Jonathan Bennett's War on Cake

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Food Network
I can't get enough of it and I'm on the damn thing!

Everyone loves a little friendly competition and when that competition ends with an array of edible works of art, well, that's even better. On June 29th at 8:00pm ET/PT, the games will indeed begin on the Food Network's new show Cake Wars where four bakers will compete for $10,000 and the chance to have their cake take center stage at a special event. We talked to the hilarious host of Cake Wars, Jonathan Bennett, before the big premiere to hear about his gig, inquire on his calorie intake during filming, and we couldn't pass up the chance to drill him on his past appearance on Dancing with the Stars.

OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): OK I've asked a few people if they'd ever be on Dancing with the Stars because, sequins. But you were actually on it! Do tell.

Jonathan Bennett: All I wore was sequins. I was just one giant sequin out there! [Laughs.] I got in involved with it because I lost both of my parents and they were such big fans of the show. I was sort of in a rut so I wanted to go and do something to honor them. When the opportunity came to do the show, I jumped at the chance. I mean, who doesn't want to go do Dancing with the Stars and feel alive again? But let me tell you, when you are on that show, it's all about spray tans and sequins. That is the most important thing!


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We Bet Ty Pennington Loves Diners More Than You

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Food Network
It's crazy and I guess I just love crazy.

Ty Pennington spent years helping families while showing off his quirky side (and stealing our hearts) on Trading Spaces and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. He has an obvious passion for lending his talented hands and this time around, he has Chef Amanda Freitag by his side to give a much needed revamp to some of the greatest diners across this country on the Food Network series American Diner Revival. It seems as if Ty drops off doses of positivity wherever he goes and we wanted in on hearing about how he's dishing it up on the new show. As always with TV and real life, there's a lot more than meets the eye and that perfectly describes this show and Ty.

OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): With all of the reboots happening these days, what are the chances of getting Trading Spaces back on the air? I loved that show.

Ty Pennington: That's a really good question! I've seen a couple that are out that are similar to that but honestly, that was the perfect format in my opinion. The British really got it right when they first did Changing Rooms. Back when I was on it like, for the first three seasons, they cast such crazy different types of people to be on it so I have to admit, it was one of my favorite shows too. It was good fun because I could just build stuff, which is what I do, but it also taught me how to build really cool stuff when all you have to work with is thirty dollars. It was also a lot of fun being an a-hole to designers that just wanted the world. [Laughs.] It was a blast. I hope one day they'll think about doing that. Then again, sometimes things just have to run their course.


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Starting Today, You Can Have Alcohol from Hi-Time Delivered Right to Your Door

Categories: Food Media

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A few Uber for X services have been coming to Orange County lately (most notably, Postmates and DoorDash), but another one is arriving and I'm super excited for it: Drizly, the Uber for alcohol (Yes, I know Postmates will deliver alcohol too, but the exciting part comes in a second).

Starting TODAY, you can use the app or website to order booze direct from Hi-Time Wine Cellars, the Weekly's favorite alcohol shop, to be delivered within an hour. Yup, now you won't have to put on real pants when you run out of booze.There is a catch though -- you have to live in either Newport Beach, Irvine, Huntington Beach, or Costa Mesa.

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Q + A With Say It To My Face Co-Host/Slapfish Man Andrew Gruel

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Andrew Gruel
Can't stop. Won't stop. Nonstop.

It's been almost four years since we first sat down with Andrew Gruel of Slapfish. Since that time, the sustainable brand has gone brick-and-mortar, expanded into Dubai, and has been featured on TODAY. Next up: Co-hosting duties with Anthony Dispensa (his West Coast Director of Operations) on FYI's Say It To My Face, premiering this Saturday night. Now seemed as good a time as any to catch up over lunch.

You've been on your fair share of television shows. Are there any stereotypes about television that you found true?
One stereotype is that it is every producer's goal to get people to cry on TV. That's true.


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Irvine Man Is Finalist for PETA's Sexiest Vegan Next Door

Categories: Food Media

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Courtesy PETA
He sure looks like an Australian surfer guy

If you're into that sort of thing, an Irvine man is currently one of 10 male finalists in PETA's Sexiest Vegan Next Door contest. 34-year-old Lloyd Austin, originally from Australia, might win an all expenses-paid trip to Maui if you vote for him on PETA's website.

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Good Eats Is Back on Netflix! (Also: More Chopped, Iron Chef America, and Buncha Other Food Shows)

Categories: Food Media

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The man is back!

Netflix isn't the best when it comes to food programing. There are some great documentaries and the occasional series, but most food content producers are stingy on the online streaming (okay, it's mostly the Food Network that doesn't want to stream everything.)

But hey, now that Nextflix's library has refreshed again, there's some more TV to watch.

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Little Sparrow On Best New Restaurant Tomorrow!

Categories: Food Media

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Photo by Eleonor Segura
One component of a (hopefully) winning team.

It must be one of those weeks, because it isn't often when we can root for a team in a sport we understand. Competitive cooking challenges can be just as nail-biting as the final minute in a football game. Bravo's series Best New Restaurant follows sixteen popular establishments from around the country, putting them head-to-head against each other. Who comes out on top is anybody's guess, but we intend to cheer for Little Sparrow.

A Weekling favorite since they emerged on the scene in May 2013, our team has managed to include the Santa Ana gem in everything from Top 100 lists to chef interviews. Owners, managers and spouses Naseem Aflakian and Bruce Marsh envisioned it to be similar to a neighborhood brasserie, serving New American cuisine. Per Bruce, they present exactly what Best New Restaurant is seeking, "an entire package of service, ambiance and food."

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We Support the Taco Emoji--But a Burrito Emoji Would be Better

Categories: Food Media

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I've only just recently gotten up on my emoji game, preferring instead Facebook stickers and nouveau emoticons to the sanctioned icons from the Unicode Consortium, but I can appreciate their importance. I mean, they're pretty cool. How else am I supposed to express my desire for sushi? Or that I feel like :|? Using actually words? Come on now.

But for the past year or so, there's been a core emotion I've been unable to express, and I bet you can guess what it is from the headline. But, as mid-2015 Unicode update gets closer, we have a chance to fix that.

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Afters Ice Cream Is the Sixth Most Yelped Place of 2014

Categories: Food Media

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Photo by Charles Lam
They sold hundreds of thousands of these

Time to add another feather to the Yelp cap that is Orange County. First,
Bruxie was the second highest rated restaurant of 2011. Then we placed a bunch on all of the Top 100 Yelpiest lists. And now the latest: Afters Ice Cream, Orange County's darling opening of 2014, is the sixth most Yelped about place of 2014.

Congratulations guys, you deserve it.


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We're all in With Duff Goldman from Duff Till Dawn

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Some might call Duff Goldman the "Ace of Cakes" but around these parts when it comes to this baker extraordinaire, we like to think of him more so as the "ace of cool." Throwing his much needed sleep out the window, on January 29th (at 10:30PM ET/7:30PM PT) Goldman will be pulling an all-nighter on his new Food Network show "Duff Till Dawn." Competition shows are all the rage these days and this show is no exception as it pits two teams of cake decorators against each other to create the ultimate one of a kind over-the-top cake in order to win the "golden whisk." Featuring a cast of rotating judges, Duff Till Dawn promises challenges and twists that will keep you enthralled from dusk to...well, you get the idea.

OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): Who came up with all of the challenge themes for Duff Till Dawn?

Duff Goldman: That was me and our supervisor/producer. This is actually the first show I've ever produced so it's a new venture for me. I really wanted to be a producer on it because I've competed in so many competitions from ice carving to chocolate sculptures and cakes and I know what works and what doesn't work for contestants. What I've seen with some of the shows that we see on TV, people who don't really understand how cake decorating works treat it like a baking competition and they're very different. Cake decorating is a whole other party so to use the types of challenges that people use in baking challenges, well, it just doesn't work. We really came up with rules and a format that is as loose and open as possible because we really want people to shine. The whole point of the show is to show off how incredible these people are. These are people who work on texture and flavor in a medium that really doesn't want to do what you tell it to do. In coming up with the challenges, we are really giving people the chance to show off what they are best at.


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