justin willman cupcake wars foo 325 'Cupcake Wars': 'Private Practice's' Kate Walsh picks treats for her Billionaire Boyfriend

Having already feted everything from Broadway hits and long-running TV series to awards ceremonies and high-profile sporting events, Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” comes up with as many tasty treats as celebs have reasons to party. And now the show has landed its highest-profile celebrity guest yet: “Private Practice” star Kate Walsh.
On the Sunday, July 15, episode, Walsh is on hand to help choose the sweets served at a VIP soiree to launch her newest fragrance, Billionaire Boyfriend. And, says host Justin Willman, she was as down-to-earth as the homegrown bakers vying for her business.

PICS: Cupcakes!

“Whenever we have our celebrity guest judges, you get to know them pretty well because we are literally sitting at that table with them for 12 hours,” Willman tells Zap2it. “She was just lovely — and extremely funny, which was probably the biggest surprise for all of us.”
So how did the show’s producers find a way to blend high-end fragrance with the humble cupcake? The same way, Willman says, that they’ve made the show a hit for five seasons running — by thinking outside the box. “The Kate Walsh episode — without giving too much away — was part, ‘Let’s have them use ingredients that are known for their scent — still delicious ingredients, but ingredients that are known for their olfactory influence on people,’ ” he explains.

Conversely, in an upcoming episode celebrating the “Angry Birds Space” app, the real magic is in the creations’ visuals. “That one was so much fun,” Willman says. “The ‘Angry Birds’ element really came out in how they decorated their cupcakes and we were just blown away. They just take it to another level.”
What are three things you have to have in your fridge or pantry?

“I have a pit bull named Betty, and she loves her soft dog food, so even when I’ve let my refrigerator run dry, I always have Betty’s soft food. I’m a rice cakes junkie — I can devour a bag of rice cakes in about 10 minutes. And beer.”

If your TV only carried three shows, which would you choose?

‘Breaking Bad’Bryan Cranston actually came to see my act a few months ago. ‘Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.’ And always ‘The Daily Show’ because I love Jon Stewart.
When was the last time you were star-struck?

“Besides the Bryan Cranston incident, in March I appeared on ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ for the first time, and got to do some magic with her. I thought I wouldn’t be as nervous as I was … but, man!”
When was the last vacation you took — where and why?

“I have a friend who hosts a burlesque show. There was a guy in the front row, and I walked by and he says, ‘Hey, it’s the “Cupcake Wars” guy!’ Burlesque dancers don’t generally have a lot of clothes on, so it was pretty odd that he was looking at me.”
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