(Warning: This post contains spoilers for the Season 1 finale of Fox’s “Crime Scene Kitchen.”)
Partners in crime Natalie Collins-Fish and Luis Flores came out as the top dessert detectives on the Season 1 finale of Fox’s “Crime Scene Kitchen” Wednesday. The Las Vegas-based professional bakers bested three other baking duos in the final episode of the season — and 11 teams total over the course of the competition’s first season — to win the $100,000 grand prize.
With credentials like that, TheWrap had to ask Collins-Fish and Flores about their winning strategy over the course of the nine-week competition. Each week, in just the allotted two minutes, the duo had to navigate the show’s titular set, the Crime Scene Kitchen, to find all the clues they needed to figure out the various mysterious bakes.
“A good tip going into ‘Crime Scene Kitchen’ is just split up and cover as much ground as possible,” Flores told TheWrap in a joint interview with Collins-Fish on Wednesday. “We always tried to do that. And then literally, anything that you think probably won’t be it, like, ‘Oh, it’s fine. It’s just a piece of paper crumpled up.’ No, go look at it.”
“Don’t overlook anything,” Collins-Fish added. “Try to open everything, look at everything.”
“And don’t just look down, look everywhere,” Flores advised. “Up on the walls, on the doors of the fridge.”
His partner chimed in: “In all the drawers, even if you don’t think it’s part of the kitchen. Underneath the benches.”
“We’d literally flip them and go, ‘Nope, nothing there,’” Flores said. “Another part of our strategy was, don’t talk or discuss what you think it might be in the crime scene. You will have time to do that during the bake. Because otherwise, we’d done it before where we’re like, ‘Oh, I think it’s this.’ And then you just get so stuck on it that you start to fit everything around what you think it is rather than focusing on what it might not be.”
While they didn’t talk about what they thought the dish might be during those two minutes, they were still talking a lot, as Collins-Fish stressed the importance of constant communication during her searches with Flores.
“When we split up, so that we’re not just thinking about it in our heads, we actually yell out, ‘Hey, I see this, I see this, I see this.’ So that we can hear each other and we’re still kind of processing what the other person is seeing,” Collins-Fish said. “So if I see something that could go with what he’s seeing, it kind of matches up and then we’re like, ‘Oh, it has to be some sort of pâte à choux.’ That way, you still can remember it in the back of your brain if you can hear him yelling, ‘I have caramel,’ ‘I have a double broiler with melted chocolate’ or whatever. So I feel like that is also a really important strategy.”
On tonight’s “Crime Scene Kitchen” finale, Flores, Collins-Fish and their three competitor teams only had to follow these rules one more time for the dessert round, which ended in the sudden elimination of mother-daughter duo Emma and Leslie after they incorrectly guessed chocolate napoleon and the pastry dish was a classic napoleon. After that, all bets were (mostly) off and the only requirement given to them for the final challenge was to use all of the “flavors” they found in the Crime Scene Kitchen to create a birthday cake for judge Yolanda Gampp, to be shared with fellow judge Curtis Stone and host Joel McHale.
“When they told us, I was like, ‘Finally! I can do what I do and actually put our flair on it and not have to try to make exactly what’s under that box,’” Collins-Fish told TheWrap. “It was so hard for both of us, but especially for me, the whole season. He had to rein me back so much. They don’t show a lot of it, but he was like, ‘We cannot put glitter on everything. We cannot put a crazy rose on everything. It’s not going to be under the box. Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean that everybody else is going to do that.’ We went back and forth a lot, like, do you want us to do us? We had to play the mind game. And even at the finale, when they did let us know that that was it, I was like, ‘Are you sure? Because I will do what I do.’ I must have said that 10 times.”
Flores said it was particularly hard to let go of the mindset of following the clues exactly, as that’s what they had “struggled with” perfecting all season.
“But we were always just trying to find little ways of how we can put in us without being so over the top,” he said. “Like, she’s like, ‘Can I put a flower on it?’ ‘Yeah, you can put a flower on it, but don’t make it look like something other than an opera cake.’ We can’t do that, we have to stick it. So any point where I can give her some happiness and be like, ‘You can put some gold leaf on it, sure.’”
That strategy paid off, as Flores and Collins-Fish walked away with “Crime Scene Kitchen” Season 1’s $100,000 grand prize. So what will the Las Vegas baking duo be doing with that big check from Fox?
“I think for most of it, we’re going to start working on getting our bakery up and running and we’re going to take our time,” Flores said. “We’re going to make sure we get all the details right and get our plan really solid. Because one of the things that we hate seeing for bakers or bakeries or kitchens or restaurants is seeing them only open for a year, or less, and then they just kind of dwindle and disappear. So we don’t want to be those people.”
Collins-Fish added: “We want to make a name for ourselves and stay around. Be like the new top bakery to come to when you come to Vegas, like, you have to come get a cake from us. So we’re going to make sure that we do it right and get involved with the right people and have the right people backing us. And not just because we won, go rent the next shop available… I’d say probably in the next year and a half or so. But I mean, you can still order cakes from me.”
You sure can, right here.
Watch Natalie and Luis win “Crime Scene Kitchen” in the clip above.