Buddy vs. Duff recap: Can intricate details trump big drama?


In this week’s Buddy vs. Duff recap, the two master pastry chefs take on a carnival treats and a Bollywood inspired cake. Did drama or details win this week?

Drama, details and debates filled this week’s Buddy vs. Duff recap. After last week’s controversial Buddy walk-out, this week had a few uncomfortable moments, too. More importantly, the sweet treats shined on this week’s episode. Still, were there a few questionable decisions by the judges?

This Buddy vs. Duff episode had the same basic premise as the premiere. In the first challenge, Duff picked the theme, carnival treats. While Buddy does make more pastries, Duff could have had an advantage in this challenge. Sometimes his out of the box ideas can captivate an audience.

Carnival treats was a really broad theme. Just think about the confections that fill a carnival. From fried goodies to frozen delights, the options are many. The two chefs took totally different approaches to the challenge.

Buddy created a trio of zeppoles. That classic Italian fried dough was in his wheel house. Everyone expected the fried dough to be soft in the middle yet crisp on the outside. The dough definitely delivered.

While the warm, fried dough was a huge hit, Buddy used the same dough for each zeppole. While the filings were different, his difficulty level was slightly lower. Even one of his filing ingredients was store bought. Those items should have received more criticism from the judges.

Duff took the opposite approach to this carnival treat. His over the top waffle cone was extreme and he made all the components. From fresh waffle cones to two types of ice cream, he was feverishly trying to get all the parts completed. It was a huge task, but one he accomplished well.

While Duff received big creativity points, the judges criticized his flavors. The ice cream flavors were too similar. Given the details in his dessert, the judges’ commentary was a little harsh.

Winning the carnival treats challenge was Buddy. This decision was wrong. Duff’s treat was over the top, creative and difficult. He definitely showcased the idea go big and swing for the fences. That attitude should have been rewarded.

More importantly, Duff’s disappointment was clear but he didn’t storm off and have bad sportsmanship. Buddy showboated in this challenge, sitting on the bench enjoying the view. This type of attitude doesn’t endear him to viewers.

After this challenge and last week’s debacle, it might be a trend that Buddy is positioning himself as the “bad” baker. The bigger attitude, gloating, showboating, etc. could be part of the show’s angle. Still, the concept is somewhat off-putting.

Going into the bake off challenge, a clear line appears to be drawn. Duff represents the super creative, thoughtful cake while Buddy represents the grandiose yet traditional technique approach. Truthfully, it is a personal choice which style is preferred. Just like choosing your wedding cake, everyone’s opinion differs.

Before talking about the cake designs, it is a little curious that these challenges are just about the appearance. No one ever tastes a piece of cake. Granted the first challenge focuses on the pastry and its flavors, shouldn’t the actual cake matter? No one gets a cake just for the visual.

The theme for the bake off is a Bollywood inspired cake. Like the first episode, the biggest difference comes down to size. Buddy went for massive, while Duff went for intricate. While both cakes fit the theme, the approaches were very, very different.

Duff’s cake was visually stunning. The gold leaf elephant looked like a golden elephant statue. The hand painted, elaborate elephant took artistic mastery to another level. But, the judges thought that there was some repetition in the artwork.

Buddy’s cake was over the top, showy and a huge visual statement. The numerous layers, multiple techniques and movement captivated the judges. He was awarded lots of praise for all the different techniques on this cake. From molds to sculpting, Buddy tried to cover it all.

While the theme was clear, the application to theme was unclear in the judges’ decision. If the idea was to create a Bollywood, colorful, blingy cake, that interpretation is huge. When the cakes are side by side, it is just a comparison and an opinion. And, everyone’s opinion can be different.

It is curious that Duff decided to make another smaller cake. Duff has, and does, make some big, impressive cakes. It isn’t that he can’t make a gigantic scale cake; he is choosing not to make one.

After doing two small cakes, Duff cannot make another small cake in episode three. He needs to go big or go home. Just like his multiple step waffle cone carnival dessert, it is time to step up the difficulty level.

Winning both challenges this week was Buddy. He was quite happy and a little over-confident. At the end of this week’s episode, Buddy is ahead by two points in the cumulative baking competition.

Again, hopefully Buddy’s commentary is a little bit of food TV act. Granted, the show needs a story line, but Food Network fans like to see more confections not confrontations. Fans will have to wait till next week to see.

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What did you think of this week’s Buddy vs. Duff recap? Did the judges get it right?