Only a few months after she opened the second branch of her bakery in Newton Highlands, I talked to about all of the exciting changes going on in her life. But at the time, she had no idea that something else very exciting was right around the corner.
In December of last year, Eunice filmed an episode of Food Network’s “Throwdown with Bobby Flay.”
She lost. Flay won.
“Taste being subjective, there’s no good and bad,” explained Feller. “They have two judges and it’s not like a majority rules. They’re given a couple minutes and they have to come to a decision. Cameras are rolling! And…I lost.”
But Feller speaks very positively about the entire experience that began when she got a phone call from the producers back in August of 2010.
They told her a very vague story about a “new concept show, yet to be determined” that they wanted to include Feller in; was she interested?
“I hounded them,” she laughs. “’Do you even have a working title? What are you calling it internally?’ Finally they said, ‘We’re calling it Boston’s Best, shooting a bunch of chefs who have won Best of Boston awards.’”
That was good enough for Feller, and they told her to get her Boston Cream Pie cake ready to be demonstrated on “Boston’s Best.”
“You mean cupcakes, right?” Feller recalls asking. “Boston Cream Pie cupcakes are our best seller!”
No, they wanted a cake.
So Feller set to work adapting her cupcake recipe into a larger model, one which was “traditional, but with a little signature twist.”
The Monday before filming, Bread and Chocolate’s Newton Highlands shop was ready for the film crew, and Feller was ready for her close up.
But the producers called and said that they had gotten so many RSVPs for the show, they needed to move the venue to fit all of the audience members. So on Wednesday, having never cooked there before, Feller and her crew packed up and met the Food Network folks at the Fairmont Copley Plaza.
Then they told her she would have to do a monologue for the audience. Feller was so focused on making this impromptu introduction work that she failed to notice Flay’s presence.
Once she recovered from the shock of seeing Flay and realized they’d be competing on “Throwdown” (her staff claims she had a “boy crazy moment”), Feller got down to work creating her very unique Boston Cream Pie.
While initially she had been nervous about having to talk about what she was preparing as she was doing it, once Feller started working she was comfortable enough in front of the cameras that she actually doesn’t remember what she said.
“There were some parts where I can’t believe I did that,“ Feller exclaims. “You just have to see it, but you’ll know what I mean.”
The moment of truth came when the two desserts were placed before the judges with no indication of which creation was whose.
After a short deliberation, they decided that Flay’s more traditional Boston Cream Pie, made unique by the bourbon in its ganache and cream, was just a wee bit better than Feller’s orange-and-thyme mousseline, filling-intense offering.
In spite of her close defeat, Feller is still glad she had the chance to do “Throwdown” and share her food philosophy with the world.
“Food is like music,” she explains. “It has to have high notes and middle notes and low notes. You might not hear them all or taste them all, but they all have to be there to give the food a fullness, a richness.”
Eunice Feller’s episode of “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” will be re-airing tomorrow, March 26th at 7 p.m. on Food Network. The recipe for her Boston Cream Pie, adapted for home bakers, is available on the Food Network website.