Local bakers show 'Cake Boss' STL flair

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) – Two bakers are giving the man known as "The Cake Boss" a taste of what the Midwest, especially St. Louis, can do.

Lia Weber and Al Watson of Wedding Wonderland in Florissant, Mo. will be Team Blue on the upcoming fourth season of TLC's "The Next Great Baker."

The show, which normally pits individual bakers against one another for the chance to work with "Cake Boss" Buddy Valastro and win $100,000, uses teams this season. The big difference is the team will head to work in Valastro's Las Vegas location.

Weber and Watson are one of 10 teams bringing their years of experience to contend for the top prize, but they are the only team from the Midwest.

"Everyone is so excited, and St. Louis really backs you up," Weber said.

Watson said, "Midwest flavor is different. The work ethic is different." He also said that you don't grasp how large the opportunity is until you get to this level.

Weber and Watson agreed their use of a no fondant approach makes them stand out from competitors, which also catered to Valastro's traditional style of cake decorating.

The North County natives will put St. Louis on the map from the very first episode as the two will have to create a dessert representing their hometown, Watson said, which was a gooey butter cake.

From there, the two must make a cake of a New York landmark, and that's as far as the details go for the show.

"It was crazy," Weber said. "I felt like a lost puppy. I've never made a cake as large as what is on the show."

Each decided to pursue the show for different reason; Weber, who is also a pastry chef at Hendel's Market Café, wanted to challenge herself and gain further experience in the business, while Watson wanted to see where he fits on a national competition level.

The duo, who will watch their first-ever episode of the show at the Tuesday premiere, said they never thought while applying that they'd make the cut. Now that their season is set to begin, Team Blue wants St. Louis viewers to tune in and cheer for them until the end.

"I want everyone to enjoy the experience and watch and root us on," Watson said.

Weber said, "People will get a kick out of watching us. We have a lot of brother/sister bantering."

The new season of "The Next Great Baker" premieres Tuesday at 8 p.m. on TLC. Weber and Watson will be attending watch parties in Florissant at Hendel's Market Café and Yacovelli's, respectively each week and live tweeting during the show.

You can follow their journey on social media through their Facebook page or the Cake Boss Facebook page. You can also follow the hashtags #NGB and #blueNGB.


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