Reality TV: “DC Cupcakes” Premiere

Photo courtesy of

courtesy of ‘Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie’

Last night’s preview party for “DC Cupcakes” was filled with pink boxes, votive candles, delicious mini cupcakes, champagne and a fantastic look out at the trials, tribulations and success of locally owned and operated Georgetown Cupcake.

The first episode of the six-part series premieres this Friday at 10pm on TLC and opens on Valentine’s Day, the busiest day of the year, where the cupcakery must meet a demand increase of 500% (the shop usually sells 5,000 cupcakes a day, so we’re talking 25,000 cupcakes here,) AND tackle a last minute challenge for a good cause. Like every small business, and reality TV show, there are bumps in the road, conflicts, mishaps, lovable characters (look for comic relief from head baker Andrew and shop staffer Yasmin) and late nights. Also, be prepared for a blast from the past, as the episode contains Snopocalyspe covered streetscapes. SnOMG!

While some might argued that the cupcake craze has jumped the shark, there’s something sweet (pun intended,) charming and inspirational about two sisters quitting their finance and fashion industry jobs to join forces and simply bake cupcakes. According to co-owner Sophie LaMontagne, the two sisters originally defined success as “making the rent and baking with their mom at their side.” LaMontagne exuberantly added “I get to come to work in sweatpants and make cupcakes!” Got to admit that sure beats pantyhose.

Photo courtesy of
‘DC Cupcakes: Sisters Sophie & Katherine’
courtesy of ‘rebeccaejohnson’

When I asked the two sisters about filming in DC, they had only praises for their customers and DC residents. There was “lots of excitement and a great reaction to filming” said co-owner and Sophie’s sister, Katherine Kallinis, “We really feel proud to be a small business in DC and we hope our success brings more small businesses to DC.” The sisters also noted that DCites seem really proud of Georgetown Cupcake. Proud enough to include it in their list of locally bred, small businesses like Five Guys, Ben’s Chili Bowl, etc.

During the beginning few days of filming, the cast found it difficult to run the M Street shop while allowing the film crew to get the right shots for the series. Although filming may have made a few customers wait a little longer than normal, everyone was understanding and non-complaining. However, Producer Doug from Big Fish in Bethesda, MD told me that while the crew loved filming in Georgetown and loved all the free cupcakes, logistics were a complete nightmare. Apparently, parking tickets and tow jobs were rampant.

Although prior to last night’s preview neither sister had seen an episode of the series, they told me there would be plenty of DC centric challenges and locales, including episodes featuring the DCFD, non-profits and local organizations. The show is set in both  the original shop, now turned factory on Potomac Street, NW and the cafe-styled M Street location. Unfortunately, the Bethesda location does not make a showing. Sorry MD, but the title of the show is “DC Cupcakes.”

After watching the first episode, I came away with two key takeaways. One, the owners and staff of Georgetown Cupcake take immense pride in their end product. They will not let a single cupcake out of the factory, unless it meets their high quality standards. Even if it means throwing out entire batches, they’re focused on providing the best product out there, and I have to say their end product shows that dedication.  Two, these two sisters truly love what they’re doing. Yes, they take on orders that are semi-impossible. Yes, there are long, late nights. Yes, their mom may occasionally mess up the ovens, creating additional work. But at the end of the day, after the conflicts, the cocoa powder explosions, the red velvet insanity, they love what they do and they love the city they’re doing it in.

Photo courtesy of
‘DC Cupcakes Napkin’
courtesy of ‘rebeccaejohnson’

Rebecca Johnson

A born and bred New Yorker, Rebecca made the big trip “down south” to DC in 2006 and hasn’t looked back. She spends her days strategizing/planning/ideating how interactive products can help her clients and change the world. In her free time, she explores DC’s ever expanding bar, restaurant and small business scene, plays a crap ton of soccer, attends concerts that contribute to her sleep deprivation and embarks on local adventures. Read why Rebecca loves DC or follow her on twitter.

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11 thoughts on “Reality TV: “DC Cupcakes” Premiere

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  3. @Kim I can only speak for the first episode, and I can say there wasn’t any “idiocy” from my POV.

  4. So now we have a reality show about a bakery? Really? Are you kidding me?

    Apparently there’s no shortage of appetite for “reality” shows about ANYTHING provided they include some element of real/scripted drama and/or cattiness. We truly are very simple people.

  5. Pingback: Free Cupcake Madness » We Love DC

  6. I am astounded that with all the hygiene rules in the US relating to food handling and preparation, none of these reality TV shows have people working in the kitchen covering their hair and protecting their beard. Where there is food processing involved: Cake Boss, Ultimate Cake-off, Iron Chef, etc. cooks should have their head covered.

    Worst of all, the ladies from DC Cupcakes, give new meaning to messy hairdos. It’s one thing to want to look natural but to have your hair all over your face and Katherine’s hair looks like a permanent bad hair day.

    Please, let’s make it a bit more realistic. Put their hair in a proper headband with a kerchief or hairnet.


  7. I’ve watched a couple of episodes….not too bad. I just watched the “wedding recipe” episode…OMG! If you ask me a lot of that episode was scripted and not reality. Camera angles give this fact away. The kid who signed for the strawberries…wow some bad acting. Sophie’s reaction? Worse acting. I’m done. Same thing happened for me with Cake Boss although his ego was a big reason I stopped watching. Ok, I’m not ignorant, I realize that isn’t uncommon, but at least it is usually a little more difficult to notice. Just my opinion.

  8. I just watched the “Wedding Recipe” episode as well. This might be the worst reality TV show that I have ever seen. Everything was scripted! The sisters apparently took a nap during the middle of the night while making the wedding cupcakes and woke up at “3 am” ….yet you could see by looking out the window tha it was clearly daylight out. If you are going to script a show…you should get good actors. The sisters are about the WORST actors I have ever seen.

  9. I won’t watch this show ever again. So scripted! And if it is not scripted, then the brunette sister can stop saying “mommy”. Maybe Mommy could just get out of the way and Sophie could stop being such a bitch. Painful to watch.

  10. I’m watching the show now and just wanted to go online to see if anyone else (because everyone I know does not watch the show yet) thinks the show is almost completely contrived or was it just me. They need to loosen up some or take some acting lessons or get better writers or better yet just film what really goes on at the shop. It is supposed to be a “reality” show.
    and also “amen” to Mary Rennie post, it amazes me how no one covers their hair. I know that state health inspectors (at least in Virginia) are militant about that sort of thing.