Al and Lia\"s last competition cake, a red pagoda in the format of a sculpture they spotted at the Venetian in ras Vegas

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The amazing roulette cake at the finals clock party at Yacovelli\"s--made by Wedding Wonderland (including Al).

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In last night\"s season finale of TLC\"s “Next great Baker,” that came down to the meatheads, the hotties and also the St. Louisans.

The meatheads, as several of their competitors literally described them, were the musclebound brand-new Jersey team, Manny and also Al. The hotties were Utahns of Hawaiian lower Kai and Rox. And also the St. Louisans (not as easily stereotyped) were Al Watson and Lia Weber.

Watson functions at Florissant\"s Wedding Wonderland. Weber, a protege the Cupcake wars champ and also culinary prof Casey Shiller, operated with Watson for 4 years at the very same bakery. She is currently the pastry chef at Florissant\"s Hendel\"s industry Cafe. (Her budding, one-woman baking business is dubbed Made by Lia.)

For the previous several months, their adventures and also misadventures on the present have riveted St. Louisans, who have actually gathered because that weekly watch parties in ~ both Hendel\"s and at Yacovelli\"s Italian restaurant, which shares a parking lot v Wedding Wonderland.

A couple of weeks ago, Al and also Lia\"s “gravity-defying” cake (built in concert v the Jersey boys) failed to defy gravity, toppling ~ above the floor throughout the vital transfer come the evaluate table. It was a heart-stopping reality-TV moment. The St. Louisans made it through a number of tense remove challenges, producing cakes both massive and also intricate follow me the way.

On Tuesday night\"s season finale, our guy and gal confronted a challenging three-part, seven-hour difficulty to whittle under the field from three teams to two. They to be tasked with constructing a molded-chocolate centerpiece, the popular giant-cupcake cake, plus a piped, three-tier cake. Al and Lia make a vanilla cupcake-cake through berry jam filling and strawberry buttercream icing and also two various other handsome desserts. Every three groups did great job, yet the Utah team erred in your cupcake-cake batter: it come out “rubbery,” together one judge put it. They likewise couldn\"t pipe icing onto your three-tier cake attractively. (How walk a team with these weaknesses manage to come so much in this type of catholic dessert competition?)

Al and also Lia won, and also headed to las vegas for the final showdown versus elimination-challenge winners Manny and Al.

The pre-finals dinner offered a very entertaining round of jawing between Lia and also Manny. He dubbed her work-related boring, and also she reminded him the his work sometimes sucked. It was the kind of smack-talk the is the backbone of reality-TV.

The final challenge was to do a cake to be displayed in the home window of Carlo\"s Bakery\"s new outpost at the Venetian hotel and also casino, for the bakery\"s very an initial week the business. Al and Lia developed a towering red Japanese pagoda and a tree branch lined through cherry blossoms; it was a strange serene an option for a bakery owned by NGB judge Buddy “Stripper Cake” Valastro, however then again, they reportedly sculpted an item they saw on the Venetian property. Al\"s work with buttercream to be praised together so “clean” that looked like fondant. It was a gorgeous cake.

Al and Manny had difficulties making your cake symmetry and, ominously, wound up starting over in the center of the contest. Their last cake was a multi-tiered abomination of garish color combinations (again). There was simply no method they can be permitted to victory the entirety enchilada v that cake – and also they didn\"t.

The announcement that our children in blue were the winners was greeted v roars of euphoria in ~ Yacovelli\"s. Amidst the cheering, Al took turn off his blue “Next great Baker” chef\"s smock and put top top a white one that review “Carlo\"s Bakery.” The prizes for the show\"s win pair encompass jobs managing the vegas bakery because that Valastro (and dividing $100,000).

The weekly gatherings at Yacovelli\"s have actually been a blast. ~ above Tuesday night the banquet room was packed with about 700 people, plenty of of castle in blue “#BlueNGB” shirts make to assistance Al and also Lia. A huge cake, reflective the the finale in Vegas, resembled a roulette wheel and betting board. (It to be delicious.) throughout the show\"s 90-minute season-ender, the crowd was hushed throughout the it is too dirty moments, roared together Al and also Lia winner each challenge, and jeered their competition.

At Hendel\"s, around 1,000 civilization did the same for their gal Lia at an outdoor block party. The present was projected onto a gigantic inflatable screen as revelers ate at tables set up in the street.

In the end, the pair native St. Louis additionally one another well sufficient to best nine other pairs. Lia is classically trained, doggedly competitive and also occasionally cry on Al\"s shoulder. Al is more taciturn, other than for the strange talkativeness the exhibits under stress. (Lia called him “Chatty Cathy” at one point.) Their initiatives were punctuated by occasional bickering, but in one on-camera interview, they known that it\"s only natural for civilization in such close quarters.

At Al\"s clock party, Jack Yacovelli announced a Sept. 3 thank-you party because that Wedding Wonderland and also Al v a DJ, food, drinks, and NGB trivia v prizes. Incredibly, Yacovelli\"s celebrates its 95th anniversary this year. 4 generations of the same family members have operation the restaurant.

Watson said he has actually not yet determined whether he will relocate to las vegas to aid manage Carlo\"s. He\"s quiet savoring his victory, and not yet committing to his next move.

Ditto, said Weber.

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“I to be excited and also nervous around meeting through Buddy to see what he needs to offer,” she said. “He hasn’t been allowed to speak to us until the last episode aired, for this reason we’re just going to acquire into that. I’m not sure around leaving St. Louis, due to the fact that I have people I love here. I have actually my family, and I just gained engaged. If ns decide not to work-related in las Vegas, I’ll take my $50,000 and use it to open a bakery here.”

Al and Lia will be featured in an write-up in the concern of People magazine the comes out this Friday.