Featured Event

We Judged a Reality TV Baking Show: Here’s What Surprised Us Most

Event Planner: Paulette Wolf Events | Decor/Design: Kehoe Designs | Venue: The Lakewood | Photographer: Andrew Weeks Photography

In November of 2017, PartySlate starred in an episode of Cake Hunters for the Cooking Channel. On the show, three bakers compete to earn a job from a client looking for the perfect cake. “The producers happened to be looking for two Chicago events taking place in November,” says Julie Roth Novack, CEO and Co-Founder of PartySlate. As a site where event professionals share their work to inspire those planning celebrations, PartySlate was a natural fit for the show.


Novack says, “We interviewed and told them about our vision for our 2-year anniversary party and were immediately cast.” The Cake Hunters casting director seeks opposing opinions and she couldn’t have gotten luckier than with Novack and PartySlate’s Director of Digital Marketing and Events, Katie Kozlowski, who had very different ideas for what they wanted in a cake.


While Novack wanted a literal translation of the company in elegant cake form — one layer to represent weddings, one for Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, another for corporate events, milestone birthdays and so on — what Kozlowski wanted was a little harder to define. “I wanted something we’ve never seen before.” Let’s just say Kozlowski got her wish.




How Long a 30-minute Show Actually Takes to Film

“We shot scenes for four full days — two spent in bakeries (not complaining), another being filmed working and then the day of the party,” says Novack. And that’s only half of the show. “They filmed the bakers too, in interviews and behind-the-scenes shots,” adds Kozlowski.


The Retakes and Retakes and Retakes

When cakes were presented, the film team captured Novack and Kozlowski’s genuine reactions. But, lighting and angles dictated more than one take. “We had to replay our natural reactions over and over,” says Novack. Kozlowski says, “It was present, react, present, react, cut cake, react — taste, taste, taste.” She adds that another slowdown was that the camera batteries kept needing to be changed. “The industry needs longer-lasting batteries!”

The Wardrobe Requirement that Stumped

The wardrobe requirements for the show seemed simple at first glance: dress for your personality, no spaghetti straps, and no black clothing (it’s too hard to shoot). The problem was that while Kozlowski’s closet is a burst of rainbow color, Novack’s clothing color scheme ranges from black to onyx (i.e., even darker black). The only outfit in keeping with her authentic personality would be black layered on black. So, that’s what she quietly wore.


Where’s the Glamour?

“For most of the days of filming, we wore our own clothes and did our own hair and makeup,” says Kozlowski. The only exception was at the big anniversary celebration when PartySlate brought in the stylish professionals from Blo Blow Dry Bar to get their hair and make-up party-ready.


The Fun Parts

The fun parts weren’t being followed around by a film crew or getting dressed up. “We had fun together,” says Novack. “Of course, we also ate with the crew and asked questions about making a television show.” Both were thrilled to see what it’s like behind the scenes on the types of shows they regularly watch. They even got to do that reality show staple — confessionals!


Kozlowski also really enjoyed eating the cake, “All of the extra flavors and frostings and toppings, oh my!”

How the Final Cake Fooled Everyone

When the duo visited bakeries to taste cakes, they spent time sitting at a table without realizing there was a cake there all along. “They punked us,” says Novack, “The cake was on the table in the form of a vase of flowers. Every part of it was edible and it completely fooled us.” The team was in unanimous agreement about the winning baker and thought they knew exactly what their cake would look like but the night of the party brought lots of surprises.


While the winning baker originally crafted a flower vase cake, her event vision was on a much bigger scale. “I couldn’t believe how large the final cake was,” says Kozlowski. The show erected a decoy cake to throw guests off and when it came time to cut into the real pastry, “People were in total shock that it was actually a cake,” says Novack.  


Novack got her wish with creative branding that represented PartySlate’s range. And Kozlowski got hers — no one had ever seen a cake like that before. Ultimately it married both visions to perfectly represent the company as an innovator, offering surprise and delight and something totally unique.


WATCH: The Cake Hunters show starring PartySlate will first appear on the Cooking Channel on Friday, March 16, 2018 at 10pm EST|9pm CST

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