Justin Willman talks magic and working on Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars”

Justin Willman is the host of Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars”.  His first passion is magic and currently has a web-series on The Nerdist Channel called “Magic Meltdown” and also has an on-going “Tricked Out Tour”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Justin about working on “Cupcake Wars” and get some cool behind-the-scenes stories.

Mike Gencarelli: What do you enjoy most about hosting “Cupcake Wars”?
Justin Willman: I love being a part of the show since it has such a wide fan base. Of course there are the adults that love watching “Cupcake Wars”. It is one of those few shows that has a broad family appeal that parents can watch with their kids since it has a little something for everybody. I really like broad appeal and being able to expand my own fanbase to a really wide one.

MG: How did this opportunity come up for you work on this show?
JW: I was a correspondent on “The Rachel Ray Show” for a couple of years, which was my first regular hosting gig. Through that I was exposed the culinary world. I would cover different food events for her. I never had any connection between the food world before and between you and me…I can’t cook [laughs]. Through that I was able to get into the world and when this audition came along, I was in the right place at the right time.

MG: You seem to have a lot of fun on the show; any cool behind-the-scenes stories?
JW: Let me think here. The show is very dramatic but you can see at times we are having a lot of fun and we really do. I get to hang out with Florian and Candace all day. They are sitting all day, actually they sit and I am standing while they bake. We got to become really close friends and have a lot of fun. I think the one behind-the-scenes nugget that I can give you is that Florian is not intimidating in person as he is on the show. He takes cupcakes very seriously but he is just a big teddy bear.

MG: Did you wear the kilt the whole episode during the Disney/Pixar “Brave” episode?
JW: The whole time! It was one of the most comfortable outfits. I was able to move around very freely. The kilt had a little built in pocket in the front, which was perfect for my phone. When we weren’t rolling I was able to catch up on emails and Angry Birds.

MG: You get to eat any of the cupcakes?
JW: One of my most commonly asked questions is “Do I get to eat the cupcakes”. I don’t on camera. But Candace will rarely finish her own cupcake. usually I get to eat whatever she doesn’t eat. If it is a great cupcake, I have to try it but if it is horrible sometimes I have to try that also just to see.

MG: When can we expect some new episodes of “Cupcake Wars”?
JW: We should be airing news episodes currently every Sunday. Then are shooting now for our seventh season with 13 more episodes coming this Fall!

MG: Tell us about your new series “Magic Meltdown”?
JW: Obviously I have been doing magic since I was 12. It is my first passion and it is what I love doing most. The Nerdist channel, which hosts “Magic Meltdown”, gave me this chance to do this street magic series with a comedic edge to it. It was a chance to finally put out my own brand of comedy magic. It has been great. We have done 6 episodes so far out of 15. New episodes air every Friday.

MG: Tell us about your on-going “Tricked Out Tour”?
JW: Honestly, there is nothing that makes me happier than performing on stage for a live audience. This Fall, I have a couple of tour stops. Next year, I am putting together a whole theater tour, hopefully all over the country. Coming to a theater near you! I hope all the “Cupcake Wars” fans come out and get a chance to meet me in person.

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