Jacques Torres Reveals The Biggest Mistakes Bakers Make On Nailed It! - Exclusive

You only need to watch one episode of Netflix's popular baking competition Nailed It! to understand the appeal. It's a nightmare scenario for the competing bakers, throwing around cake batter, sugar, and sprinkles in a wildly desperate bid for $10,000 — but for all of us viewers, it's a spectacle of absurd dessert creations we can't tear our eyes away from. 

Of course, sometimes it can be tough to watch the bakers struggle, knowing they are on the road to an epic fail. It's undoubtedly even more tough when you're a world-renowned pastry chef who has to taste and judge those outlandish attempts at sugary success. But that's the job description for Nailed It! judge Jacques Torres. "It's funny because, to me, as a chef being in my seat and looking at them, I can see right away when they start messing up... [I] say 'Oh my God what are they doing again?'" In an exclusive interview with Mashed, Torres revealed some of the biggest mistakes he sees bakers make while competing on Nailed It!, while all he can do is sit back, and watch the chaos unfold.

Jacques Torres says time management is always a major issue

Like most culinary competitions out there, the bakers on Nailed It! don't just have to recreate complex confectionary masterpieces — they have to do it within a strict time frame. That of course means time management is crucial, and unfortunately, it's one of the biggest issues Jacques Torres sees when judging the show. He says most of the time the bakers "don't save enough time for the creation," and the ensuing catastrophe goes something like this: "They start slow. And then they realize that they have 15 minutes left and they're just throwing things together — color, cakes, buttercream, fondant, whatever they find in the pantry. They put everything together, and then you nailed it. And it's like 'Oh my God you did anything except nailing it.'"

Because of the timing issues, Torres says he ends up seeing "a lot of hot cake," as the bakers don't have time to let it cool before they start decorating. What Torres wants to see the bakers do instead is "put those cakes in the oven as fast as you can," advising, "they need to cool down. Otherwise, when you put buttercream on top of a hot cake, it becomes a hot mess." And then what happens? "What do you expect," offers Torres. "Things collapse... the buttercream sinks into the cake. The cake becomes very heavy. And then they're going to give us that to eat."

The details matter if bakers want to nail it

When it comes to the challenges bakers face on Nailed It!, it's all about the details — from the structural elements to consider, to the intricate decorations. That only means one thing: lots of opportunities to mess up along the way. And that's exactly what the bakers do, according to judge Jacques Torres.

A cardinal rule of baking is to measure ingredients precisely (via Bake), yet Torres says this rule has basically gone out the window in the Nailed It! kitchen. "They never measure things," Torres says, which leads to all kinds of problems with their final creations. Everything from "wet cakes, wet buttercream, fondant that is too thick... sometimes they put too much flavoring." And speaking of flavoring, that's one of the worst things to try and eyeball. According to Torres, "flavoring is something that a couple of extra drops can make it almost inedible. And when you see how they measure things, oh my God, they don't really care. They just put a lot of it... and then for the next two days we have this flavor in our mouth."

The good news, at least, is that these simple mistakes lead to hilarious outcomes, and you can see them all on the newest season of Nailed It!, now streaming on Netflix.