Christina Tosi And Christophe Rull Bring The Bake Squad Back In Action For Season 2 - Exclusive Interview

"Bake Squad" is back and ready to showcase all the culinary action it has to offer in Season 2 of the hit Netflix baking competition show. The Bake Squad, comprised of talented confection creators Ashley Holt, Maya-Camille Broussard, Gonzo Jimenez, and Christophe Rull, imagine dazzling creations to present to clients for their special events.

This dream team — pulled together by culinary extraordinaire Christina Tosi — never fails to wow clients and those of us watching at home. While only one confectioner can win each episode, each creator brings the heat into the kitchen, leading to nail-biting finales. Each challenge is unique, not only because of the events they are created for (ranging from bar mitzvahs to anniversaries), but also because of the people for whom the treats are made. The Bake Squad must ensure their creations are perfectly paired with the individual they are intended for.

This season brings more of what we have come to love about "Bake Squad": more fully edible musical instruments, more outlandish and spectacular bakes, and more of the Bake Squad pushing each other to the next level. We sat down with hosts Christina Tosi and Christophe Rull to find out more about what Season 2 has in store.

Heading back to the kitchen

What is new this season for the Bake Squad?

Christina Tosi: We have eight incredible celebrations, challenges, and episodes to show up for, and they range from a bar mitzvah to a 75th wedding anniversary to an '80s-themed volunteer appreciation event. The bakers turn it up from Season 1, if that were even possible. They do. They very firmly wow us in their sweet spot. But Christophe, my favorite part of this season is how each of you start getting into each other's territories. Whether it's you getting into chocolate or cake or Ashley getting into chocolate or sugar, y'all really challenge each other.

Christophe Rull: Yes. That was pretty awesome to see. Most important is also the camaraderie that we have between all of us. [That's] what makes a good synergy and great show on camera, after all, and it's pretty amazing. But definitely the level of the challenges this season is going to be much higher than the first season, and I can't wait to see the show.

What is it like being all back together for Season 2?

Tosi: It's like a family reunion. We all live across the country, and we don't get to see each other often. We certainly don't get to spend time together in the kitchen the way that we do in Season 2. It's a family reunion in all of its lovey-dovey enthusiasm, and then it's a family reunion in all of its pushiness and drama for good. You can't make what you made last season; you have to be better — your best — and push each other and push back, sometimes. It feels like a homecoming in all the right ways.

Season 2 curveballs

What curveballs can we expect to be thrown at the Bake Squad this season?

Tosi: Christophe, you got some curveballs. Take it.

Rull: Yes — there were a few challenges. Things are breaking, and it's a seven-hour challenge most of the time. Every time, nothing is perfect, like in real life. Every time, you have to overcome those challenges and come up with a plan B. Even though it's challenging at times, we all do a good job at the end of the day.

What's important is to please the guest. Sometimes, as pastry chefs, we are really critical about ourselves too much. But in reality, the customer doesn't see it when they come and there's the reveal of the four displays there. They are mind-blowing, honestly.

Are you ever concerned that you're not going to be able to pull off one of your plans for the episodes?

Rull: Every single time.

Tosi: Every episode, every question — because these bakers are planning to make something that has never existed before. It's one of a kind on so many different levels. Plus, you have pushy old me where you dream something up and I'm like, "It's a great idea, but go bigger, go further, put yourself out of your comfort zone." 

Every step, every single bake is the sweating of, "I don't have enough time. I'm not going to be able to get it done. I'm not going to be able to figure it out." Yet week after week, even despite some of the curveballs and the setbacks, every single one of these bakers presents something absolutely out of this world [and] one of a kind.

Pep talk or pet rock

Christina, what is going through your head while you're watching the Bake Squad rush around making their creations?

Tosi: That's the hardest part for me. As a baker first and foremost, you want to get in there and you want to get involved and you want to help. But [for] these four incredible bakers, this is their vision, and they are driving the bus. I'm both thinking, "What can I do to support?" and "What do they need?" Because sometimes what they need is not what they actually think they need. They think they need hands, but what they really need is a pep talk, or they need to be pushed or they need to pivot.

It's never the same thought, baker to baker or challenge to challenge, but it's, "How do I show up for each of these incredible bakers whom I am such a big fan of, all for the good of these incredible humans that are doing such great things in the world that we are trying to show up for as a squad?" In every challenge, it's something different.

Rull: Sometimes, the only thing you need is a pet rock. [Holds up a small rock with a face on it]

Tosi: This is from one of our episodes. Literally, Christophe adopted a pet rock, and she talked him through some hard times.

Rull: Thank you, Sandy.

Prides and challanges

Christophe, what was one of the most challenging creations you worked on this season?

Rull: Well, [the] top two ... The first one would be the giant Rubik's cube out of sugar. It was definitely the giant Rubik's cube when things started to collapse, and I [didn't] have too much time to react. I was like, "Okay, what are we doing now?" Again, you have to come up with a solution, because you want to present something, and you want something nice to present to the guest. As of today, actually, if I didn't have [my pet rock] Sandy that day ... She saved my life on that episode.

Do you have one creation that you're the proudest of?

Rull: Yes, I have a couple, actually. One is the croquembouche — it's truly a representation of where I'm coming from as a pastry chef and all the background and where all pastries started. The croquembouche is one celebration cake that we are doing for a wedding. Actually, I did one for my nephew for his baptism. That one is definitely something that I really like.

Also, the crib for the baby coming up ... The emotion that we are able to create through our pastries, that's why we keep doing it. When you have a guest in front of you looking at your display and he's tearing up or she's tearing up, you know you did a great job. No matter what the outcome, or the backstory is whatever it is, that's what counts — the emotion that you can get out of those beautiful people.

Would you say that is one of the more rewarding parts of the show?

Rull: Yes, and this is the reason why I accepted the first call. Pretty much, we are able to show the rest of the world what we are doing on a daily basis in our real job. That's what we have been doing for so many years. I've been a pastry chef for 20 years, and every year we have celebrations, weddings, anniversaries.

That's what we do every day — to a higher level, because we have to go bigger and bigger. But the idea is still here. We are still doing our passion, and nothing is fake. It's truly us and the representation of each of our personalities.

Bringing exactly what was needed

Christina, how did you initially decide whom you wanted to bring in for the Bake Squad?

Tosi: It's such a good question. I knew I wanted the squad to represent dessert and pastry across a variety of different mediums. I probably self-identify most as a baker, having started Milk Bar, but before that, working in chocolate, working in cakes, working in sugar ... There are so many different mediums of dessert that don't get a spotlight or that don't get enough of a spotlight.

Thinking about the squad, it was both about mediums and about humans. Who are the people that I know are going to embody this [and do] whatever it takes to show up for these people that are celebrating these moments in life, and do so both with a passion and a push to not play it safe? Then [they] are also going to do it with a sense of humor, because when you are up against challenge after challenge, and you are trying to make something that's never existed before [and bring] it to life in such a time crunch, you have to have a sense of humor to it.

You both have to be here for the challenge and hold yourself to that high standard, but also appreciate and acknowledge that you're part of a team. Even though you're challenging one another to better your best, who is going to be a part of this squad that feels like family? Who do you want to be in the trenches with challenge after challenge, week after week, when you're trying to show up for these incredible people and their celebrations? 

It was both a challenge and also really easy, because you think about Christophe and you think about Gonzo [Jimenez] and Maya-Camille [Broussard] and Ashley [Holt], and it feels like it's always existed, quite frankly. Watching the four of them at the beginning of a day before someone comes in, listening, watching them goof off, and then watching them challenge one another in the kitchen — that's the magic of it.

Season 2 of "Bake Squad" premieres on Netflix on January 20, 2022.

This interview has been edited for clarity.