Jacques Torres On What Fans Can Expect From The New Halloween Version Of Nailed It! - Exclusive Interview

World-renowned pastry chef Jacques Torres is back for Season 7 of "Nailed It!" — which promises to be its spookiest season yet. The Halloween version of the show premiers on October 5 and will include ghoulish surprises and guest appearances by actors from some of your favorite Netflix shows like "The Umbrella Academy," "Cobra Kai," and "The Witcher." The desserts the bakers are asked to create are also intentionally scary this time around. In fact, Nicole Byer is so alarmed by one cake creation that she laments in the trailer, "Now I have something to talk about with my therapist this week."

Torres told us in an exclusive interview that this season will also feature all of the baking fails we've come to love about the show, in addition to some unexpected twists. He said that in multiple scenes, Byer had him laughing so hard they had to stop filming — the incredible chemistry they have on screen is very real, and even when days can get long on set, he always enjoys filming with the comedian who keeps the cast and crew laughing all day. Torres also divulged what he absolutely won't eat on the show, the worst fail you can expect to see, and advice for beginner bakers.

What viewers will see on the new season

What can fans expect from this new Halloween version of "Nailed It"?

I think the show still nailed it — meaning it's going to be fun. You're going to see some great fails, you're going to see beautiful cakes, and you're going to see things collapsing. You're going to see bakers running like crazy in the last 10 minutes and see whether they succeed or not. That's what we can expect.

Now, bakers also become a little bit better. We have seven seasons already, so a lot of viewers look at the show before they come and they know a little bit more. Some of the things that they used to fail at all the time, they become better at it.

They have a little bit of knowledge now going in?

Yes. They know it a bit more, but we still have the funny fails and that happiness that Nicole [Byer] will bring to the show. She's very good with the bakers, and she will bring some happiness and lightness.

Nicole Byer is so funny on the show. Has she ever made you laugh so hard you couldn't get through a scene or you guys had to stop filming?

Every episode we have those. You have no idea. Nicole is a comedian, and she's funny. But being a comedian is not just a job — it's who she is. All day she will make jokes. She will play like that. We always have the producer saying in our ear, "Nicole, this is a family show. Can you rephrase that?" It's very funny because we shoot a little bit longer than we should, but Nicole keeps the energy up by being herself, by being funny. Everybody loves Nicole.

What was one of the scariest things that contestants were asked to create this season?

We see some fun cakes, but what's scary for us is when they put a cake in the oven and they don't bake it completely, because we have to eat those cakes. We don't want to eat raw egg. We don't want to eat something that can make us sick. We always watch what's going on, or if they're going to crack the egg and if some of the shell is going to go into the batter, or if they are going to lick a spoon and then use that spoon to do something else.

We try to keep our eyes on it to be sure that they wash their hands. It's things that you can do at home. [If] it's your family, it's your son or it's your daughter, you can do some of these things at home that you don't want to do for the public. We are watching for that.

Jacques Torres shares some of the biggest baking fails

Since you're a world-renowned pastry chef, do you ever get nervous about eating something after you've seen the outcome?

Yes, it can happen where I would push around things. I remember something that happened in the last episode where one of the bakers colored their cakes with blue coloring. By the time we ate the cake, the blue color didn't dry. I went around the blue to eat the cake. Nicole [Byer] didn't know, so she takes the spoon and she ate it.

I waited a little bit and asked, "Nicole, can you show me your tongue?" She went and she stuck out her tongue to me and it was blue, and we laughed. She stuck her tongue out to the camera, and the guest was doing the same thing because she didn't realize that the food color was not dry and going to color it. We have those great laughs — it's very legitimate. We have a good time.

It comes across that way — you guys have great chemistry. Baking fails are some of the funniest parts of "Nailed It!" What's one of the worst fails that fans can expect to see this season?

When I think of the biggest fails, it's when you have almost nothing to show the judge. When that happened, things became very flat, and the cake was supposed to be 20 inches tall. Those always are very funny fails, but again, we are not mad about the fails because the fails allow us — and especially me — to teach and say, "Okay, you see the cake collapsed. Let me tell you why the cake collapsed."

I explain, "You should do this. You should do that." I can explain the process, and then the viewer understands, and so does the baker. Instead of making fun of the cake collapse, that's not the most important — what's important is why and to try to learn from it.

Can you divulge anything about any fun guest judges we can expect to see this season?

Yes. There was an episode that I enjoyed with "Cobra Kai." We were with Nicole kicking one of those ... things when you train at the gym. You kick on those plastic persons. We have that on the set, and we try to kick it. That was very funny because you can imagine Nicole and I doing that. That was a funny piece where we laugh a lot.

His advice to beginner bakers

What advice would you give to novice cooks that might be afraid to give baking a try? I would imagine you've experienced quite a few of those on the show.

I experienced that myself. I started from not knowing how to bake when I was an apprentice in France, and then I learned my skills in a shop, all the way to today. Basically, baking is about getting ready, having all your ingredients on your table, in your kitchen — take them out. Put them in front of you and scale, weigh, or measure everything precisely because that's going to give you a chance to succeed. Follow directions.

In baking, you have to follow directions. At least at the beginning, a lot of our bakers don't even follow directions. They invent things, and I'm like, "Oh my God, how can they do that?" It's a certain process of mixing the cake together. You don't put something before something else. Otherwise, you have lumps; otherwise, things don't get mixed the proper way. You have to follow a certain process in order to succeed. If you're new at it, get ready, think about your plan, measure everything, and start. And have fun — that's the most important part.

The chocolatier reveals his current favorite restaurant and his go-to fast food

You've traveled quite a bit and experienced some great food. Who is the one chef you'd want to cook you dinner?

I don't know. I have so many friends in so many cities that are chefs, where we share what we do and share great times. Jean-Georges [Vongerichten] opened a place in New York where you have different restaurants and also you can buy ingredients. You can buy fish, you can buy meat, you can buy cakes, you can buy chocolates. Everything that you love about his career and his travel are in that place.

I enjoy going there and looking at all the different departments and thinking about him, because it's him traveling and bringing back things and discovering things. Through his store, he makes the customer discover those things, from pizza to Chinese food to tacos to a lot of things that he discovers during his travel. It's very interesting.

What's one ingredient you could never live without?

Chocolate will be one of them, but I love fresh foods. Yesterday, I went to a market, and I tasted figs. Now is the time where the figs are ripe — and oh my God, they are so good. I love to do pastries with it. In-season foods are the best. Strawberry during July and August — you cannot get something better than that. It's so good. 

Very true. Do you eat fast food? If so, what is your favorite restaurant?

I have a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old, and a lot of time, what do they want? They want fast food. I want to go to Shake Shack and they want to go to McDonald's. It is the battle here.

Shake shack is so good.

It's good and it's fast, but at the end of the day, the family time around the table, eating with the kids, is fun. Sometimes it's okay to go to a fast food [place] that I don't enjoy, but I know the time that I spend with them is important and sharing whatever food we buy.

Do the kids win when they want McDonald's versus you wanting to have Shake Shack?

Oh, they win all the time. They just have to tell me what they want. It's important to let them win.

The new season of "Nailed It" premieres on October 5 on Netflix.

This interview has been edited for clarity.