Food Network Obsessed

Shinmin Li Reveals Her Trick to the Perfect Cookie

Episode Summary

Cake artist Shinmin Li shares her experiences from culinary school down under to creating the world’s first cake gallery. Shinmin talks about how intuition has guided her life decisions and led her to Sydney, Australia for culinary school. She talks about what she loves about Aussie culture and her first experiences in a bakery. Shinmin reveals the craziest and most complex cake creations she has ever made and where she gets artistic inspiration to fuel her creativity. She talks about getting crafty with her daughter, Mina, what Halloween costume they are planning this year, and the adorable holiday traditions they have. Shinmin talks about how the show has evolved over the past decade and what she has personally learned as a judge. She shares the tools and tricks of the cake artists on the show and teases the upcoming season of Holiday Wars and what fans can look forward to before revealing her trick to the perfect cookie.

Episode Notes

Cake artist Shinmin Li shares her experiences from culinary school down under to creating the world’s first cake gallery. Shinmin talks about how intuition has guided her life decisions and led her to Sydney, Australia for culinary school. She talks about what she loves about Aussie culture and her first experiences in a bakery. Shinmin reveals the craziest and most complex cake creations she has ever made and where she gets artistic inspiration to fuel her creativity. She talks about getting crafty with her daughter, Mina, what Halloween costume they are planning this year, and the adorable holiday traditions they have. Shinmin talks about how the show has evolved over the past decade and what she has personally learned as a judge. She shares the tools and tricks of the cake artists on the show and teases the upcoming season of Holiday Wars and what fans can look forward to before revealing her trick to the perfect cookie.


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Episode Transcription

[MUSIC PLAYING] SPEAKER 1: Hello, hello. And welcome to Food Network Obsessed. This is the podcast where we dish on all things Food Network with your favorite Food Network stars. I'm your host Jaymee Sire. And today, we have a crafty cake artist on the show to talk about her journey decorating desserts. And what she's learned, judging festive cake creations for over a decade.


She's an incredible cake designer. And you most certainly know her as a judge on both Halloween Wars and Holiday Wars. Let's welcome Shinmin Li to the podcast.




Shinmin, welcome to the podcast. I want to start with your name because I think it's really beautiful. It means the heart leading the mind. How much does your everyday life match your name?


SPEAKER 2: Oh, it's everything. I think much to my parents chagrin. I mean, they named me this, right? But I'm very impulsive. I'm always driven by the heart. I do what feels right. I go where my heart tells me to go. And so far, it's really led me to all the places I want to be. So it really is a big part of my identity.


SPEAKER 1: Amazing. Well, we're going to talk a lot of those places that you've been, where you're going. But you are a pastry chef, a cake artist, most importantly, a mom. What does a typical day in your life look like right now?


SPEAKER 2: For the most part, I'm really involved in the day to day of my daughter's school and her projects. We eat lots and lots of food. We do a lot of cooking in the house. But being mom and also just creating art wherever I can is a big part of our lives.


SPEAKER 1: I mean, you are a true creative in every sense of the word. You attended art school in New York. Before attending culinary school in Sydney, what made you decide to pursue the culinary arts as opposed to the arts that you went to school for initially?


SPEAKER 2: Well, I've always had a love for art. My mom told me that before I could even talk. I would draw in the ground with a stick. But the culinary school, it's almost like too wild of a story to believe. But I was going to work. I had a temp job in finance after coming back from art school because I just had to do something. And I looked up and there was-- I don't know if you remember-- hot jobs, but there was a poster for hot jobs. And it said, when you love what you do, you're alive. And my head instantly translated that to, if you don't like what you do, you're dead.


So I went in that day, and I put in my notice. And I said, I have to do something that I love. And at that time, because the job was really boring working with numbers every day, I started baking a lot as a creative outlet. So I thought, well, what do I like to do? I like baking, so maybe that's an option. And with that thought in my mind, I turned on the television with the remote and the Foster's Beer commercial came on. And it said, Foster's Australian for beer. And I thought, that accent sounds like home. I am going to Australia. And that's really how it happened.


SPEAKER 1: Wow. That is insane. That's a great story. I mean, what did your parents think when you told them?


SPEAKER 2: Oh, I was so nervous. This is the worst daughter moment of my life. I told my parents the day before I flew out.


SPEAKER 1: Oh, my God.


SPEAKER 2: I couldn't tell them. I was so scared. And my parents were traditional Chinese parents. And working in the kitchen is not something that they were too excited about. I had a decent office job. I was working with numbers, something they could really proudly explain to their friends. And deciding to work with my hands and working with food, it took a lot for me to tell my parents, this is my passion. This is my love. I want to work in a place where people are happy every day and sing while they work. But it took a moment. But seeing how much love and happiness I get from work and then being able to share that with other people through food, they finally understand now.


SPEAKER 1: That's good, but I would love to talk a little bit about Australia. I've had a chance to visit one time. We don't get a chance to talk about that on the podcast too often. What did you enjoy most about your time down under?


SPEAKER 2: Australia is a kooky place. Visually, it's really stunning. It's just a beautiful piece of land. I don't know if it's the Southern hemisphere but the colors are so much more vibrant down there. It's as if everyone just took the scenery that you're looking at and processed it through Photoshop, and press the button sharpen. And all the colors are just magnified. Visually, everything is heightened, but then the food there is also really good. So then there's texture that you can add to the beauty of the place. I loved living in Australia.


SPEAKER 1: What does a typical Australian dish or meal entail?


SPEAKER 2: Well, there are the crazy foods, right, that you can get in Australia like crocodile. But I think that some of the things that they're really proud of would be like Vegemite, for example, which is a yeasty paste. I like actually.


SPEAKER 1: I did too.


SPEAKER 2: They like it on Graham crackers. So you put it like a savory yeasty paste onto something that is crunchy and sweet. And then, for some reason, they're obsessed with Nutella. And I've lost the battle with Nutella. So I used to buy Nutella like everyone else in Australia, but I would just spoon the whole thing into my mouth without any pause. So then I decided to put it into the freezer to give myself a break, but then I discovered frozen Nutella. It's even better.


SPEAKER 1: Really?


SPEAKER 2: It's like cracking chunks of Nutella that you can bite into. So I've accepted defeat. I can't buy Nutella anymore.


SPEAKER 1: So you don't even buy it at all anymore?


SPEAKER 2: I don't even buy it anymore because I can't control myself.


SPEAKER 1: What is the biggest lesson you think you learned while going to school down there?


SPEAKER 2: Well, I've always been very impulsive, but I think really just going after what you want, even if it seems like you can't. So when I was living in Australia, I didn't have a work permit. So I couldn't work and gain experience. And the chef told me, I don't see you as a pastry chef. I'm so sorry. I just don't see you waking up at 6:00 in the morning and pumping out 1,000 croissants every day because you're so into details. You would curl like the ends of the chocolate just before plating.


And I was sort of crushed by that, but then I took that comment and thought, OK, well, maybe I have to go into styling or art. And there was a cake shop there in Sydney. And I didn't have a work permit. So I just marched in and asked, hey, free work for me. How do you feel about a volunteer? I can show up. I'm never late. I just want to learn. And I learned a lot in that cake shop. They took me on. And that's actually where I really learned first how to manipulate fondant and get it to shape the way I want.


SPEAKER 1: Well, after Australia, you moved back to the States, to San Francisco. You created the world's first cake gallery that was recognized by the American Institute of Architects also named Best Bakery in San Francisco. So what sparked the idea to open your shop, I Dream of Cake back in 2005?


SPEAKER 2: It was designed like a gallery because I realized what I was doing was not really typical at the time. And this is a long time ago before cake is everything was even a hashtag, right? I wanted people to understand that when you are commissioning a piece of cake from me, it's really commissioning artwork. So we created this gallery so that when you walk in, you feel like you are here to admire art. There are no pastries as such on the shelves. They're all sculptural artwork. I just wanted to give cake the respect that they were due.


SPEAKER 1: Do you remember the most complex cake creation you made?


SPEAKER 2: The most complex would be a winter wonderland. It wasn't even just a cake. It was like an entire cake scape, if you will. We decorated the entire room. So I even built wall paneling on the walls so that we can stick edible like chocolate and things all over the walls, so that when the guests walked in they could literally eat off the walls like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.


SPEAKER 1: That's awesome. How long did it take you?


SPEAKER 2: I actually hired extra artists to come in. I hired about four extra artists. And it took the entire week to create.




SPEAKER 2: So there were edible pieces that we created and worked on before we even started baking. Trees, and berries, and birds.


SPEAKER 1: Wow. Was it for a wedding, an event?


SPEAKER 2: It was a birthday party.


SPEAKER 1: Oh, wow.


SPEAKER 2: If I'm not mistaken, I think he was turning 80.


SPEAKER 1: Oh, cool. Very awesome. I mean, when you think about just the work you do, what is the most rewarding part about just getting in there, creating with your hands, and having that creativity come to life?


SPEAKER 2: Well, you definitely nailed it with the creativity aspect of it because what I think is the most rewarding is that I rarely ever create the same cake twice. And every cake requires research, and study, and almost like a near obsession so that I can understand whatever it is from every angle.


I have this great story. I had to sign an NDA for this cake order so I can't even tell you who we created, but we created the bust. So the head of a celebrity. And I had this person's photos plastered all over my kitchen from every angle that I could possibly find. And that day, we had a new person coming in for a trial day into the kitchen. So this artist has never stepped into the kitchen before. And she walked in, and I just thought, OK, this is too good. We have to play a joke on her.


And I said, by the way, in order for you to work here in this kitchen, you have to be a fan of so-and-so. And I said, as you can see, we love her. We admire her. She's all over our kitchen. And we just started throwing questions like when is her birthday, what's her favorite color, how big of a fan are you. And we let this go on for about half a day before we revealed, no, actually, we're just kidding. We're making a cake out of her head.


SPEAKER 1: What was the person's reaction when they found out?


SPEAKER 2: Oh my God. Sheer relief because she was like, I don't know how long I can fake being a fan of this person.


SPEAKER 1: That's awesome.


SPEAKER 2: So, yeah. Every cake is just so different and so much fun.


SPEAKER 1: Yeah. What are what are some of the major artistic influences in your life, not just when you're creating cakes and desserts but just everything?


SPEAKER 2: Well, there's an artist called Andy Goldsworthy who creates art for the moment. And he creates art out of nature like, for example, he would take all the fallen leaves in the forest and arrange them in a gradation of color, and he would attach them by either piercing through them with little sticks. And they would eventually just dissolve and go away. And I love that philosophy of creating art for the moment because a lot of people do ask me, how do you feel about people cutting into the cake and essentially destroying the artwork? And that is the whole point because if you're not going to eat it, why pay so much attention into making it taste good.


SPEAKER 1: Right.


SPEAKER 2: It could just be done at a sculpture or clay. So I love honoring the moment and making it extra delicious and extra beautiful, and just for that moment.


SPEAKER 1: What kind of places do you look for different inspiration when it comes to whether it's the cake creations, your personal style, even your home? Where are some of the places that you go for that inspiration?


SPEAKER 2: I do love nature a lot, but I do see the world through cake eyes. So I'll walk down the street and I'll see a building. And in San Francisco we have such great Victorian buildings. And they look like cake to me.


SPEAKER 1: That's true.


SPEAKER 2: Just with all the lattice work, and all the textures, and the layers and layers of really rich details, I see almost everything that could be translated into cake or something edible.


SPEAKER 1: I love that. I lived in San Francisco for several years. So it has a special place in my heart as well. What do you love about living in the city?


SPEAKER 2: I'm a big walker. And I love that it's not a flat city. Everywhere you go there are different--


SPEAKER 1: It's uphill everywhere you go.


SPEAKER 2: It's either cardio or it's smooth cruising down the hill. And I really love that around every corner, there's a different view. There's either the water view, or there's just beautiful buildings, or it's a great chance to just go sliding down the hill. I love walking through San Francisco. And we have a really good food culture here.


SPEAKER 1: Absolutely. What are some of your favorite places to go when you're not cooking?


SPEAKER 2: I have this favorite pho place. It's called My Father's Kitchen. And it's like the best chicken soup that you could possibly find that's not made by mom, you know?


SPEAKER 1: Exactly. You need those. You need a go-to spot for that.


SPEAKER 2: Yeah, I love comfy food.


SPEAKER 1: I know you also are a co-founder of something called Cora Community. Tell us a little bit about what that is and what inspired you to start that.


SPEAKER 2: So I have a couple of partners in this. And it is the easiest way to describe the platform is that it's sort of like the Uber for Cooks. So we have a platform. And you can go on here and find cooks that are local in your area. What's different about this that's not like Uber is that it's not based on an algorithm. You don't just get matched by the algorithm with someone who's closest to you. You can actually take a look and see the cooks menus. And see what is enticing to you for that day. And you can actually look through their availability, and book someone to come and cook you some amazing meals.


SPEAKER 1: That's awesome. I mean, what do you envision for this community as it grows and evolves, you add more chefs, more cities, and that kind of thing?


SPEAKER 2: There's a lot of possibility, right? So besides just having someone cook you a meal, maybe it could be like cooking lessons. It could be someone who eventually will sort of market themselves as a brand. Let's say, they have this amazing pickle recipe, and they can start selling that through the website as well. So we want to make sure that people can have access to really good food. And then that those who love cooking can have a platform to share their love of food and their special recipes.


SPEAKER 1: You mentioned your daughter, Mila. And I know she's a huge part of your life. I saw recently she's big enough now for you guys to share clothes.


SPEAKER 2: I can't believe it.


SPEAKER 1: Do you actually share clothes, or was that just a funny moment?


SPEAKER 2: No, it's a funny moment because-- so the style now is like mom jeans. And I swear, I'll never, ever wear mom jeans to save my life. I'm just going to wait for that fad to go away before I start sharing clothes with her.


SPEAKER 1: What are some of the things that you guys like to do together?


SPEAKER 2: She's at that age. She's 12, right? So she loves looking up YouTube videos. And she just finds like really cool hacks for us to do together. So the other day, she was like, did you know that you can fry up imperial roll wrappers and they taste just like shrimp chips? And they sizzle up like the instant it hits the oil. And I didn't know. I've never fried an imperial roll wrapper before.


And we tried it and it was so good. So I love that she's bringing new things to me now. I'm the one that went to culinary school. She's all up in YouTube. So it's really fun to try out new things and new hacks.


SPEAKER 1: So how often do you guys cook together?


SPEAKER 2: Well, I cook a lot. And when it's fun, she'll join in. She loves doing the mixing. She loves, of course, licking ball. She loves anything chocolate. Whenever it's a fun step, like pounding ginger in the mortar and pestle, she'll get up in that as well.


SPEAKER 1: She wants to get her hands dirty to do the fun stuff.


SPEAKER 2: Yeah, but she doesn't have the patience to actually go through all the steps quite yet.


SPEAKER 1: She'll get there. You've also created some pretty incredible Halloween costumes for her. What are the plans for Halloween this year?


SPEAKER 2: Oh my gosh. This year is going to be a challenge. She wants to be a burned book because she's going out with her friend who is going to be a burned witch. So that's going to be challenging. I feel like whenever I can visualize something, whether it's a cake or a costume, then I can make it. But I don't have a visual yet for this burned book. So far, we've been doing some test burnings with some pages just to see what the texture and the colors would look like. But when you burn a page, it gets really crunchy. So I don't know how she's going to wear that, but we're going to have to make it work in about a week.


SPEAKER 1: Yeah, exactly. What does she think of mom being on TV?


SPEAKER 2: I don't think it really hit her until just the last season because she actually was able to visit the set for the very first time. She literally took me by the shoulders and shook me. And said, this is the best day of my life. I'll never forget this. Because she got to see all the contestants creating these giant, larger than life-sized displays. And she got to taste everything. And, yeah, it just didn't hit her until that moment, like what a cool production this is.


SPEAKER 1: Yeah, I mean, that's a pretty cool Bring Your Daughter to Work Day scenario for her.


SPEAKER 2: I'll say.


SPEAKER 1: Coming up next, Shinmin chats with us about Halloween Wars and Holiday Wars. She reveals the best and worst fights she's tasted while filming, and shares her top cookie baking tips. Well, let's talk about Halloween Wars, which is currently in its 11th season. And you've been part of the show since the very beginning. How has the show itself evolved over the years?


SPEAKER 2: Well, every year, I keep thinking, OK, this is it. There's no possible way that we can find more talented and more interesting contestants because how many are out there, you know? And I'm surprised every year. We have such talented people coming through. And what I love is seeing actually new techniques that come up. And it's so interesting. And I do think that because of shows like Halloween Wars, people at home are inspired to take up the art. So it is evolving because there are just more people dabbling into it, right? We have people who are construction workers and they bring their background into it. We have people who are set designers and then they bring that kind of level of expertise into it.


We had a guy who was a firefighter and then he does cakes at night. It is so interesting to see people bringing in their life experience, and then creating different inspirations and different techniques.


SPEAKER 1: And this season you were joined by some other Food Network favorites, both of which we've had on the podcast, Eddie Jackson, Aarti Sequeira. If you three had a team name like the contestants do, we've seen Crave Digger's, Candy Corners, what would your guys' team name be you think?


SPEAKER 2: Probably The Sour Twisted Trio, maybe. Because we did a bit with the sour candies together.


SPEAKER 1: I saw that.


SPEAKER 2: And we discovered that we all really love sour candies. That was hysterical doing that bit. It was so much fun.


SPEAKER 1: That was a lot of fun.


SPEAKER 2: So, yeah, that might be our team name.


SPEAKER 1: Had you met either of them before the season of the show?


SPEAKER 2: I have not, no. But we clicked so well and so easily. It was just so much fun filming with them.


SPEAKER 1: Yeah, it seemed like it. What do you think makes it such a good mix, the three of you?


SPEAKER 2: First of all, I can listen to Aarti talk about food.


SPEAKER 1: Same.


SPEAKER 2: The way she talks about food, you can tell she really sees the personality and the integrity of food and flavors. And Eddie just comes in with these one line zingers every time. He just shuts the place down. He's so funny.


SPEAKER 1: He is a blast. And I also have to say, the fashion on the show is pretty on point. How do you guys all work with the wardrobe department to choose your ensemble for a certain episode?


SPEAKER 2: I usually just bring what I like to wear. And what's really nice is they'll come in and they have this really great eye. So, for example, if I'm wearing a black dress but I have red heels, Aarti will be wearing red earrings, and then Eddie will have a shirt that just somehow reflects red. So they can package us up really well.


SPEAKER 1: Well, you guys look great. And I cannot imagine having so many tastings in one day. I mean, how does that work? Do you guys have a palate cleanser in between, or are you just kind of go for it?


SPEAKER 2: I think by the time we get to taste, it's already been like a full day of watching them work on these creations that we're just really eager to eat and taste because that is a really, really big part of the competition. And we've been thinking about it and looking forward to it all day. And we get to watch them as they make it and taste it, and we can see what they're putting in. And so, I'm just so excited to actually taste the cakes that by the time we actually get to, even though sometimes we're eating seven cakes.


SPEAKER 1: Yeah, exactly.


SPEAKER 2: It's a welcomed palate. I'm so excited to eat it.


SPEAKER 1: Do you remember best and worst bite that you've had on the show all time?


SPEAKER 2: Oh, yeah. Let's start with the worst. The worst was I had to eat a Madagascan cockroach.


SPEAKER 1: Whoa.


SPEAKER 2: And no one else ate it but me. But I'm like, I got to. I have to. If I'm going to judge this tasting, I have to taste it. And it was awful.


SPEAKER 1: Well, remind me to never have one. So what was the best bite?


SPEAKER 2: The best bite is we had this carrot cake, which just it sounds like, oh, ordinary carrot cake, like a grandma with a purse. But it was so tasty. The flavors in this carrot cake because it had rum added to it. It felt like I was in some sort of poetry slam jam. You taste the carrot and then boom, I'm going to hit you with some rum. And then boom, I'm going to hit you with some extra spice. And then boom, I'm going to hit you with this caramelized really, really yummy, sweet flavor that's been latticed through icing. It was ridiculous.


SPEAKER 1: That sounds incredible. How much of the judging is based on taste and how much of it is creativity?


SPEAKER 2: Honestly, most of it is based on the display and creativity. But sometimes when it's just too close to call, we will definitely take the taste into effect. And that could split the difference.


SPEAKER 1: I mean, obviously, they're using more than just a piping bag for this work. The sugar work is incredible. That's a huge component of the competition along with, obviously, making the cake. What unexpected tools are these creators using?


SPEAKER 2: We have this woman who actually used her face as a mold to shape the sugar, which is insane, by the way. Because in order for you to get sugar to be pliable, you have to take it down to 330 degrees. And as it cools, you can start to shape it. And she placed that sugar over her face. She was red for days. I just couldn't believe it.




SPEAKER 2: In the height of the competition, people start to use really, really creative things.


SPEAKER 1: Yeah, anything goes if you're trying to win. So another festive show that you're part of is Holiday Wars. So give us a little teaser. What can we look forward to this coming season?


SPEAKER 2: This season on Holiday Wars, we are going to have some really fun surprises, challenges that come in the middle of the day that the teams don't know anything about. And it's just really fun because one day, we asked for a whole separate dessert that they didn't know. And it just shows you how talented and the amount of grit that they have. SPEAKER 1: And this show obviously more cheery than creepy, how does your perspective change when judging this show versus Halloween Wars?


SPEAKER 2: We're definitely looking for more warm and cozy aspects. That's the really fun part of Holiday Wars is we really get into the personal stories. A lot of the challenges will involve the contestants digging into their personal heritage and traditions, and bringing that out into their displays. And so that's really, really fun to see.


SPEAKER 1: And you get to judge with Aarti again and then joined by Maneet Chauhan as a host this season. What does Maneet bring to the table?


SPEAKER 2: Maneet has this contagious energy. She's so funny. And she's just whip smart. Listening to her talk about food, I feel like we're being treated to a master class of food and flavors every time she talks. So that is such a trait.


SPEAKER 1: Yeah. No, we had her on the podcast right after she won TOC. And she was such a delight to talk to as well. So I could see her being very fun to work with. What are some of your personal favorite holiday dishes for that time of year?


SPEAKER 2: We make these crazy potato dumplings where we have to separate the potato starch from the actual juice. And then we drain out the juice to get the really thick starchy part of it and then pound it back into the flesh of the potato to make this glue. And then we stuffed croutons into them and then steam them into these giant potato ball dumplings. And they are really fun. And we have that with goose and goose gravy. And candied ginger for sure every year. And then there's just German Christmas cake called stollen. And I love that as well. My husband's part German.


SPEAKER 1: OK. What are some of the traditions your family has for the holidays?


SPEAKER 2: So every year since Mila was basically one, we've created a candy store for her. And it's really involved. We take out shelves and we start nailing them into the walls. And she gets a cash register and she has all these little baskets of candy. And she mans that store. And after dinner, she's like, the store is open. And we would go shopping for candy at her store.


SPEAKER 1: Oh my gosh, that's so fun. And you still do it to this day?


SPEAKER 2: Yeah. I'm really happy because Mila just doesn't really want to grow up. So we're just going to keep doing this candy store until she's 50, I don't know.


SPEAKER 1: I love that. Obviously, we are getting into the prime cookie baking season with the holidays around the corner. So what's your best advice or tips for fans when it comes to successful holiday baking?


SPEAKER 2: First of all, for the holidays, who doesn't love a holiday cookie? But with short baked items like cookies-- because you usually don't make them for more than 10, 15 minutes-- you really have to gauge the temperature because it's not in there for that long. And cookies are all about texture. You want that really nice, crunchy, exterior crust. But then you also want a nice, deep chew in the center.


So I actually like baking a chocolate chip cookie, for example, which is high fat, high butter content. I like baking it at a slightly lower temperature and then a little bit longer. So a cookie that's 375 for about maybe 8 to 10 minutes. Sometimes I would do at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes because it develops a little slower and it doesn't rise as quickly. And then you get a nice chew, but then you have that wonderful crust.


SPEAKER 1: Oh, that sounds delicious. If there is an aspiring cake artist out there listening, what would your advice be to them?


SPEAKER 2: Just keep trying everything and look at everything with potential. A zipper, for example. I used to take like a brand new zipper from a fabric store and just only use that on cake, but you can press that into fondant and create the most beautiful, realistic looking zipper. So everything is a cake tool, to me. So be creative and just really open your eyes.


SPEAKER 1: What else have you used as cake tools that are on traditional?


SPEAKER 2: Tablecloths, like those really ugly, old-fashioned doilies. But when you press that into fondant, you can actually create really beautiful latticework. Everything from straws. Straws, you can actually cut beautiful holes. Pretty much anything could be used as a tool.


SPEAKER 1: I'm going to keep that in mind as the holidays come around. I'm not as much of a baker, but I always love making Christmas cookies and that kind of thing. So I will take that cue from you and I hope everybody else will as well. We're going to finish things out with some rapid fire questions, and then we have one final question for you here on Food Network Obsessed. So rapid fire round. Favorite cake flavor?


SPEAKER 2: Ginger molasses.


SPEAKER 1: Oh, OK. That sounds delicious. Weirdest cake you've ever made?


SPEAKER 2: A rat's butt.


SPEAKER 1: That does sound pretty weird. Favorite Halloween costume of Mila's?


SPEAKER 2: Queen zebra. I made her a zebra head out of paper mache. That was really fun.


SPEAKER 1: Oh, wow. That sounds very interesting. Favorite San Francisco spot?


SPEAKER 2: A16, my friend's restaurant.


SPEAKER 1: Oh, I like that place. You're at a bakery, what pastry are you getting?


SPEAKER 2: Croissant.


SPEAKER 1: OK. Would you rather receive or give gifts?


SPEAKER 2: Give. It's so much better.


SPEAKER 1: Favorite holiday party game?


SPEAKER 2: Oh my gosh. My friends create this drinking game where they put on Halloween Wars or Holiday Wars. And every time I say the word texture, they take a drink and everyone's drunk.


SPEAKER 1: I absolutely love that. Everybody will have--


SPEAKER 2: I have people writing to me on Instagram telling me that they do that. They do that game as well. So apparently, I love the word texture.


SPEAKER 1: OK. Well, that's all right. You're helping people get even more enjoyment out of the Food Network programming. Before we let you go, we have one final question that we always ask everybody on Food Network Obsessed. And that is what would be on the menu for your perfect food day? So we want to hear your breakfast, your lunch, your dinner, of course, your dessert. There are no rules. So you can time travel. You can just supersonic jet travel, spend however much money you want. No rules. It's your day. And we want to hear about it.


SPEAKER 2: Rainy afternoon. Eating outdoors in an alley with Edgar Allen Poe. Or eating a chicken pot pie with warm cider. And I love his books, so I would be talking all about his books in poetry. And for dessert, it would be a ghetto opera, which is a very, very thin layered cake with lots of chocolate in between the layers.


SPEAKER 1: OK, that sounds delicious. All right, so that's dinner and dessert, right? We still need breakfast and lunch as well.


SPEAKER 2: Oh, OK. Am I still with Edgar?


SPEAKER 1: Yeah. Whatever. It's your day. So if you want to be with Edgar all day, that's totally your call.


SPEAKER 2: OK. Well, you know what? I'm going to start the day with Mila. And it would be waffles with lots and lots of fruit and whipped cream.


SPEAKER 1: Are you making the waffles or somebody else?


SPEAKER 2: I'm going to take this day off.


SPEAKER 1: OK. Yeah.


SPEAKER 2: I'll have a Belgian waffle.


SPEAKER 1: OK. Wait, so was Edgar dinner or lunch?


SPEAKER 2: Oh, that's afternoon. But that's a long afternoon. So that goes from afternoon, late afternoon into dinner.


SPEAKER 1: OK. All right.


SPEAKER 2: Linner.


SPEAKER 1: It's a nice linner. Well, tell Edgar we said hello. And thank you so much for sharing all this insight about yourself and of course, Halloween Wars and Holiday Wars.


SPEAKER 2: Thank you so much. This was fun.




SPEAKER 1: Oh, man. How can I trick someone into giving me a job where every day is a holiday. Thanks so much to Shinmin for joining me. You can catch her on the season finale of Halloween Wars this Sunday, October 31st at 9:00/8:00 Central. And on the season premiere of Holiday Wars, Sunday, November 7th at 9:00/8:00 Central. Both are on Food Network and streaming on Discovery Plus. Thanks so much for listening. And make sure to follow us wherever you listen to podcasts so you don't miss a thing. If you enjoyed today's episode, please rate and review. We love it when you do that. That's all for now. We'll catch you foodies next Friday.