The critically acclaimed Netflix baking competition Nailed It! is back for another season with amateur bakers trying to recreate the elegant creations of professional confectioners, and, of course, making a mess of it. But isn’t that the fun of it?
Season 6 sees the return of host/judge Nicole Byer and judge Jacques Torres, plus celebrity judges Wayne Brady, Sam Richardson, Big Freedia, Sasheer Zamata, Reggie Watts, and June Diane Raphael, as well as a surprise celebrity contestant, 30 Rock star Jack McBrayer, who appears in the second episode.
This season, the bakers take on paranormal pastries, celebrate Black History, and attempt to recreate chocolate masterpieces inspired by Torres, all in hopes of winning the $10,000 prize and the coveted Golden Baker’s Hat.
Jacques Torres talks highs and lows of Season 6 of Nailed It!
Monsters & Critics headed into the kitchen with Torres for a chat about the highs and lows of Season 6 of Nailed It!, why he doesn’t like competition shows, and the fact that, despite losing 60 pounds, he is still a sugar addict!
Monsters & Critics: I understand that you don’t like competition shows. How did they convince you to do this one?
Jacques Torres: I don’t like competition shows because I don’t like drama. I think that life already is not that easy. Day to day is busy. I’m running a business, I have two very young children, life is not that easy and then if I entered myself in the competition shows where we make people cry, where there is drama, that will add to the stress, so I never want to do that.
When we talked to Netflix about Nailed It!, actually my wife was the first one to tell me, “Jacques, I think this is different. You have to take a look at them. I think that can be pretty good,” So, if wifey says something, I listen. I looked at it and I’m thinking, “Yes, I think you’re right and I should maybe try it.”
So, I went to L.A. and we did we did the first season. I had never meet Nicole and Nicole was just wonderful. We have good communication together, we work well together, and it was wonderful to do the show. There is no drama. This is what I love. Everybody goes home happy. Someone goes home with $10,000. This is great!
M&C: These are amateur bakers. Isn’t the point of this that they can’t achieve what the professionals do, but it is for fun to see what they come up with?
Jacques Torres: All my life I’ve been teaching. From the beginning when I was in Nice, all the way to when I was the chief of a school in New York City, and when I teach, it is actually very serious. The show — it is fun, it is light, and there are some catastrophes — but I give them real advice and I tell them why they failed, and what they should do to not fail or to do better. Maybe not to do what the professionals do, but to do better. I think my mission in the show is to bring a little bit of seriousness to the failing. There is a lot of failing, but I try to tell them, “Okay, this is what you need here and there. You wasted some time here. You put your buttercream on a hot cake. You didn’t leave your cake long enough in the blast freezer.” Real advice, and I hope that the viewers understand that, and, hopefully, they will learn something.
M&C: How important is taste vs. looks because so often the end result doesn’t look good, but you are complimentary about the taste.
Jacques Torres: We have a lot of fun. We’ve had the baker mistake sugar for salt, and when we put that in our mouth, Nicole and I look at each other and spit everything on the table. We’ve had some good laughs with those cakes, where it’s “Oh, my God!” Sometimes the cake doesn’t look good but it’s not bad. This happens where we taste the cake and the buttercream is well put together, the cake is well baked, it’s good. It’s acceptable, so it’s a little bit of everything.
Of course, to me, the taste is important, the look is important, the presentation is important, but we rarely have all that. But sometimes we have some decent cake. Let’s say that.
M&C: Is working in teams easier or more difficult than working alone do you think?
Jacques Torres: I was expecting better cake and nicer cake when they work as a team because you’re thinking, “With one and a half hours, with two people, it’s three hours. Now you have three hours on the cake, it will be nicer,” but I think they kind of play together, they talk together, and they forget the time, and then usually 10 minutes before, everything collapses and it’s a big mess. This is why I love Nailed It! because it is never what you expect. Always something will happen. Always the unexpected.
M&C: How surprised were you with all the Emmy nominations and other awards?
Jacques Torres: It is surprising in a way, but looking at the talent of the team at Magical Elves, they are very talented people and Nicole Byer is extremely talented. Looking at all that talent, I am thinking, “That’s why.” I am lucky to be working with wonderful people. But it is surprising to get all of the nominations, but very happy.
Jacques Torres’s favorite dessert and how he lost 60 pounds
M&C: What is your favorite dessert?
Jacques Torres: I always go back to simplicity. To me, more complicated isn’t it. The more layers of flavor you get, the more lost you get to those flavors, so I like something very simple like an apple tart or a fruit tart with a little ice cream, or a beautiful, nicely made Napoleon. This is the pastry that I really love. Simple, very well done, full of flavor, real butter. Look, I’m a gourmand. I love sugar. There is no question about it, I am addicted to sugar. Simplicity is what I really love. I am excited because my family just came back from the farm stand, and they have fresh strawberries. You smell those strawberries, and you get hungry. What I love is a little bit of strawberries maybe a little bit of lemon on top of them, no sugar, just the flavor.
M&C: What do you say to people who take sugar out of their diet?
Jacques Torres: Everything in moderation. I lost 60 pounds, I think, from the first season to today, and I can say everything in moderation. That is what I learned. Smaller portions. I still have sugar today, just smaller portions than I used to have. I will never cut the sugar!
Nailed It! Season 6 is currently streaming on Netflix.