The 1980’s. I was working in Hollywood at a place on Melrose and Vine. About 3 blocks from Paramount Studios. Cable shows were new and many being taped on the lot. A few times a stage hand (Bill) kept coming into the bakery asking for food for the prop department. The sitcom show “It’s A Living” was going into production and the story took place in a restaurant. Bill came in asking me how to create ice cream that would not melt under the hot lights and tasted great. Plus, it had to be chocolate with texture in it. I came up with using raw cookie dough. And started producing about 3 different flavors for the show. Then I was hired to transform their glass cake case. All the cakes had to look real and stand up for a season. I made Styrofoam dummies and added chocolate sprinkles and maraschino cherries that I replaced for the next season.. The show lasted 2 years, then was picked up for syndication so they had to produce enough episodes to reach the magic number of 100. Then a spin-off of Dynasty. The Colby’s. It also too lasted two seasons. They ate more than the Dynasty show. Every show seemed to need food. I created all edible foods that had to last and taste great. My first Duck Al l‘Orange was such a hit that the producers flipped a coin as to got to take it home after. Another show.. Brothers it was a new comedy on this new cable thing. Lots of foods for that show.. Now brings me to ABC.
I was asked to create a simple yet elegant wedding cake 4-tier and a smaller carrot cake. The wedding cake. bottom layer edible. Had to look white on camera. So we did test colors of the icing being yellow as it deflects the lights and make it look white. This was for a new TV show they hoped would be picked up called Golden Girls. It was shot at Sunset Gower stages, a group of 3 older ladies with their live in male cook. Then.. about 12 months later, I was asked to create a cheesecake for the same show. It was getting picked up by the network. For the run of the show I would create 7 cheesecakes for the Friday night taping. They moved production to the stages very close to Paramount (Ren-Mar). I would box up 7 cheesecakes by 4pm.. all identical. Every season the cakes changed, Season one: plain, season two.. whipped cream trim, season three berry topping and so on..
This past week.. I have heard from so many people regarding my cheesecakes from the show.. All the way from Norway in fact. I have written three cheesecake cookbooks, with one in Italian. But I forgot to include the Golden Girls Cheesecake. A new café is opening in New York, highlighting Golden Girls. I contacted them regarding the original cheesecake recipe and they wanted nothing to do with it really. (I had not even talked compensation yet). Two weeks ago, I was the guest speaker at the current owner of the apartment that Mae West lived in for years. Only a few blocks from where Golden Girls was shot. I took a cheesecake.
Here is the recipe for you to take or share with a group of your friends at night! PS: My next book on cheesecakes will include this recipe and it will be out in 2018.