Thursday, December 12, 2013
By Meredith Goad firstname.lastname@example.org
PORTLAND — Alysia Zoidis channeled Lucy Ricardo on the Food Network on Sunday night, competing on an episode of "Cupcake Wars" that celebrated the 60th anniversary of the "I Love Lucy" show.
Alysia Zoidis, owner of East End Cupcakes in Portland, made it to the finals on TV’s “Cupcake Wars.”
John Ewing/Staff Photographer
SHE LOVES LUCY
Watch the Vitameatavegemin episode of "I Love Lucy" that inspired Alysia Zoidis during the Food Network's "Cupcake Wars."
Zoidis, owner of East End Cupcakes in the Old Port, didn't win the show's $10,000 prize, but she did come away with some clever Lucy-inspired cupcake ideas.
A cupcake she created in the first round of the competition was an homage to the "Vitameatavegemin" episode, in which Lucy is hired to do a TV commercial for a health tonic that makes her tipsy.
The ingredients in Zoidis' Vitameatavegemin cupcake included zucchini, carrots, pumpkin and, of course, bourbon. She topped the cupcake with bourbon-laced cream cheese frosting and a piece of fruit jerky.
Zoidis said the show's producers called her in August to see if she would be interested in auditioning, and she admits she had to think about it for a while.
"I had seen the show before, and it just looked so incredibly stressful," she said.
"I needed to take a minute to think about it. I don't know if my sanity is worth $10,000. Maybe $20,000."
She decided that the nationwide exposure for her cupcake shop on Fore Street, which she opened just six months ago, would be worth dealing with a few nerves. So she submitted an audition tape.
In October, Zoidis and Shana Treger, a close friend who was her partner in the competition, flew to Los Angeles to tape their episode.
In the first round of the competition, the bakers had to make a cupcake inspired by one of four "I Love Lucy" episodes, including the famous one in which Lucy and Ethel try to make chocolate bon bons on an increasingly speedy production line.
Zoidis chose Vitameatavegemin because "I thought it really kind of lent itself to a more interesting flavor combination. I felt like the grape-stomping one and the chocolate bon bon one were a little too predictable, maybe. I thought it was a good opportunity to show our creativity."
The judges agreed, and Zoidis and Treger advanced into the second round.
In that round, they had to make four Lucy-inspired cupcakes. Zoidis chose to make three Lucy cupcakes and one inspired by Desi Arnaz – a pineapple mojito cupcake with a pineapple-mint butter cream frosting. Unfortunately, she ran out of time and couldn't finish.
While the judges deliberated, Zoidis and Treger were so convinced they would be cut from the competition that they talked about going out on the town for massages and dinner.
"They didn't show on the episode how shocked I really was" to make it to the final round, she said.
In the final, Zoidis and Treger had the task of baking and decorating 1,000 cupcakes in less than two hours, then assembling them in a display.
"Our display was definitely better. We got robbed," Zoidis said, laughing. "Our display was better, but their cupcakes were kind of the favorite throughout the episode."
Despite losing out on the $10,000, Zoidis is happy that she did the show
"It was such a good experience," she said. "After we got over the shock of making it to round three, we were just really excited."
The episode will air again at 8 tonight.
Staff Writer Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at: email@example.com