Q&A with Halloween Baking Championship Judge Sherry Yard
On the new show Halloween Baking Championship, expect to be blown away by some of the extremely creepy creations the bakers make, but even more than that, be ready for probably the scariest panel of judges you will ever see, and a host who's not afraid to deliver some deadly news to eliminated bakers. Judges Carla Hall, Ron Ben-Israel and Sherry Yard will be dishing out critiques, while Richard Blais will be sending home those bakers who don't meet the spooktacular criteria of the $25,000 competition show. Before you tune in for the premiere on Monday, October 5 at 9|8c, get to know each of them a little better.
Sherry began her culinary career in New York City before moving on to jobs in London, San Francisco and Los Angeles, where she became Wolfgang Puck's pastry chef for his worldwide operations. She has since gone on to produce television cooking shows for Puck and others. She is currently in the process of reviving Helms Bakery in Los Angeles.
What do you usually give out to trick-or-treaters?
SY: Oh, a bag filled with treats! Always a great candy bar, sour candies, caramels — and a quarter!
Do you have any funny Halloween stories you could share from your childhood?
SY: Always the business gal — after a night of trick-or-treating, my sisters and I would pour our loot onto the kitchen table and make trades for the best treats!
SY: Glinda the Good Witch! Or sometimes I like to dress up in my husband’s work clothes — he is a dentist.
When it comes to Halloween treats, desserts and sweets, do you lean toward cute or creepy? Why?
What's your favorite baking trick or tip in general?
SY: Scale everything in grams — makes for more accurate results. And, don’t over-whip your cream!
If you had to bake a cake to impress a Halloween character (like Frankenstein, Dracula, etc.), who would it be and why?
SY: I like to make bat cakes — with giant wings, fangs and dripping blood.
What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever had to bake (like a towering croquembouche, or a multi-tiered wedding cake)? How did you get through it?
SY: I had just finished assembling an eight-tier wedding cake outdoors and 30 minutes later it began to rain! We didn’t realize because we were in the house preparing the entrees. I ran out and the cake was like the Leaning Tower of Pisa! Me and a team of four people carried it under an awning — I refreshed as quick as I could and placed two giant rose topiaries behind it!
SY: Take your time, make it taste delicious, and don’t get too ambitious, as time runs out really quick!
What criteria are you looking for in a well-executed Halloween dessert?
SY: Decadently, devilishly delicious! I like surprises, too!