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John Oliver to send stove and grill to Kingston bakery after staff meets 'Cake Bear' challenge

HBO host John Oliver extended a challenge to a Kingston bakery, and the bakery responded with a new line of cakes bearing a photo of Oliver's face on edible candy paper.

Ben Nandy

Jun 10, 2024, 10:11 PM

Updated 12 days ago

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HBO host John Oliver extended a challenge to a Kingston bakery, and the bakery responded with a new line of cakes bearing a photo of Oliver's face on edible candy paper.
"We're really speechless here," Peter Deising, co-owner of Deising's Bakery and Restaurant in Kingston, said of the eatery's newfound fame that came because of a note on a door and a request from Oliver, host of 'Last Week Tonight.'
In the June 2 episode of "Last Week Tonight," in a segment highlighting the downfall and subsequent asset-stripping of Red Lobster, Oliver announced he had purchased all of the contents of the chain's Ulster County location through an online auction and recreated the Red Lobster in his studio.
Shortly after the restaurant closed, Deising's co-owner Eric Deising posted a note on the front door asking to buy a flat grill and convection oven if available, and later learned Oliver had already snatched up all the equipment.
News 12 aired a feature story on Deising missing out on purchasing the equipment, which caught the attention of the "Last Week Tonight" team.
Then this past Sunday evening, Oliver closed his show with a Red Lobster follow-up and a challenge.
He said the equipment was donated and did not include the items the Deisings were seeking, but had a better offer.
"The good news is, we're willing to buy those items for you on one condition," Oliver began. "All I want in return is a baked good with my face on it on sale in your bakery, specifically a cake bear with my face on it. I want to be a cake bear!"
Oliver perused Deising's items and customer reviews online, coming across a photo of a cake bear from Deising's that he gushed about to his audience.
"I don't like cake bears," he said. "I [expletive deleted] love cake bears!"
Challenge accepted.
"At 3 this morning, we were brainstorming and trying to figure out exactly what we were going to do," Peter Deising said Monday morning of the challenge.
The first batch of about 80 John Oliver cake bears – each with a little bear nose on the edible photo of Oliver – sold out in under an hour.
"It's unbelievable," Peter Deising said of the whole experience. "I can't believe it went viral, and the amount of emails and messages on social media that we're getting. People want them shipped to like the Philippines and Australia."
Peter Deising said the restaurant cannot ship perishable goods through the mail, but said all visitors are welcome.
"I was a little shocked," Deising's cake decorator Jenna Ice said. "I can't believe this is real life right now. I thought it was hilarious. He had me laughing pretty good."
The staff also baked a larger bear cake for Oliver, with an extra large behind per Oliver's preference.
Deising's is selling the smaller cakes for $8 each, and sending all the proceeds to Peoples' Place Food Pantry in Kingston.
Challenge met.
A representative of "Last Week Tonight" said Monday the grill and oven should arrive at Deising's later this week.


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