Netflix’s new series Nailed It might feature some of the worst cooking we’ve ever seen, but their guest judges sure know their stuff.
Just for you, we have re-binged Nailed It (best job ever!) and pulled together the gems of advice offered up by each episode’s guest judge.
Episode 1: Sylvia Weinstock
Wedding cake-maker to the stars, Sylvia Weinstock, is the highlight of episode one. Spending the whole time cracking wise about vodka, stealing frying pans, and passive-aggressively coaching the contestants, she leaves us wishing we could adopt her.
On theft: “If you steal, you steal big”
On greasing cake tins: “Use butter and don’t fill the pan.”
On shaping gum-paste flowers: “Go out and get a real rose and look at a real rose while you make your own.”
On food colouring: “Stay with pale colours in the beginning because dark blue is not a food colour, it doesn’t entice me.”
On weddings: “Just stay for the cocktail hour – get the shrimp, the caviar, and the vodka”
Episode 2: Zac Young
Pastry chef Zac Young is widely considered a world expert in creative desserts and is best known for his all-in-one Thanksgiving dessert, the PieCakein. Zac spends most of his episode being overwhelmingly well-dressed and exceptionally qualified.
On royal icing: “Royal icing is egg whites and powdered sugar and it dries hard. It’s what they use to make crunchy decorative flowers.”
On filling long donuts with jam: “I would have done multiple points points of entry. So three different holes, fill it, and then it goes all the way through. It’s not magic, it’s just filling holes.”
On filling cake tins: “You put so much batter in there and you need to bake it for so long that it dried out a bit. Had you gone with thinner layers, it would have been spot-on.”
Episode 3: Valerie Gordon
Nailed It is hardly Valerie Gordon’s first rodeo. The chocolatier has been a judge on “Top Chef: Just Desserts” and “Man vs. Child”, has released her own dessert cookbooks and running her own chocolate shop and several cafes in Los Angeles. She’s a very kind and generous judge who doesn’t mince words when giving the contestants advice.
On winging it: “You did bake a cake without a recipe… so that’s good.”
On cake decoration: “Temperature is the biggest thing to pay attention to.”
On using melted butter in buttercream: “Then you’ve got liquid. You’ve got what you’d pour on top of popcorn, nothing’s going to stay together.”
On working with fondant: “Think about Play-Doh, it’s the exact same thing. Throw a little bit of cornstarch on the work surface, use your roller. And you roll it out just like Play-Doh and you’re draping it over.”
On layering and carving cakes: “Use the cake layers. Build it up, build it up, build it up. Shove a huge rod right through that sucker – that’s your stabiliser. Make sure you’re cold, and trim down.”
Episode 4: Dave Arnold
Founder of the Museum of Food and Drink, Dave is a hardcore food nerd. Fascinated by the science behind how food and cooking works, he brings a professional flavour to his episode. Dry as a plain rice cracker, he’s quick to point out the contestants’ (and judges’) slip-ups and is ultimately a pretty handy guide in “what not to do” in the kitchen.
On making the perfect tequila sunrise: “The mistake you made was so much grenadine. You want a little bit of grenadine to give you that sunrise effect. That’s what you’re shooting for.”
On cooling cakes: “Put it in the blast, put it in the blast, put it in the blast.”
On handheld mixers: “You’re never going to get as much air in there as with a stand mixer.”
On adding salt to cocktails: “Add salt to anything with citrus. When you’re behind the bar you can’t add regular salt. Typically you add to much, your hands are always wet and you can’t pick salt up. So we use salt water.”
On sculpting cake: “Any time you’re working with slabs, you wanna see more sculptural work.”
On giving baking advice: “How is ‘make it like a big lizard’ more helpful than ‘make it like a dinosaur’?”
Episode 5: Yolanda Gampp
Host of YouTube channel How To Cake It, Yolanda has amassed a following of over 3 million people who love to watch her bake ambitiously designed cakes. She’s a serious host who clearly has a lifelong love-affair with rolling fondant and exceptional ringlets.
On using fondant: “Most people touch it too much when they’ve never used it. And you can see their fingerprints.”
On using more fondant: “I did notice that you rolled out your yellow fondant and then chose to flip it on the cake. I would have slid it off if possible, because all your icing sugar and cornstarch is underneath, changing the sheen on the fondant. Do you don’t want that to be face up, you want that to be face down.”
Episode 6: Jay Chandrasenkhar
When we realised Jay was the one of the guys from Super Troopers there was an audible gasp.
It’s hard to know why Jay was invited to be a judge on the show, apart from his vague celebrity status as a writer and comedian. He even ditches out on judging the final challenge – a Donald Trump cake - to pick up his kids and fetch coffee. As a judge he stares, open-mouthed at the contestants and then joyfully eats a raw cookie dough ‘nose’ moments before fellow judge Jacques Torres says it’s bad.
On eating raw cookie dough: “Next time you could tell me before I eat the nose.”
Frankly, next season we’d be stoked to have Sylvia Weinstock as the only guest judge. Chances are they’d be out of kitchen equipment and vodka by the time shooting wraps!
We’ll leave you with this quote from nonsensical judge, Jay:
“This show is hard!”
Recovering caffeine-addict and serial bruncher Eliza Murray feels most at home typing away in a cozy cafe with her re-mortgaged avocado toast nearby. When she isn't reporting on the latest Instagram-shattering glittery food trends, she can be found experimenting with new gin garnishes (hello strawberries!) or biting into an entire wheel of brie (no shame). She tweets @theothereliza