Review: Sugar High
I have said it more than once. I’m tired of dessert oriented shows. I know that a lot of people dig them but for a savory guy they just don’t cut the mustard. As humorous and charming as Adam Gertler is I really can’t get into Kid in a Candy Store. I love Cooking Channel’s Unique Eats but it’s spin-off Unique Sweets bores me. The same for Top Chef and Top Chef: Just Desserts. And don’t get me started on Cupcake Wars (worst show on TV).
The one dessert show that I did like was Ace of Cakes which wrapped production last winter. Let’s face it, Ace was the best and everything that’s come out since is trying to capture the magic at Charmed City Cakes. But I didn’t dig Ace because of the mind-boggling cake sculptures, although they were cool, I liked it because of the staff at the bakery. They were very interesting and funny people, devoid of onscreen drama. Especially the adorable Katherine Hill. Purrrrr.
When a friend at the Network hipped me that Duff had a new show coming out I approached it with mixed feelings. I, like most Food Network viewers, like Duff a lot. He is one of the most recognizable stars in the food TV universe and one of the most likeable as well. But at the same time it was sure to be just another dessert show. Duff is great but it was his interaction with his staff that made Ace so much fun.
Imagine my surprise when I watched the premiere. Duff makes an extremely good food/travel host. It was still Duff, but there is a polish and professionalism to his voice-over narrative that makes him exceedingly approachable. It isn’t silly nor over the top. All of the voice-over work is so good it makes me wonder why he hasn’t made a career out of documentaries and commercials. The voice was Duff, but then again it was someone new.
Then came the interaction with each featured vendor. There was the old Duff. The joking, the crazy laugh, the quirky sense of humor; it was all there. So now we have the best of both worlds. The new, mature host Duff and the old, playful, cake blower-upper Duff. What a terrific blend.
But what about the content? It’s still just dessert right, glorified bowls of sugar? Not for me it wasn’t. The producers have done a great job of lining up vendors with personalities that compliment the host’s. It made me care about desserts. In fact, I’m adding Venice Beach’s Schulzies Bread Pudding to my “must do” list on my next trip to LA.
108 bread puddings? Are you kidding me? To me bread pudding is the perfect dessert food. It can taste like whatever your favorite desserts is. It’s easy as all get out to make, makes use of left-over ingredients (gotta watch that food cost) and it has tradition. It has all of the things people look for in a great dessert – complexity of flavor, contrasting textures and luxury that can only come from sugar and saturated fat. If you ever see me on a reality cooking competition you can bet my dessert course will be breading pudding. Or Key lime pie.
Okay, back on topic. I cannot believe how enjoyable I found the show. Would I like it better if it were Ribeye High? Probably, I never get tired of seeing a perfectly cooked medium-rare piece of meat, That being said, I’ll be tuning back in to Sugar High and for me that’s high praise, especially for a dessert show.
Sugar High airs Fridays at at 10:30pm/9:30c on the Food Network.