'Sweet Genius' Ron Ben Israel: 'People are becoming very particular' on Food Network

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Zap2it: You're the judge on "Sweet Genius" but do you devise the challenges?

Ron Ben-Israel: It is a group effort. It would be impossible for one person. I thrive working in a group. There are many, many discussions before the show. We sit as a community and discuss it. In the second season, because we created a following, which is so nice and we have a very busy, active Facebook page, I have asked the audience and the viewers to give us ideas. And they have given us hundreds of suggestions.

Zap2it : What are some that you used?

Ron Ben-Israel: Somebody suggested a musical theme. People were very creative. What they want to see and what they want to taste. Now people are becoming very particular. Now they want to see desserts for diabetics and gluten-free. And people are asking if they could go on the show, which I would encourage them to apply.

Zap2it: What was new this season?

Ron Ben-Israel: We have some new toys this season. It hasn't been aired yet. Some gadgets that any pastry chef would kill to have. We actually have a smoker. People don't think about desserts and smoke, but think about it: Chefs now like to use smoked paprika. You can run the smoke through sugar and get the same quality, almost woodsy and musky. I brought this apparatus, but I did not know what people would make of it, and they took risks, and also I think that the style of inspiration is catching on, and people come on the show knowing that I expect them to be creative visually.
Photo/Video credit: NewsCom
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