Find Orlando Family Magazine on Facebook! Follow Orlando Family Magazine on Twitter!

Culinary Collaboration     

Last year, a trio of culinary friends joined forces on Foodtastic, a food art competition television program, hosted by Emmy Award-winning actress Keke Palmer, in which skilled chefs and pastry artists create incredible, larger-than-life sculptures made entirely of various ingredients. Together, culinary artist Victor Dagatan, pastry sous chef Joanna Kaskiw and lead pastry chef Maggie McAndrew, aka team “Magic, Sugar & Spice,” pooled their talents to make two epic Cars-themed creations. 

Orlando Family Magazine caught up with the three Central Florida residents to learn more about their experiences on the small screen, why they work so well together and their future plans.


Please tell us a little bit about your culinary background.

Joanna Kaskiw: I had caught on to the pastry life in high school when TV food competitions were becoming very popular. I went to Johnson & Wales University in Providence, [Rhode Island], where I studied solely baking and pastry. My dream was to do something creative and from then on, I worked in hotels and resorts in New Jersey and Florida for my entire career. 

Maggie McAndrew: I come from a big family that loves food, and had cakes for every occasion growing up. I realized going to The Culinary Institute of America that my baking dreams could become reality. I knew it was what I wanted to make a career out of.

Victor Dagatan: I am from Paete Laguna, Philippines. “Paete” translates to “chisel” in English. So, carving and chiseling is in my blood. I learned how to carve wood from my father. When moving to the States, I came to realize there are a lot more things that can be carved. I got into working at hotels in 1999 because there was a need for ice, chocolate, fruit and vegetable carving. I knew if I can carve wood, I can carve anything. 


Do you all work together at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes?

MM: Yes. Working with Vic and Jo never seems like work at all. We all work so well together and time flies by. Before we know it, we just did a quick plate for up to 1,800 people.

JK: I agree with what Maggie says [laughing]. We have worked together for .. has it been four years now? We are always in sync and at this point, it is like we know what the other is thinking. Anytime I work with Mag and Vic, I know it is a good day. We laugh constantly and I am always learning—we discuss, collaborate, suggest and grow from one another. [They are] my best friends.

VD: [I have the] same answer, pretty much [laughing]. I started working at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes, Orlando in 2017. My first big project was creating two extra-large showpieces for the Easter buffet. It was at that moment I knew these two crazy girls were going to become not only my friends, but my support system and would do anything to help me get the job done.


How did you become involved with Foodtastic?

VD: I was reached out to and invited via social media. I asked Mag and Jo to be on my team over tacos so they had to say yes.

JK: Victor asked if I would be interested in doing a competition and my only response was, “Only if you’re on my team.” He’s an incredible competitor with a hefty track record—who wouldn’t want to do this with Mag and Vic? 

MM: It was all Victor’s idea. I knew we would have so much fun no matter the outcome. 

FOODTASTIC – “Cars” – A mechanic gets her chance to compete for the Piston Cup. If only she had a car to enter the race. That’s where teams of “Foodtastic” food artists come in! Their mission is to give this Radiator Springs dreamer a set of wheels any driver would be proud of, but they must do it lightning fast. Watch as host Keke Palmer and the “Foodtastic” food art experts get them over the finish line! (Disney/Kelsey McNeal)

When and where did Foodtastic take place? Did you enjoy the experience?

MM: We flew out to LA in February 2021, at the height of the pandemic, COVID tests and all. We quarantined upon arrival. Once we got our tests back, we started getting ready to film. Overall, it was an incredible experience. Being that it was going to be streaming on Disney+, I was not surprised by how kind and helpful the other contestants were, as well as the production crew. Everyone was there to have beautiful results and we all did exactly that.

JK: Our experience was incredible. I never felt so tired from a project ever. It was many hours of prep and actual film time during our time in LA. We first saw the set and screamed at how elaborate and technical everything looked. The team they have handling the show was fantastic— no detail was overlooked and their goal was to make sure we had all the tools available to make something amazing. We laughed later on at how a camera was everywhere you looked—in the air, on your shelving, by the stove—all things made were caught on film. The whole experience was fascinating, getting to see the behind the scenes of a big show. Also, our fellow teams on the Cars episode were so wonderful. We speak all the time, and are continuing to support them in whatever they are doing/creating. Overall, [it was] a very rewarding experience that we hope to do again.


Your designs and cakes were incredible. How did you come up with the ideas for the Cars-themed cake and pit crew?

JK: It’s funny when looking back because a traditional “race car” wasn’t even one of the options we discussed. We were looking for more unconventional unique cars that represented our fun team. Either way, we were looking for an ice feature to highlight Victor’s skills and an ice cream truck made us all go, “Wow, that could be so cool.” The pit crew was a genuine surprise that we did not expect. Our ideas to add “magic, sugar, and spice” elements to the pit member were based on what the pantry had available and how quickly we could actually complete it. It was crazy.

MM: For me, I just really love ice cream. Taking the unconventional truck and making it into a race car with some magic under the hood and a little bit of sass was something we knew we could achieve. With Victor’s ice engine, we knew we were bringing something special to the show.


How did the three of you work together as a team?

JK: We worked together seamlessly. It was a continuation of our regular work life together. Communication is key and we are always looking out for each other. I can see it on Maggie’s face if she needs help. So, we were set up to where we knew what the other teammates were doing at all times. When I ran into a part of the car that I didn’t have much experience making, I was able to call Victor over for advice and then we continued on. We respected each other’s opinions, we discussed complications together, and always moved forward. Our friendship is stronger than ever. 

MM: We came up with the idea of Miss Frosty McCoy together. Each of us had specific things that needed to get done in order to finish on time. However, if one of us called out for assistance it was a no-brainer that we were jumping over to help out. We are always there to support each other, whether it’s cracking sheets of isomalt or carrying Joanna’s wedding cake.


Victor, it was mentioned on the episode that you are an ice-carving Olympian. Please tell us about that.

VD: One of the best accomplishments in my ice-carving career is to have represented the USA at the Winter Olympic Games 2014 in Sochi, Russia, where I received a silver medal. I am planning to do it again during the Winter Games 2026 in Italy. 


Any future culinary plans?

JK: I hope that down the road I can teach baking and pastry. I love hands-on learning, and my own education experience was incredible. 

VD: To travel more. I am currently on the journey of exploring the world of culinary art internationally. I have some big competitions lined up across the globe. I always continue to challenge myself and I love learning and sharing new skills and techniques.

MM: I just recently got promoted to pastry chef de partie at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes. As far as seeing us competing, this is not the last of “Magic, Sugar & Spice!”