Cristina Vazquez always had a penchant for baking—but before she set her sights on attending culinary school, her parents wanted to ensure she was serious about the craft.
Vazquez began working for free at a Glen Rock bakery at age 14, where she learned the basics of baking and decorating between school and other activities.
Years later, Vazquez has a bakery of her own in the same town—with a degree from Johnson & Wales University under her belt.
“Now [Glen Rock] is where my brick-and-mortar is,” she says of Petal Dust Cakery, which specializes in custom cakes, desserts and other whimsical treats. “It’s really come full circle.”
Last summer, Vazquez competed on Prime Video’s Dr. Seuss Baking Challenge. Prior to that, her competition résumé included wins on Food Network’s Big Time Bake and Halloween Baking Championship, a second-place finish on Spring Baking Championship and a guest judge appearance on Buddy vs. Duff.
Vazquez and her partner on the show, Kerrie Breuer, won the Seuss competition—and $50,000 to share.
“I definitely have a competitive nature and want to keep competing,” Vazquez says. “That’s how you better yourself. You keep learning from other people and from experiences like these.”
All episodes of Dr. Seuss Baking Challenge are now streaming on Prime Video.
What do you consider your specialty?
Cristina Vazquez: At my shop, we do whimsical treats every day. That’s just my aesthetic. I like color, I like sparkles—and if my cakes or desserts don’t make someone’s eyes light up, then they’re not doing their job. Custom cakes are our bread and butter.
What was the filming of Dr. Seuss Baking Challenge like?
We filmed in the summer in Los Angeles, and it was a long shooting time. Once you get into the groove of it, it really flies by. You do so many challenges, and it’s fun in that aspect, but it definitely is extremely challenging. I left my business at home, which is like my baby, but my staff were rock stars and took care of everything while I was gone.
Is Kerrie, your partner on the show, part of Petal Dust Cakery?
She’s not! She’s from Chicago, and I met her for the first time on the show when we were paired up. She’s my opposite, which was good, because I’m the crazy one and she’s a bit more introverted. We worked really well together. Kerrie was so beyond brilliant, and what she has can’t be taught. It’s just talent, and it was awesome to work beside her.
Did you have a favorite challenge or baked item?
My favorite dessert was our smokey dessert. It was delicious, dark, chocolatey and wrapped in Seuss-like bacon. My favorite showpiece was of The Lorax book. The hardest challenge was the initial episode. We struggled a bit working together and learning everything, but after we got over that first episode, we got into our groove and everything felt good.
How did it feel to win?
It was extremely exciting. Kerrie and I had the same mindset, to go in and win this. I have won competitions before, and I’ve come in second before, so I really wanted Kerrie to have that winning experience. I’m engaged to be married and I have a young brick-and-mortar shop, so winning the prize money was great, but that win experience with the confetti and everything is so fun.
Click here to leave a comment