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Ray Vizcaino competes in 'Halloween Baking Championship'

Ray Vizcaino competes in 'Halloween Baking Championship.'
Photo credit:
Food Network

San Diego bakers seem to love reality competition shows, especially during Halloween.

Last year, Veronica von Borstel represented America’s Finest city on national television and this year another local confectioner Ray Miranda-Vizcaino goes in front of the camera amid the high-pressure atmosphere of Food Network’s Halloween Baking Championship.

Both artists not only represented San Diego, but also the LGBT community.

We spoke with Ray about his inspirations and what it takes to compete in a fast-paced reality competition show and what he will do with the $25,000 if he wins. 

San Diego Gay and Lesbian News:

Where are you from and how did you become interested in baking?

Ray Vizcaino:

I was born and raised in El Paso, TX my entire life by my mother, grandmother, grandfather, and aunts.  I come from a family of six children and with a single working mom, I had helped a lot with the chores, cooking, and cleaning.  I enjoyed watching both my grandmother and aunt bake and cook.  That was one thing I truly enjoyed about my family was that food always brought us together.  If someone was having a hard time or it was a celebration in the family we would all come together around food and be there for one another.  It wasn’t till I graduated high school and joined the United States Marine Corps that I was brought out here to San Diego. 

I was stationed at Camp Pendleton where I served my entire enlistment.  I deployed three times and got to travel the world and meet amazing people.  It’s funny because food was always a part of my adventure as well.  Getting to try new cuisines and learning family recipes from friends was incredible.  Food always seemed to bring us together, being away from families during the holidays it helped us become a new family.  I knew once I got out that I wanted to continue that journey in life and bring people together with food, so I enrolled into the Art Institute of California San Diego and started my baking journey. 

I always was a creative and artistic child growing up and that helped me a lot in the kitchen especially when it came to decorating and I took to it very well.  I’ve worked from small locally owned business to corporate bakeries, and everywhere I went I saw how my creations were able to bring joy to people’s lives.  Now I’m currently the Head Cake Decorator for Sugar and Scribe Bakery in La Jolla, and also have my own company on the side called MR CAKES. 

MR CAKES was started by my husband and myself, both having a love and passion for baking we decided to share it with the world.

What dish do you think got you cast?

That’s interesting if anything I would have to say it was probably my Passionfruit “Brain” Meringue tart that help get me cast for the show.  Even though I had to submit a few of my favorite recipes and a few of my work all around I feel that it wasn’t just that one dish that help get me cast.

Are you up against some pretty awesome opponents?

Oh yes, for sure I am going up against some pretty awesome opponents from across the country.  Out of all the applicants only eight of us were chosen and that’s pretty intense on its own.  Some of these opponents are Pastry Chefs for five star hotels, they’ve ran casino banquet halls, own their own business so it was pretty intense.  I can’t say the least it was a challenge for me but who doesn’t love a challenge right? I’m competing against the best of the best and that’s what makes it more entertaining.

What’s your favorite part of Halloween?

For me there are two favorite parts of Halloween.  The first it that I get to celebrate my husband being part of this world, because he’s a Halloween Baby.  I get to throw him a party each year and create an everlasting memory for both of us.  The second part is being able to dress up and bring back all those childhood memories and traditions that I had with my family and pass them on with friends.  I love that you can either be a frightening zombie or be a beautifully painted Dia de Los Muertos guitarist.  The possibilities are endless on Halloween.

Are the challenges difficult?

Absolutely the challenges have twists and turns so it keeps you on your toes all the time.  You can’t get complacent and think “Oh, I’ve got this” because next thing you know it they throw a twist and you have to adapt really quick.  It’s being filmed and you can’t just stop a little mistake and you’re done for.  I mean we're competing for title of Halloween Baking Champion and a cash prize of $25,000, of course, they aren’t going to go easy on us. 

What will you do with the money if you win?

If I win there are a few things I would do with the money.  The first would be to put some of that money aside to be able and open a storefront for MR CAKES.  Starting a business isn’t easy and that money would definitely help to get things started off the ground.  I would for sure take my husband on a honeymoon since we never took one and haven’t taken a vacation in over 5 years.  After that, I would help my mother out with giving her a nice little vacation as well.  She has worked so hard her entire life to give my brothers and sisters and amazing life and I would love to help repay her.  She’s always pushed me in life to my fullest and honestly, don’t think I would be where I am today if it wasn’t for her.

Can we buy some of the stuff you made on the show at your shop?

At the moment, all my orders are placed in advanced since I don’t have a storefront, but would love to make them for anyone so they can be able to experience my baked goods and be able to bring a little sweetness to their lives.

They are more than welcomed to visit my website wwww.mrcakesusa.com and follow me on social media @rayvizcaino to see all the beautiful baked goods I’ll be baking up. 

Halloween Baking Championship premieres on Food Network, Monday, September 25th