Chef Dana Herbert, owner of Desserts by Dana in New Castle, Delaware, lives and breathes pastry art and custom cakes for all occasions. He is known as Delaware's King of Cakes but has also earned the endearing moniker The Sugar Daddy because his unbelievable cake decorating work with pulled and blown sugar. This baking pro has gotten a lot of attention for his big win on TLC's Cake Boss: The Next Great Baker, which premiered in December 2010. After proving his special jaw dropping talent for baking great tasting artistic cakes, Chef Herbert took home the gold (and a new car!). He has also been featured on Wetv for Wedding Cake Wars, TLC's Ultimate Cake Off and a variety of television magazine programs. The cake decorating expert's work speaks for itself, but we had a few more questions for Chef Herbert to find out where he gets his seemingly ceaseless inspiration for designs and how we home bakers can improve our special occasion cakes.
Chef Dana Herbert: I actually started on the savory side of the business. I have been in restaurants since I was 16 years old. My first job was at McDonalds, so I went from flipping burgers to working at a nursing home as a dietary aide in the kitchen. As time went along, I fell in love with cooking. I worked my way up through the ranks and levels of dining. I worked at places such as the Marriott, Hotel DuPont, Four Seasons, etc. It was apparent I loved food and food loved me. I told myself I would go to culinary school after I finished my bachelor's in Hotel Restaurant Management -- and so I did.
Chef Dana Herbert: I guess you could always say the seed was planted when I was young. I used to sit at my grandmother's counter praying a sugar cookie scrap would come my way, or maybe she would ask me to taste her apple jelly she made from scratch. Man that was good. I am having a craving for some right now on some hot buttered toast. Grandma could really burn. Baking and cooking, she did it all. Even with all that, I didn't come back to baking until I went to culinary school.
Chef Dana Herbert: My last year of my bachelor's in Culinary Arts, I recall cutting some onions and crying over them. Macho tears that is! Nevertheless, I was watching the pastry students make crazy works of art, and I was chopping onions. At that point the mind starts to churn, and I really was intrigued by what they were doing, so I decided to do a pastry degree once I completed the B.S. in Culinary Arts. Once I got into the major, I was hooked. I created all kinds of tasty and beautiful things out of butter, flour and sugar. How could you go wrong with that? Once I got out of school, my thirst was and still is unquenchable. I'm always looking to learn more and challenge myself constantly to be better in the field.
Chef Dana Herbert: Passion comes from doing what you love. If you love it, you are truly devoted to it, just like being married to my wife. To keep things fresh, I am always picking up a magazine, checking out a cooking show, looking at other websites and testing things in the kitchen. Sometimes your mistakes are your best triumphs.
Thank you so much for the kudos on my super creative cakes. Some basic tricks or tips for the home bakers would be:
Chef Dana Herbert: In five years, I will have a new shop for sure and hopefully be starring in my own show. More than likely a handful of cookbooks will be in circulation as well as some home products for baking and cooking.
And you'll see personalized content just for you whenever you click the My Feed .
SheKnows is making some changes!