s Cakes 

Contacts: Dustin Smith, (310) 975-1640, dustin_smith@discovery.com
Press materials: http://press.discovery.com/us/tlc/programs/next-great-baker-2/

The series fan site can be found at http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/tv/next-great-baker.  

NEXT GREAT BAKER is produced for TLC by High Noon Entertainment.

About TLC TLC is a global brand that celebrates extraordinary people and relatable life moments through innovative nonfiction programming. A top 10 cable network for women, TLC has built successful franchises around the Cake Boss, Say Yes to the Dress and Police Women brands. In the first half of 2011, TLC had 23 series averaging 1.0 million viewers or more including Extreme Couponing, Sister Wives, 19 Kids and Counting, What Not To Wear, and Kate Plus 8.

TLC is available in more than 99 million homes in the US and 75 million households in 34 countries internationally. A

destination online, TLC.com offers in-depth fan sites, exclusive video content, and original editorial covering style, home, food, and more. Fans can also interact with TLC via On Demand services, on mobile platforms, including an iPhone App, and through social media such as Facebook or @TLC on Twitter. TLC is part of Discovery

Communications (NASDAQ:
DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the world’s number one nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.5 billion cumulative subscribers in over 210 countries and territories.

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Cake Boss Crowns Next Great Baker

Aside from all the fun, the drama, the personalities, the spills, the glory and the down falls, Next Great Baker was serious stuff…serious enough to award the winner $50,000 and a gig with Carlos.

With 3 left standing, only 1 could be crowned Next Great Baker…and the winner is, Dana Herbert of New Castle, Delaware — Chef/Owner of Desserts by Dana.

“Dana proved he had the skills it takes to be a great baker – creativity, drive and perserverance. Through the challenges, he showed he can overcome obstacles, create amazing cakes and impress clients. He’s going to be a great addition to the Carlo’s Bakery family.”

Yes, Dana is a very talented Pastry Chef schooled in the fine art of taste, appearance and knowing what consumers want…oh, and did I mention school? Check it out:

  • BS from University of Delaware in Hotel Restaurant and Institutional Management98’
  • BS from Johnson and Wales University in Culinary Arts 00’
  • AS from Johnson and Wales University in Pastry Arts02’

Joe Baker of The Bakery Network recently had a chance to talk with Dana where he shared ideas about being a race car driver and as well, a few of his recipes. Read the interview and recipes here: www.thebakerynetwork.com/dana-herbert-desserts-dana-next-great-baker

The Bakery Network would also like to congratulate all other contestants for being choosen to appear on the first Next Great Baker…hope to see some new faces and talent soon…it was a blast!

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