Madison bakers to compete on Netflix’s Sugar Rush Christmas

Local caterer Dustin Barman’s cooking show debut is this Friday on Netflix.
Dbar bakery on Sugar Rush christmas
Photo courtesy of Dustin Barman
Baker Dustin Barman kicks it up a notch on Netflix's Sugar Rush Christmas.

Netflix has been pumping out iconic shows all year long — “Tiger King,” “Emily in Paris,” “Love is Blind” — but Friday, Madisonians will get to watch local baker Dustin Barman and his partner Tyler on the second season of the original show “Sugar Rush Christmas.”

The original “Sugar Rush” first premiered in 2018 and is now on its third season. The holiday edition of the baking show premiered on the red screen last year and is among the food TV specials that return during the holiday season. Bakers and confectioners from across the country gather and compete in three distinct rounds — cupcakes, confections and cakes — to determine who makes the most delicious and beautiful jolly treats.

The first season entailed its fair share of mishaps and dessert miracles, and there is no doubt that the next will be full of molding chocolate misfortunes and frosting freak-outs.

So how in the world did Netflix pick our local home kitchen caterer D Bar Bakery to compete on the show this year?

“I actually received an email from a recruiter at first,” Barman says. From there, the duo had a series of Skype interviews, wooed the show’s culinary director and eventually received the good news that they made it to the final casting.

As a home baker, Barman was a tad worried about the confections round, and was unsure of how the bakes would actually go with all the additional pressure.

“The biggest surprise, and this sounds silly, was how fast time goes when there is a huge clock counting down in front of you,” he says. “I do this stuff everyday, and as soon as that clock started, it felt like I had never looked at a recipe before in my life.”

But have no fear (and also no spoilers) — Barman brought some traditional Wisco flair to the first round with some state-inspired flavors.

And to answer your dying question, dessert god Adriano Zumbo was indeed a very kind dude.

“As are the rest of the judges! It was funny, during one of our rounds Adriano was actually walking around a little and stopped by to ask if he could taste one of the batters,” Barman says. “Of course we said yes, and he said, ‘that’s really good!’ … That’s crazy.”

Barman grew up watching his mother and aunts bake in the kitchen, so it seems pretty fitting that he competed on a Christmas baking show as a grown-up. Regardless of your takeout habits, cooking and baking during celebrations is quintessential, and has been connecting families for as long as holidays have existed.

“Seeing how happy people become when they’re eating something you made is a great feeling,” Barman says.

Folks across the globe will be able to harness that same joy just watching DBar Bakery through the screen. Lucky for Madisonians, we can order s’mores bars, fruit pizzas and cannoli cheesecake whenever we want as DBar Bakery takes custom orders.

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