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Food TV


Recipe to Riches reviewed: Episode 2, Rock n’ Peach Bliss Cheesecake

RECIPE TO RICHESSeason 1 | Episode 2

Two episodes into the Food Network Canada’s new televised PC product development lab, it’s starting to sink in that things are going to be pretty much the same each week. Without a stable-but-narrowing set of contestants, Recipe to Riches repeats the same micro-narrative without any larger inter-episode story arcs. In fact, we sort of feel bad for the host, former football player and Bachelor star Jesse Palmer, who seems cursed to the same, somewhat stiff lines week after week. Still, the Cake challenge seemed to bring a slightly higher level of competition than the inaugural Sweet Puddings and Pies go-round. Our episode recap and tasting panel, after the jump.


If the lesson from last week was that you can’t beat a good story (like Glo McNeill’s post-war lemons), then this episode showed us—as if we needed any reminder—that the camera loves a looker. The looker in question, and the winner, was Jacqui Keseluk, your everyday tattooed rocker chick-cum-baking obsessive from Fall River, Nova Scotia. (Tony Chapman, the judge who specializes in the marketing side of things, could barely contain himself on first meeting: “I think that you are an unbelievable brand. You are going to be a superstar and we want to be part of making that happen!” He later worried about how the tattoos might play in the suburbs.) First to go was Crystal Peach of Kentville, Nova Scotia whose sumptuous looking Orange Chocolate Silk Cake lost some of its richness when she tried to scale it up to 20 portions (in her favour, we liked the way she bossed her professional helpers around in the kitchen). Calgary’s Melissa Lam’s Banana Chocolate Wow Cake (which became a cupcake) looked pretty tasty, and had a good back story (she’d invented it for her father after he had a stroke), but suffered from a confused concept. For her marketing challenge, she decided to target “today’s women, who can have their cake and eat it too.” That somehow meant showing up at Flirty Girl Fitness in King West dressed in little girl pink with some calorie-intensive cupcakes. Sadly for her, she didn’t stand a chance next to Keseluk and her graham-cracker crusted, peach- and brandy-bedecked cheesecake. When she emerged in a leopard-print tank top clutching a pinup poster of herself, the normally eloquent Galen Weston Jr. was left fumbling on his words.

Tasting Panel

That same leopard print was in full force on the Rock n’ Peach Bliss Cheesecake box, this time peeking out from under Keseluk’s dress (she’s also cradling a whisk like a guitar, naturally). Once again, our tasting panel was less than impressed, and once again, we had to wonder whether the mass-production and freezing did the cake any favours (this week’s ingredient count: 38). We followed the instructions for a two-hour thaw, and were rewarded with some fresh freezer burn (admittedly the box had been in the freezer the better part of a week). We let it thaw some more. It was generally agreed that peaches don’t seem to freeze too well, and that there was simply too much crust, although the cheesecake part of the dessert wasn’t bad. “PC makes good frozen cheesecake,” one staffer said. “Why would you buy this one?” A colleague was quick to reply: “The girl on the box.” Yet another summarized things nicely: “if that cake is rock ’n’ roll, then it’s a bit like an ’80s hair band—there might be talent under all the glittery makeup, leather pants, and bouffant wigs, but you’re so distracted by all the accoutrements you can’t really tell.” The verdict: keep shopping. Check out the cheesecake in our box-to-plate gallery »

Next week on Recipe to Riches: we take a break from the sweets with the Appetizer challenge, with Montreal’s Sara Bradeen, Riverview, New Brunswick’s John Grass and the GTA’s first representative, Diana Petrini of Woodbridge.

(Images: Jacqui Keseluk and Multi-Layered Peach Cake, Food Network Canada; tasting photos, Andrew D’Cruz)

  • Stephanie Joseph

    hey stop the slamming of this show….it is the ONLY ONE on the air working to tell CANADIAN food stories!!! And how nice that Loblawa is putting their money where our mouths are!!! Good on ya Food Net and Loblaw!

  • Tina

    The format of this show does leave A LOT to be desired, although a genius marketing ploy. I thought Jacqui was as unique as the spelling of her name- not very. I wish they had made it into a fresh cheesecake product. Why frozen?? They really changed her inital recipe – no sponge cake. That’s a huge difference if you ask me. I’ll still give it a go.

  • mattagascar

    Train 48 told Canadian stories as well, and it also sucked. Bad TV is bad TV.

  • DL

    I was going to head to Loblaws today and buy this cake, but after seeing what it ACTUALLY looks like, I’m having second thoughts. I read two reviews online and they both said the said thing – it wasn’t the same cake on the show, the recipe was changed drastically and it tasted like boring frozen cheesecake. Sad. I wish I could actually taste Jaquis cheesecake!

  • knowitall

    you can actually go to the food network website where they are posting the original recipes and try making it yourself! i saw on the recipe to riches facebook group that a guest blogger tried it and said it was easy – although the pictures didn’t look exactly like jacqui’s either.

    and to me, there does look like there’s some sponge cake along the bottom of the cake in the pictures above. This is a fun idea and I will definitely be trying all the products!!!

  • Helena

    the cake is nothing I expected!Hard over sweet crust not enough cheese cake! No flavor of peaches! Would not buy it again!

  • jeff316

    The show is not terrible but it’s bland, predictable and 30 minutes too long.

    Galen and the crew were less interested in her cheesecake than they were in her tattoos, leopard print and Vulcan haircut. Obviously no one can know without tasting, but she seemed to have the least tasty cake of the three and the one that is least suited to mass production.

    That being said, the tension between product tastiness and marketability is probably realistic, particularly for a company like Loblaws.

    This show illustrates that if required to choose, the food service industry is going to choose marketability over tastiness each time.

  • Jessica

    I was really looking forward to this cake when I saw the episode I ran out to my local grocery store and bought the cake right away. Although I am glad that I got to try it, I will not be buying it again, and I am now worried about buying the upcoming Recipe to Riches products.
    It looked nothing like what it did on T.V. and I can only assume it tastes nothing like the homemade version would taste. I like it, but it really is only a store bought frozen cheesecake.

    Maybe when they get into the other food areas and not desserts, they might come out a little better when mass produced.

  • Kate

    The rock’n peach bliss cheesecake enticed me on the last episode so I decided to pick one up, and it was delicious. For all those who say that it tastes like a frozen cheesecake…well done! It is a frozen dessert. If you want homemade make it yourself. I am not a baker, I love to cook but desserts are definitely not my forte. I buy my desserts, and my go to has always been the PC red velvet cheesecake, but after tasting the peach bliss it is a toss up. I am really disappointed with the reviews of this cake, I think they are unfair. I believe that it should be quite obvious to any intelligent viewer that any one of our go to meals would taste differently if they had to be mass produced and keep any kind of shelf or freezer life. No one opens a box of Oreo’s and expects them to taste like a warm and chewy cookie right out of the oven. In summation, I believe this cake is a great ending to any meal, and I am thoroughly excited to try the grenade appetizers from the next episode.

  • K

    I was so pumped to buy this after the show. However I did not buy it upon learning that it was transformed into a cheesecake. I want the original sponge cake as seen on the show!

  • Erin

    After trying the product this week, I decided it was chosen for the creator’s tats, hair and clothing. They didn’t choose it for the taste of the dessert, once frozen. The first two winners had desserts that do not translate well in mass production, in my opinion anyway.

  • Mary Br

    My daughter and I watched the show and thought that the cake was much more appealing than the cupcake. I picked up the peach cake at Loblaws last week and we enjoyed it. Not too sweet and very light. Although the cheesecake was good I don’t eat alot of dairy so I would have prefered more sponge cake. Impressed with the packaging but felt it was over priced. Makes a nice light frozen dessert. I would like to try the original recipe. Good Luck Jacqui hope you do well.

  • Vicki

    Was OK, but wasn’t the sponge cake I was expecting..

  • Lisa Levac

    I am very disappointed that the cake being sold in the grocery store is NOT the cake that the contestant presented on the show! What they are selling is a cheesecake with peaches on top, when the winning cake was a multi-layer peach cake – white cake, peaches, cheesecake. I bought the lemon pudding cakes, and the chicken grenades, but I did not buy the “rockin peach cheesecake” because it was not the product marketed on the show.

  • J Coopman

    We just had this dessert for dinner and it was SO good. My husband said it was the best store bought cheesecake he has had. The flavours were lovely and the price was very reasonable. I will not hesitate to purchase it again.

  • Amanda

    The deserts aren’t fairing well. I won’t be buying this again.

  • Shawn

    Wow another cheesecake…not overly enthused about another twist on a product that is already over rated and totally lost the sponge was more like wet paper towel

  • Margot

    I found this was terrible and will not purchase it again.
    The cake we had the peaches sauce tasted burnt. Very dissapointed.

  • rughooker

    Mine looked nothing like the pictures you are showing and where was the cheesecake??????

  • steve

    cardboard crust, dry, boring, tasteless, peaches?
    load of junk
    would not buy again

  • michael from Vancouver

    just ate this “sponge/cheesecake” and it was not only disgusting it was a complete waste of production and if the judges vote yes to that i don’t wish to try any further food items. YUCK YUCK YUCK nice design on the packaging i will give them that but all in all FALSE ADVERTISING