Cake Queen - Ashlee Perkins

Ashlee Perkins, the owner of AMP Cake Design in Merrimack, is a premier cake designer, having appeared on the "Food Network Challenge" four times so far. Her most recent foray into the show was an appearance in the "Paranormal Cake" episode, where contestants had to come up with a cake design that reflected an actual paranormal event that they had experienced. In the Food Network Challenge, several teams aim at gaining the $10,000 grand prize. The stipulation of the contest is that the ghost story must be based on personal experience, and the cakes have to be evocative as well as technically outstanding.How did the Food Network Challenge work out? It went well, actually, we were pretty pleased with how the reaction went. We went to second place, which was our best placing so far.So what was your entry? Well, the story involved a ring that I bought for my mother. It was just about the time I was moving to Savannah, Georgia, and we were staying in this old inn. After dinner, we went back to our room and the ring was gone. So we went downstairs and there was the ring in the fireplace. It turns out that this was a favorite prank of the resident ghost. The story is that there was a sailor who was lost at sea and his wife kept looking for him.How did you translate that into a cake? We did a whimsical kind of cake, very stylistic. The top layer of the cake represented the inn itself. The middle two tiers represented commitment, while the bottom tier was the water itself, with a ship, with a picture of the ring that I gave my mother.Let's talk about your animation background a bit and how that plays into it. I was at the Savannah College of Art and Design. My major there was in animation. Pretty much for the four years I was there I was studying animation, but I was also doing cake design. So I was kind of on the fence about where I wanted to go. It seemed like a really strong commitment, with an apprenticeship and everything, but after a while it seemed like this wasn't really where I wanted it to go. Then, in my senior year, I contacted the Food Network and entered myself into their competitions.So, basically, you jumped into the deep side of the pool. Well, a lot of people don't see how it translates, but animation and cake design are very closely related. A lot of the principles that we used in animation translate almost completely into cake design. Things like proportion and design and color theory.So what's coming up next? There is a new show coming up, on a different network. Things are in negotiations, so I'm not at liberty to say a lot about it.- Interview by Eric Stanway
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