Here at Munaluchi we absolutely love providing you the best wedding advice to make your special day seamless. So it’s a true honor to introduce our new Cake Expert to you all today! Meet Chef Dana Herbert, owner of Desserts by Dana and winner of the first season of Cake Boss: The Next Great Baker. He was also recently named as one of the Top Ten Cake Artists by Dessert Professional Magazine. Since winning the highly rated TLC show, he’s been whipping together delectable treats for brides all across the country.
In his new series, Ask the Chef, right here on Munaluchibridal.com, Chef Dana will be talking all things desserts. But most importantly, he’ll be answering your questions! The series will run every third Sunday of the month.
We had a chance to sit and chat with him for a previous issue about his achievements, top trends, and his plans for the future. Enjoy our interview below and at the end of the post, we’d love for you to wish him a Happy Father’s Day. (He’s a father of three gorgeous girls!).
Interview with Chef Dana (as seen in the SS14 Edition)
Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started in the pastry business.
I truthfully started down the road of owning my own business as a means to keep my skills sharp. I am trained on the savory side as well as the sweet side. So after I graduated from Johnson and Wales University I took a management job with Marriott on the savory side. So to keep my pastry skills fresh I started Desserts By Dana. I wasn’t into wedding cakes at the time.
What are the biggest trends you’re seeing with cakes right now?
The biggest trends I see are more textured fondant cakes. It’s one thing to make a cake but it’s another to really hone in on the designs and textures in a wedding and emulate that through the cake design.
Hanging and suspended cakes are definitely making their way to the forefront as well. Cake makers are pushing the boundaries of what we thought was possible.
What’s the most challenging cake order you’ve had to fulfill? Most memorable?
I think the most challenging cake to date has to be the Lifesize Fiat car cake. Over a ton of cake and fondant. The kicker was that it was all done live at the Delaware auto show. No hiding, no tricks. The slices were sold for charity.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Inspiration can come from so many places. People you encounter, life experiences, fashion etc. Fashion is a huge contributor to design. For weddings I always love to see the dress and pull a piece of it into the cake design if the bride allows. The lace, frills, bows, and other textures are always great starting points. Especially when it comes to beading. That’s when a design goes from great to stunning.
Any advice for brides-to-be when ordering their wedding cake?
Probably one of the most important things I can say when it comes to cakes is “get the cake you want.” I know we all have budgets but at the end of the day, when your kids are planning your 50th anniversary only a few pictures survive the sands of time. One of those are the bride and groom cutting the cake. Thus no one cares about the fruit and cheese platter. Put your money into the cake.
My advice when meeting with your baker is to make sure they bring “you” into the cake. That’s what makes it special. Bring swatches of your colors, invitation a few pictures of your dress, and applicable details for that special day. As a decorator and design I always ask how they met or how they got together, where they are from, and other particulars. I really want to channel the bride and groom while I am there and pull out those things that are signature to them. Armed with that only them can a decorator design a cake that is “you.”
So tell us, what burning cake related questions do you have for Chef Dana? Ask him anything by posting a comment below, or below his photo on our instagram or simply by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the title “Ask the Chef.”