Bakers, come together! Austin Gingerbread Artist Stacy Frank Goes Heroic on Foodtastic – Screens
Host Keke Palmer (center) on the set of Foodtastic, the new program of the pastry contest on Disney +. Local gingerbread artist Stacy Frank appears in an episode of the series, which debuted today. (Photo by Disney / Mitch Haaseth)
It’s a stressful day for Stacy Frank. Not only does she appear in Foodtastic, the new baking contest streaming on Disney +, but she has to wait to watch her episode until tonight. âMy parents are going to come to town to watch with me,â she said. “But they arrive at 7 o’clock tonight, and the episodes fall at 8:30 in the morning!”
Teen Frank would be thrilled to be a part of a Disney show, having grown up during their Animated Renaissance with The little Mermaid and The Lion King among his favorite films. She said, “There’s a picture of me walking around the universities, and there’s this huge Simba strapped to the back of my suitcase. I’m talking about a few feet long.”
However, teenage Frank might have been surprised that she took part in the series to create a life-size treat depicting a pivotal moment from a Disney movie. So how did the Austin resident and web developer become an award-winning creator of elaborate cookies? “I just tried it one day and really liked it.”
She had always been impatient in the kitchen. Inspired by her mother (“who always cooks”), she took it more seriously in college, baking little treats for her friends. âWhen a friend went to nursing school, I made little apple balls,â she recalls. It was actually another friend who in 2015 asked her to bake some roller skate themed treats for a party. âThey were adorable, with that little retro design on them, and she loved them. Fast-forward a few weeks, and she said, ‘Hey, did you know there’s a baking contest in Austin? You should participate in it. âAfter being cajoled by everyone she knew, she finally entered – and won both her class and her division, thus starting a successful race as a competitive baker.
âI have often seen crazy, sculpted cakes. So when I started baking, I said to myself: ‘You know what? I wonder if I can do this with a cookie? ‘ ”
What sets Frank apart is his medium: gingerbread. If you’ve watched any baking shows, you’ll know that the art has become dominated by great batter creations. After all, if you’re making a monster statue, there are few food items more indulgent than large, fluffy sheet cakes, where frosting covers all sins. But that did not thrill Frank, who took a less conventional path. âEveryone builds with cake,â she said. “Making crazy, sculpted cakes, I’ve seen that a lot. So when I got into baking, I was like, ‘You know what? I wonder if I can do that with a cookie?'”
The great tradition of the gingerbread house meant that the classic mixture of flour, molasses, sugar and ginger would have structural integrity for complex structures. Yet Frank wanted to go beyond the winter cabins and embark on more grandiose projects. Of course, being a part of a much smaller section of the bakery compared to the pastry chefs means there are fewer people to learn new tricks from – which is exactly what Frank loves. His kitchen is as much a laboratory as an artist’s studio. âIf I can look up a tutorial that explains exactly, step by step, how to do something, my brain is like ‘Yawn’. I want to play with it. I want to experiment. I want trial and error. I want to cry because I just spent 10 hours doing something, and it didn’t work. I like the process of finding stuff. ”
So she had a lot to discover when she was called by the producers of Foodtastic, inviting him to participate in the show. Much like her first experience with a local competition, she was hesitant – even more so, because she had been on a show that had never been broadcast before “and it was a lot of work and time, and it wasn’t. is not my job [but] the second I zoomed in and really felt the energy with the folks at disney +, I thought, âoh, that’s gonna be cool. Sign me up!'”
Better yet, they let her choose her own team. The first person she called was TV food competition veteran Maurice Shelton of Black Rose Pastry, Indiana. The winner of Netflix season 1 Sugar rush, Shelton (aka Chef BlÄque) was his immediate first choice, and she was elated when he said yes. “His energy is so positive. Anything can go wrong and this man will be smiling – not to mention he’s very good at what he does.”
It was actually a podcaster she knew who led her to the third member of the team. “I said, you know me, you know my personality, do you have any suggestions on someone who would be good? Because most of my baking contacts are cookie people, and to do a life-size build , it’s not smart to have two people cookies. ” His answer: pastry chef Jesse Lesser to the team. She said, ‘You’d get along really well,’ and I brought up Blake’s name, and he said, ‘She’s literally one of my best friends. “”
So, with the team together, they now had to figure out what their scene would be. “I was like, ‘Come on, Lion King! âshe recalls, so her stomach sagged a bit when the theme was revealed: The Avengers, one of the few Disney properties that she did not know about. âThank goodness Jesse and BlÄque are great fans,â she said. âI worked on a character that I knew, so I was really lucky there. But I definitely had a bit of a panic there.â
Foodtastic season 1 is available on Disney + now.