You mentioned once that you were an English major in college. What did you want to be when you grew up? Did you ever do it? How did you move from English major to Baker Extraordinaire?
I was an English major in college. Ironically enough, reading makes me fall asleep. Crazy, right? Somehow I managed to work my way through five (yes, it took me a while) years of college. I worked two jobs through college, always with food, often in kitchens. For those years, I either had my head (fast asleep) in a book, or my hands elbow deep in dough. When I finished college, I found that I loved baking so much that I didn’t want to stop working with food. I somehow wanted to find a way to incorporate my love of story telling with my passion for food. So far that journey has lead me here- cooking, photographing and writing for you fine folks. I honestly can’t think of any place I’d rather be!
Have you thought of making healthy versions of some of your recipes, or proposing a corpus of kid-friendly, healthier recipes that use fruit sugars and fat subs for a more conscious approach of your culinary art?
I think butter is beautiful. I think sugar is dreamy. I think cream is over the moon. I bake with ingredients that put a smile on my face. I certainly wouldn’t consider the treats on my site as everyday meal-time staples, but for a special occasion… when you need to reach out to that inner sugar fiend… this is a good place to come.
If you’re looking for fruit sugars and fat substitutes, I just may not be the baker for you. It’s just not what I’m passionate about these days. While I do have a handful of healthful recipes like my Gnarly Muffins… these recipes just don’t bring a sparkle to my eye like cream, butter and chocolate do.
What kind of camera do you use? Did you take classes or is it just the camera that creates those gorgeous shots?
I use a Canon XSi with a 100mm macro lens. It’s a lovely, easy to use camera, made even more awesome with the fancypants lens. Can I tell you a secret? There was a time when the lens to my camera was worth more money than the car I was driving. True…. that’s really true.
I also have to tell you that I’ve actually never take a photography class. A dear friend handed me a SLR camera, gave me a 15 minute lesson all about aperture and depth of field I think he might have mentioned shutter speed once or twice… but that was it. He knew what I wanted to shoot and he showed me exactly how to do it.
The 100mm macro lens It’s totally worth it, isn’t it?
Yes. Yes it is.
Did you go to culinary school? Do you currently work at a bakery? Have you been working at a bakery for your entire professional life?
Here’s the deal: I’m a self taught baker. I didn’t go to culinary school. Why? It was just too darn expensive. As a result, I’m no master at cream puffs, my bread baking is sometimes a comic tragedy and fancy French desserts make me break out in a cold sweat. But that stuff just isn’t where my passion lies. I’m more interested in getting in the kitchen with my Dad to recreate his favorite pie, or filling my kitchen with girlfriends to play with cookie recipes. My approach is all about food, stories, laughs and love and I didn’t feel like I needed culinary school to teach me that.
What recipe ingredients are worth splurging on?
Whatever you love… it’s worth splurging on. I love food, so I think the good stuff is worth seeking out. Recently I’ve come to love raw, artisanal honeys. The people at Ames Farm seem to know what they’re doing with bees. They have lovely honey that I usually eat by the spoonful. I also love love love good chocolate. I like to buy Valrhona when it comes to my chocolate baking needs. Expensive, yes… but the quality is absolutely worth the extra dough.