Food Network's 'Sugar Dome' concocts a sweet rivalry

paulette-goto-sugar-dome-food-325.jpgRevenge is sweet, but so is victory for the diverse experts who create the most stunning works of food art in "Sugar Dome," a new competitive reality series premiering Sunday, Nov. 25, on Food Network.

Each episode finds three teams composed of artists from different disciplines competing to create breathtaking works with an edible component. On each team, cake designers, sugar artists and/or chocolatiers collaborate with a third partner ranging from a graffiti artist to a muralist to a pyrotechnics expert, with their results judged by cake designer Paulette Goto, pastry chef Pichet Ong and a third rotating guest judge.

"When I was told about the premise, I was so excited because this really has not been done before," Goto tells Zap2it. "Yes, there have been the standard pastry and cake competitions on TV, but this is not like anything you've seen before, because they're taking people -- cake artists, sugar artists, chocolate artists -- who haven't worked together before, and then they are taking someone else of a different trade, and they're making these three people work together as a team to make an art masterpiece out of food. I just love it."

Each episode has a theme, ranging from "The Wizard of Oz" to the world of Dr. Seuss to a fantasy world with a fire-breathing dragon.

"On one of the episodes we had, the theme was 'From the Deep,' so the theme was the ocean, and the guest judge was Capt. Brett McBride, who is a shark chaser," Goto reveals. "The skilled tradesman on that episode was a muralist, and it was just mind-blowing."

The winning team in each episode receives a $15,000 prize, along with the champion title.

What kind of "twists"do the teams have to tackle?

One twist on an episode was they had to make something move. It kind of blew my mind how much thought and work the producers had put into the show in terms of making sure that each twist in each episode related in some way to the theme of that episode.

What got you started baking?

My mom is a paranoid schizophrenic hoarder, and she would hoard food as well, so I sort of had to scavenge for my own survival. I was 9 years old when I made my first loaf of bread, and I made French toast out of it. I've never stopped cooking since.

So you started baking because you had to?

It came out of necessity, but it was a true, true love. I remember having my friends spend the night and waking them up so I could make them breakfast.

What do you love most about baking?

I love the precision, that it's a science. You can take three ingredients and make a food product from it, but if you're not careful with the exact measurements, it's completely thrown off.
Photo/Video credit: Food Network