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McDonough cake maker Ashley Vicos gets her own Food Network show ‘Have Cake, Will Travel’

SOURCE: Food Network

SOURCE: Food Network

There seems to be a gluttony of cake-themed  reality shows on two cable networks. TLC currently feeds viewers “Cake Boss” and “D.C. Cupcakes” while Food Network serves up “Last Cake Standing,” “Cupcake Wars” and its newest offering, “Have Cake, Will Travel.”

“Have Cake, Will Travel” focuses on Ashley Vicos, a vivacious McDonough mom of three who runs a specialty cake business. She builds massively complicated, audaciously impressive cakes at prices that could buy you a brand new car: don’t call if you don’t have at least $20,000 to spare.

Now who would spend such a ridiculous amount on something that could get consumed in less time than it takes to cook a turkey?

“Big corporations, rodeos and rock concerts will spend $500,000 on a party,” she said. “What I charge for a cake is nothing to them. And oftentimes, it feeds 4,000 people. That works out to $5 or $10 per serving. It only seems crazy if you look at the final number.”

Vicos began her cake-making business in Heritage High School, charging $75 to $100 for a 30-person cake, hefty back in the day. She continued baking at Clayton State University and afterwards, started her own business, Sweet Ashley’s. She never took a cooking class, never spent a penny on marketing. She’s relied purely on word of mouth.

“People benefit from my perfectionism,” Vicos said. “They love awesome cakes. It becomes a focal point at their event.” She also takes pride that her cakes not only look cool but taste great, too. “It breaks my heart when people say their amazing looking wedding cake tasted like cornbread. If I just wanted my cakes to look pretty, I would make them with cement and plaster!”

Not surprisingly, she is drawn to TV. She’s been a contestant on “Wheel of Fortune” and “Deal or No Deal” (where she won a whopping $100.). She caught the eye of cable executives first on Food Network’s “Food Network Challenge,” then two seasons of TLC’s “Ultimate Cake Off.”

At TLC, she learned how to create cakes with moving parts and electronic components. “The cakes had to practically jump off the table and dance!” she said. But last year, she went back to Food Network.

What sold Food Network on her was her bubbly personality, which as “unpredictable as her cakes,” wrote Food Network General Manager Bob Tuschman in an email Thursday.

He defended yet another cake-related reality program: “I think there’s room for another cake show if it offers something unique. We think Ashley and her business do that.” The timing is good if Vicos clicks with the audience: Food Network’s long-standing “Ace of Cakes” was retired in February after ten seasons.

“Have Cake, Will Travel,” which debuted Sunday night in a sneak preview but begins in its regular time slot this Tuesday at 9 p.m., features her and her colleagues traveling around the country to do cakes at big events. (She said she travels two to three weeks out of the month.) Sunday’s episode featured her creating a castle cake for this past February’s Mardi Gras. Tuesday’s episode she’ll design one for the Harlem Globetrotters. In later episodes, she’ll work with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, New York Fashion Week and an anniversary event for the Marine Corp.

She said she gets her ideas by looking at everything around her. “I have cake brain,” she said. “I’ll go to the local Lowe’s or Home Depot just to get inspired. One time, I walked around Lowe’s with a naked mannequin. I was trying to find hardware and support for the internal structure. Employees gave me strange looks.”

ON TV
“Have Cake, Will Travel,” Food Network, sneak preview 10 p.m. Sunday. Regular time: Tuesdays, 9 p.m.

Join my Facebook fan page and Twitter.

By Rodney Ho, rho@ajc.com, AJCRadioTV blog

49 comments Add your comment

[...] There seems to be a gluttony of cake-themed  reality shows on two cable networks. TLC currently feeds viewers “Cake Boss” and “D.C. Cupcakes” while Food Network serves up “Last Cake Standing,” “Cupcake Wars” and its newest offering … read full article… [...]

Kennesaw Dave

April 22nd, 2011
12:06 pm

I’m not a big Food Network watcher but I may check it out just for the fact that she’s a local and the way she makes cakes sounds facinating. You know who she reminds me of though Rodney? If you ever saw the movie The Waitress she reminds me of the main character that would constantly get ideas for all different kinds of pies to sell in the diner she worked in.

Kat

April 22nd, 2011
1:20 pm

Great job, Ashley! I love to hear about locals (or Georgians) doing well for themselves. If the cakes I’ve seen from her so far are any indication, this should be a great show! Good luck!

PMC

April 22nd, 2011
1:20 pm

never cared much for cake.

Like Pie better. but then I guess you can’t put fondant all over pie and hook up electric motors.

Good for her though, I wish I could find something I could get people to willingly pay me 20+ grand for.

ADL

April 22nd, 2011
1:28 pm

I couldn’t decide if TV needed another cake/cupcake show or another Kardashian show more. Thank God they saved me the trouble and put the bimbo on a baking show!!!!

[...] [1] McDonough cake maker Ashley Vicos gets her own Food Network show ‘Have Cake, Will Travel&#8217… [2] Roswell’s Salt Factory Pub to appear on Food Network tonight [3] Food Network, Cooking [...]

cupcake

April 22nd, 2011
2:14 pm

Congrats to her – I do get creeped out when you see people around food without a hairnet tho…..she got some pretty big hair!

Steve

April 22nd, 2011
2:26 pm

She should not get too excited about her own show until she is sure that Bobby Flay is not going to show up for a Throw Down.

Capitalist

April 22nd, 2011
2:34 pm

Okay now – get ready to be trashed for being successful. You had a plan, took advantage of opportunity and worked hard. How dare you be successful? Let them eat cake. YOU GO GIRL!!!!

Badgerina

April 22nd, 2011
2:50 pm

Just looking at that cake makes my mouth water. Good for her for her show.

notaracist

April 22nd, 2011
3:09 pm

It is indeed a blessing to get paid for doing something that you love. Believe it or not, there is a huge market for what this young woman does. And to read that she has never taken a class for her craft, tells me, that her talent is a gift from God. Congratulations, Best Wishes and Continued Successful.

Anyone, anyone...

April 22nd, 2011
3:13 pm

Great story! And I’m SO glad that Ace of Cakes is over. Talk about an overplayed fiddle!

Betty

April 22nd, 2011
3:20 pm

oh no, another southern talking woman, hope to God she does not say y’all 1000 times like Paula Deen who I can not stand to listen to & I am Georgia born & bred & do not talk like that but other than that I am glad for her

MIKE CLEMENTS

April 22nd, 2011
3:34 pm

Enter your comments here

MIKE CLEMENTS

April 22nd, 2011
3:35 pm

GOOD WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT

The Real Chef

April 22nd, 2011
3:50 pm

Just looking at her makes my mouth water

Cammi317

April 22nd, 2011
3:56 pm

I’ll watch. I love Cake Boss, but I have never watched any of the other cake shows.

Sluggo

April 22nd, 2011
4:08 pm

Enough with the celebrity chefs already! And why are they called celebrities anyway? They cook food. So what!

Arleen

April 22nd, 2011
4:59 pm

Congratulations and good luck. I hope it is a good thing for the entire family. My only request for this show is that it doesn’t include the fake drama of some of the other cake shows like the artificial deadlines and crazy family member characters.

Matt

April 22nd, 2011
9:44 pm

Yet another example of how Food Network is only about food in name only, it’s all competition shows now. At least the Cooking Channel still is something I can watch and learn from.

Betty

April 22nd, 2011
10:45 pm

Matt is right, no cooking on Food network just competitions now & Sluggo has it right they are only cooks. I can cook myself & sure am not a star. Please take Paula Deen off the air along with her boys whom she tries to show how wonderful they are & her life

nicki

April 23rd, 2011
1:16 am

$20k a cake? After checking out her site she might want to try spending a bit of that money on some web design, my retinas still burn.

Elizabeth

April 23rd, 2011
7:53 am

I just wonder how many of these food net work people have animal hair flying around the kitchen. I’m just saying.

bob

April 23rd, 2011
8:58 am

Gotta agree with nicki – Ashley would be well advised to hire a ‘real’ web designer. She might be proud of the fact that she hasn’t spent any money on advertising – but a couple thousand dollars for a decent web presence would go a long way.

Mo's mom

April 23rd, 2011
1:08 pm

Yeah, that website is a bit Pepto Bismol-ish. Plus, she uses small cursive font so one can even read what it says. I could’ve created a better one for free on wix.com.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

marco

April 25th, 2011
1:45 pm

Watched this thing last night — haven’t figured out just what it is. Not entertainment, not cooking, the cake looks like a 3rd or 4th place finisher in any of the Food Network Cake competitions. She definitely lives up to the “dumb blonde” role with the neglecting of looking at the sizes of doors to the assembly room. If she didn’t have the bodacious tatas, she would not have been selected for the show — personality is overbearing and self-serving. And she says she’s doing all this for her kids — yeah right — that is why she is letting her parents raise them while she’s off galavanting around the country. Oh well, at least I won’t have to worry about filling up the dvr disk with this one.

polo!

April 25th, 2011
10:38 pm

Have to agree with marco. I’m a long time fan of Ace of Cakes so I watched this last night out of curiosity more than anything else. The cake (a big castle) had a few spots of decent detail work, but from a few feet away, it looked like it was done by an amateur. Maybe that had something to do with her intern (who has never worked with cake before and was the only assistant on an enormous cake?!) going out for drinks with Ashley’s overacting personal assistant instead of, oh, I dunno, learning how to decorate cake. Fortunately, the parade participants who tore the cake apart in about 5 minutes flat didn’t seem to care how it looked. If Food Network is trying to fill the shoes of Charm City Cakes, they have a long way to go.

Keith

April 26th, 2011
12:57 am

Disapointed in show. Remind me of when MTV went from showing music to anything but music. This show was more about the character’s personalities and leisure time than making food. Other than size, the cake didn’t wow me. The entire show felt fake and made up to be a cheap sitcom. I’ve seen her talent on other shows that was missing here.

Atticus Joad

April 26th, 2011
7:08 am

Watched the show and was hugely embarrassed to live in McDonough. Ashley is trailer trash come to town. Picture Elly May Clampett without the sweetness and charm if she learned how to bake and became a second-rate Dolly Parton imitator. Her three kids, probably by different fathers, cramp her style, so she ships them off to Lousiana for her elderly parents to raise. The two female assistants spent the episode rolling their eyes at each other and at any mention of work. There’s a flamboyant gay stereotype assistant whose only job apparently is to attempt comic relief. It was definitely made for tv and doesn’t even compare to Ace of Cakes.

Amanda Sterner

April 26th, 2011
10:02 am

WOW, how stupid is this show? I only have 2 thoughts. less scripting and fakeness and most importantly…. Ashley, get a corset that fits! OUCH. atleast it’s only 30 minutes.

Kathy Scott

April 26th, 2011
10:05 am

apparently she hates straigght me so much she has to make a mockery out of the Gay stereotype. there is no point to the show except for Ashley to sneak in a sales pitch every now and then… gimme a break! How about a show with some class!

mitchell Craft

April 26th, 2011
3:05 pm

wow, really stupid! C’mon food lets have a real show instead of this. I’ve seen some amazing work come from the cake industry and she seems to be the only one claiming to get that kind of coin and yet her quality level really isn’t anything great. Her website sucks, which tends to make me feel like everything she says is bull. Not like the show helped with portraying her as genuine at all. “It’s all for my girls” ( tear) “now get out of here so I can do my own thing you brats!” believe it or not I’m trying to be nice! The OVERLY flambouyant personal assistant, and poor Mary ( I don’t think anyone told her she was there to make Ashley look good) added to a no talent but cute none the less intern. what are you thinking? Here’s an Idea. I’ll do cakes, pick up strangers from the street and celebrate meaningful things! LOL

Jenni

April 26th, 2011
9:19 pm

This show is horrible. She needs to focus on losing weight, and getting a makeover before working on any more cakes. Come on Food Network! You are going down the drain!!

Mike valentine

April 27th, 2011
9:38 am

this overgrown godzilla-fied version of dolly parton makes me want to puke! I

Bill Duncan

April 27th, 2011
10:02 pm

the show was fake, scripted and just plain boring! Ashley spends so much time talking about how great she is that she forgets to even attempt to be OK.. Feel aweful for her poor Gay assistant who is basically the big joke of the show, ad to that a completely unskilled “intern” finish it off with Mary, who clearly is intended to make ashly look less evil, the cast sucks! way to go food for bashing gays, making interns look useless and cake people into the biggest joke of the culinary world. Do yourself a favor and take this crap off the air before too much damage is done. Who decides to air this trash anyway?

reynald

April 27th, 2011
10:12 pm

I haven’t seen the show but I gotta say. With the economy in the tank and people lucky to afford gas why in the hell would we celebrate a dolly parton look alike who claims she can get 20K for a g’damn cake? This makes me sick. heres a thought: take some of the money you are clearly being overpaid get lap band and shut up! My wife also makes cakes and everyone she knows in the career field are struggling like hell to survive! They work too much, get paid too little and scape by every day. would seem to me if you want to connect with people, be a little more modest and understanding!

Kennon McCollum

April 29th, 2011
3:11 pm

Everyone who spouts mean and hateful things should be ashamed. The fire coming out of Mike Valentines post just confirms that he is Godzilla (only a mean old lizard could spit such fire). Mike your comments are full of meaness and hurt: Stop spitting fire out of such a hateful mouth.

The cakes that Ashely makes are creative, unique, and are the products of a very talented and skilled person. I would dare every person who spits such meaness on this blog to just try and make a cake that equals Ashley’s creation.

Every person is born with thier talent and everyone of you who insist upon stating such mean things in a blog about the tlaent of another person should just wish (and pray) that you could be lucky enough to have even a small amount of the talent that Ashley has.

You go Ashley !!!!!!! Your cakes and your talent are FANTASTIC !!!!

I was born and raised in Atlanta and I for one am PROUD that you are from my city. I

Ignore all the old lizards spitting fire on this blog, we know they are really the Godzilla’s, just walking around spitting fire beacuse they are obvioulsy grouchy old jealous people.

Kennon McCollum

April 29th, 2011
3:19 pm

Jenni,

Are you so shallow that you judge someone on just appearance and not on thier character and person. I only hope that you yourself are a true knock-out beauty worthy of a winning Ms. America pageant before you pick up that stone and throw it in your own glass house.

Next time try getting to know a person and thier conritbutions to the world before you start insulting them based merely upon appearance. Or do you choose to do that beacuse you yourself have no talents or anything to contribute to the world.

LaMeeka Edwards

April 30th, 2011
9:22 am

Attacking Ashley is wrong! Remember this is TV! Like most things it’s scripted for drama! I know the real Ashley Vicos she is an awesome cake decorator, Mom and friend. If you didn’t like the show say that and move on attacking her personally is not necessary. I’m proud of Ashley and trust me she will rise above this.

joyce

May 1st, 2011
12:54 pm

I know Ashley as well. Her cakes are beautiful. Her parents live next door to her and not in LA. She depends on her parents for everything. Her dad is/was a baptist pastor. She has always been very loud and fake. According to her and her parents, she does no wrong. She does not work outside her home and she always depended on her parents to take her girls to private school. She didnt want to get up herself and take them nor spend time with them. I have never liked the way that she treats people on the cake show contest nor on her own show. For her to be a Southern Baptist, she isnt setting a very good example on tv or in real life. She goes to the bars drinking, cursing at people and calling them names on the shows. She once told me that it says in the bible that we should tell people that they are going to hell if they sin. I told her that we are not the ones to judge that only God can do that and that we are to lead them to salvation. She is NOT setting a christian attitude or example as she portrays herself. According to herself and her parents, she does no wrong and it is always everyone else’s fault. I can’t imagine leaving my children for 3 months. If she is such a wonderful baker and does so well, then why leave your children. IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN ALL ABOUT ASHLEY and what she wants. Her show doesn’t tell you how she makes or designs the cakes. It’s all about the drama. She was always so quick to condemn people for being gay and other things. Now look who is on her show. As usual…. the rules don’t apply to her.

Viewer

May 1st, 2011
6:35 pm

Ashley looks like a circus clown. Reminds me of Anna Nicole on steroids. That show sucks.

Jenni

May 2nd, 2011
2:33 pm

So obviously, ashley’s friends and family started posting on here. Of course people get judged on their appearance-There are way more talented, cake artists out there that are healthy, and good role models for kids that don’t stuff their face with cake every chance they get!
This show is beyond horrible. Hope it gets canceled soon.

KMATL

May 5th, 2011
1:13 pm

GO ASHLEY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CANT WAIT TILL THE NEXT SHOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Your cakes look Soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo !!! AMAZING.

YGG (”YOU GO GIRL”)

sabresfan15

May 10th, 2011
2:23 am

I watched the Boston Bruins episode and was not impressed. She made herself come across as a stuck up, unintelligent, southern bell with absolutely no knowledge of hockey. I will not be watching this again. I’m surprised the food network picked up this show.

Carel

May 12th, 2011
6:31 am

Ashley has taken many, many classes from Nic Lodge in Norcross. Don’t go bragging on yourself too much,Ashley. It will come back to BITE you !!

Kennon McCollum

May 12th, 2011
2:46 pm

Oh Poor Little Jenni,

I am so sorry that you are so so bitter about everything in life.
Being so critical of others clearly indicates your own lack of beilief in yourself, and you obvious lack of self esteem.
I hope, no I pray, that something positive and wonerful happens in your life really soon to put a smile on your face and make you feel better about yourself so that you don’t have to keep citicizing other peoples talents and acomplishments just to make yourself feel better.

Keep a chin up, your life will get better, and when it does I hope you learn to share a smile with others.

Ashley Vicos

May 13th, 2011
8:59 am

Joyce—–Though you know a few very general facts about me, you fill your message with totally false information…………..
My family is from Louisiana, but I live in the atlanta area, as do my parents…….
My parents help me out immensely, & love me dearly………………though they far from agree with or support all the choices that I make in life…..
But I am a GROWN woman and make my own choices in life and deal with any consequences that come with any choices I have made…..
I love my children dearly and stayed at home with them for 10yrs without so much as going out of town for a long weekend without my family…..in fact the first time I ever traveled alone in my entire life was my first food network challenge (Disney Classic Cakes)…….none of my children went to preschool, K4, etc…..each of them entered kindergarten at the age of 6 & it wasn’t until they were all in school that I started further pursuing my passions in life and taking them to a new level…….

I have never gone around beating anyone over the head with a bible and do not/never have supported that philosophy…….
I have many many many gay friends whom I’ve known for 10+ yrs, & I would love for you to tell them these things you are accusing me of and see what they have to say to you……
It seems to me the only one throwing stones and being fake is someone who is only willing to tell partial truths under a fake name b/c anything can be said behind a computer screen with anonymity and no accountability…..
People can have any opinion that they chose to…you can like me or not….like the show or not…….it’s all good and everyones right & choice to make……..
but the only opinions that I can respect are people who are willing to be honest about who they are, b/c people who tell the truth and give facts are never afraid to own what they say……

Ashley Vicos

May 13th, 2011
9:25 am

Lots and lots of comments and opinions here………….
So, I wanted to take a second to clear a few things up……………
People can chose to watch a tv show or not……..there are some things on tv I like, and some things that I don’t……….that’s why there are choices out there………
****though I will say that I have never been sooooo affected by tv/movie/music etc…that I went online to personally trash someone…..so that seems strange to me

These large event cakes do start around 20K……..but the issue no one is considering is the size of them……..
When a cake is 5ft+, you are talking about cakes for events that serve 1000’s of people
So, break down the price into per serving and these cakes are right in-line with the national average of custom cake decorating…….
People are struggling, the economy does suck……..but this is my job……..if someone wants to place an order and is having their own event that requires/warrants a cake this big…….don’t attack the person taking the order…..
It is no different than the caterer serving the food, or the bar supplying enough drinks…..
When I am home in Atlanta I still continue to take orders and my minimum order is 30 servings, which makes the work attainable by much more average events/functions as well….

At the end of the day TV is the business of entertainment and this show was made to be fun to watch and funny…………I did not make or edit these shows or decide how the finished product would look…..I went to make cakes & meet with clients and other people decided what you would see…….

This is a new genre for Food Network and it is not an instructional based show to teach someone how to make a giant cake…….though you get to see some of the process and the extent of what it takes and the hitches along the way……

If you watch the show, I hope you try to enjoy it from an entertainment perspective, and if you don’t want to watch the show; I’m okay with that too……

For all of you who posted something positive/motivational…..I just want you to know that I read all of it and it was very appreciated!!!! The world could use more positive and encouraging people!!! I think everyone should pursue their passion in life and find something that they love to do and to find happiness…..adults spend the majority of their lives working, so why be miserable & sad with your job…
Go for it, never take no for an answer, never let mean or negative people get the better of you b/c when you put yourself out there, you will always find people who try to pull you down……
Be strong, be determined, be yourself, & dream big!!!
xox