Even when there are no cakes baking in the oven, Melody Velez-Ortega’s home office and bakery is permeated with a delectable and sweet, batter-like aroma on Laconia Avenue in Williamsbridge.
Naturally, that’s expected when you’re the go-to baker for celebrities like Fat Joe and Al Roker along with many other A-listers.
This Monday, February 11 though, Melody will be the one in the spotlight, appearing on Food Network’s newest competitive show, ‘Winner Cakes All.’
Her introduction to baking is an unorthodox one; it began a decade ago when Melody decided not to pursue a career in forensic psychology in the NYPD.
“I had no schooling whatsoever for baking,” Melody said. “I love doing anything creative from painting to writing poetry and that’s why baking came so naturally to me,” the cake boss added.
Even though she’s technically not a forensic psychologist, Melody’s training definitely plays a role in her new, tasty discipline at MDV Custom Cakes.
“I’ve had clients at the table for three hours just talking about their lives and opening up about everything, I love to listen and hear stories I’m like a cake therapist,” Melody joked.
Some of her therapeutic efforts come in the form of guiding her clients into improving their ideas for cake design.
One client asked for a heart-shaped cake for her husband who was recovering from his heart surgery, to which Melody said “No, we’re not going to just do a regular Valentine’s Day heart, we are going to create an anatomically correct heart.”
Needless to say it was quite the cathartic moment for Melody and her client when the cake was ready for pickup.
She recently designed a cake that replicated Yoda of Star Wars and another that was an amazing salute to Hip Hop. The ingredients she uses are just as creative, like her guava cream cheese filling.
That’s the kind of spirit and energy that rocketed Melody into the national spotlight on ‘Winner Cakes All.’
Unfortunately, Food Network requires Melody to keep much of the shows details in the oven prior to the show’s airing.
However, she was at liberty to mention that the show was filmed at a vineyard outside of Los Angeles, four teams will be competing, she is the only competitor from New York, and there is a $10,000 prize up for grabs.
Another aspect of her reality show experience that she was free to discuss was, without any prior knowledge, everyone on the set just seemed to somehow know that she was from the Bronx.
“I can’t describe it, even if I tried. They all just knew I was from the Bronx,” she joked, mentioning it must have been her ‘Bronx charm’ that gave her away.
Her appearance on Food Network is just the icing on the cake for Melody’s other upcoming projects. She’s working on developing her own non-profit organization related to trauma and therapy along with some other, very exciting campaigns.
Catch Melody’s episode of ‘Winner Cakes All’ on Food Network at 10 p.m. this Monday. Order one of her marvelous cakes at www.mdvcc.com