Al and Lia"s last competition cake, a red pagoda in the format of a sculpture they spotted in ~ the Venetian in ras Vegas
The amazing roulette cake at the finals watch party in ~ Yacovelli"s--made by Wedding Wonderland (including Al).
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In last night"s season finale of TLC"s “Next an excellent Baker,” it came under to the meatheads, the hotties and also the St. Louisans.
The meatheads, as few of their rivals literally described them, to be the musclebound brand-new Jersey team, Manny and Al. The hotties to be Utahns that Hawaiian descent Kai and also Rox. And also the St. Louisans (not as quickly stereotyped) to be Al Watson and also Lia Weber.
Watson functions at Florissant"s Wedding Wonderland. Weber, a protege that Cupcake battles champ and also culinary prof Casey Shiller, operated with Watson for 4 years in ~ the very same bakery. She is currently the pastry chef at Florissant"s Hendel"s industry Cafe. (Her budding, one-woman baking business is referred to as Made by Lia.)
For the past several months, your adventures and also misadventures ~ above the show have riveted St. Louisans, who have gathered because that weekly watch parties at both Hendel"s and at Yacovelli"s Italian restaurant, which share a parking lot v Wedding Wonderland.
A couple of weeks ago, Al and Lia"s “gravity-defying” cake (built in concert through the Jersey boys) failed to defy gravity, toppling ~ above the floor during the an essential transfer to the judging table. It was a heart-stopping reality-TV moment. The St. Louisans endured a variety of tense elimination challenges, producing cakes both massive and intricate follow me the way.
On Tuesday night"s season finale, ours guy and also gal faced a an overwhelming three-part, seven-hour challenge to whittle under the field from three groups to two. They to be tasked with creating a molded-chocolate centerpiece, the well-known giant-cupcake cake, plus a piped, three-tier cake. Al and Lia do a vanilla cupcake-cake through berry jam filling and also strawberry buttercream icing and also two other handsome desserts. All three groups did fantastic job, however the Utah team erred in your cupcake-cake batter: it come out “rubbery,” as one judge put it. They also couldn"t pipe icing onto your three-tier cake attractively. (How does a team through these weaknesses control to come so much in this kind of catholic dessert competition?)
Al and also Lia won, and also headed to las vegas for the final showdown against elimination-challenge winners Manny and Al.
The pre-finals dinner readily available a very entertaining ring of jawing in between Lia and also Manny. He referred to as her job-related boring, and she reminded him that his work periodically sucked. It was the kind of smack-talk that is the backbone that reality-TV.
The final challenge was to do a cake come be displayed in the window of Carlo"s Bakery"s new outpost in ~ the Venetian hotel and also casino, because that the bakery"s very an initial week that business. Al and also Lia produced a towering red Japanese pagoda and also a tree branch lined through cherry blossoms; it was a strange serene choice for a bakery owned by NGB judge Buddy “Stripper Cake” Valastro, but then again, they apparently sculpted an object they witnessed on the Venetian property. Al"s work with buttercream to be praised together so “clean” that looked like fondant. It to be a gorgeous cake.
Al and Manny had difficulties making your cake symmetry and, ominously, wound up starting over in the center of the contest. Their final cake to be a multi-tiered abomination the garish shade combinations (again). There was simply no way they could be allowed to win the whole enchilada with that cake – and they didn"t.
The announcement that our youngsters in blue to be the winners to be greeted through roars that euphoria at Yacovelli"s. Amidst the cheering, Al took turn off his blue “Next great Baker” chef"s smock and put top top a white one that check out “Carlo"s Bakery.” The prizes because that the show"s win pair include jobs regulating the las vegas bakery because that Valastro (and splitting $100,000).
The weekly gatherings at Yacovelli"s have been a blast. Top top Tuesday night the banquet room was packed with around 700 people, numerous of them in blue “#BlueNGB” shirts make to assistance Al and also Lia. A vast cake, reflective of the finale in Vegas, resembled a roulette wheel and betting board. (It to be delicious.) during the show"s 90-minute season-ender, the crowd was hushed throughout the tense moments, roared as Al and also Lia winner each challenge, and also jeered your competition.
At Hendel"s, about 1,000 world did the very same for their gal Lia at an the end block party. The present was projected top top a gigantic inflatable display as revelers ate at tables set up in the street.
In the end, the pair indigenous St. Louis additionally one one more well sufficient to finest nine other pairs. Lia is classically trained, doggedly competitive and also occasionally cry on Al"s shoulder. Al is an ext taciturn, other than for the strange talkativeness he exhibits under stress. (Lia dubbed him “Chatty Cathy” at one point.) Their efforts were punctuated by sometimes bickering, but in one on-camera interview, they well-known that it"s only organic for human being in such close quarters.
At Al"s watch party, Jack Yacovelli announced a Sept. 3 thank-you party for Wedding Wonderland and also Al with a DJ, food, drinks, and NGB trivia v prizes. Incredibly, Yacovelli"s celebrate its 95th anniversary this year. Four generations that the same household have operation the restaurant.
Watson said he has not yet made decision whether he will relocate to las vegas to help manage Carlo"s. He"s tho savoring his victory, and not however committing to his next move.
Ditto, claimed Weber.
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“I to be excited and also nervous about meeting v Buddy
Al and also Lia will be featured in an short article in the issue of People magazine that comes the end this Friday.