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FFT Bakers Gotta Bake Transcript

 “Food For Thought: Bakers Gotta Bake”

Kerry Diamond:             Hi Bombesquad. Welcome to A Radio Cherry Bombe miniseries. I'm Kerry Diamond, the founder of Cherry Bombe. We wanted to know what's on the mind of food folk across the country. So last year, we hit the road to eat, drink and talk with hundreds of you and recorded the whole thing live. Since many of you are home right now and doing a lot of baking, we thought it would be nice to dip into our tour archives and bring you the best of our baker talks. Get ready to hear from some amazing folks about their love of all things sugar, flour and butter.

Kerry Diamond:             Speaking of butter, thank you to Kerrygold for supporting our Food For Thought tour. Kerrygold is the Irish brand known for its award winning butter and cheese, made with milk from grass fed cows, from family farms all over Ireland. We'll be hearing more about their amazing products later, so stay tuned.

Kerry Diamond:             Kerrygold is also helping us bring to life our Jubilee 2.0 conference. It's happening this Sunday, April 5th entirely on Instagram. You can RSVP via We've got a great lineup for you, including Alice Waters, Dorie Greenspan, Mashama Bailey and many others. In addition to Kerrygold, we need to thank Jane Walker by Johnnie Walker, Maple Hill Creamery and the wines of Rioja, for their support. If you'd like to take part in Jubilee 2.0 and share something you're making baking or doing, just use the hashtag CBJubilee so everyone can follow along. See you on Sunday.

Kerry Diamond:             Okay everybody. Let's hear from cake artist Amanda Faber, who spoke during our Atlanta tour stop. Our event was held at Chef Anne Quatrano's Star Provisions and it was the very first stop on our 2018 tour.

Amanda Faber:             Kerry brought up the topic of baking in the future, so of course my brain went to spaceships, the Beastie Boys song Intergalactic and freeze dried astronaut food. But since those were all really crap ideas, I decided to ask Instagram what the future of baking would be. Here's what I heard. There was speculation about baking with herbs, 3D, sugar printed bakes, baking with even more alternative flours, sugars, fats, superfoods, baking on space stations, more focus on using sustainable ingredients in baking, using natural food dyes, baking with cricket flour. And I could go on and on from my Instagram research. And maybe one day we'll get together and 3D print up some chocolate eclairs made with cricket flour. I would eat them. Would you guys? I'd at least try it, right?

Amanda Faber:             But I figured before we got into the future we need to talk about now and why we bake. To me it's very personal. Baking is currently a beautiful, delicious way that we treat ourselves and others. It's a way to celebrate the good days and get us through the tough days. I hope in the future that we'll be baking for celebrations, because those are the most fun bakes. But for now I'm happy to bake the cakes for the Tina Fey style sheet caking on the times when that's the appropriate thing to do. And I'm happy to pan bang my cookies. Have you guys made the pan banging cookies where you take the sheet pan and flatten the cookies out. It's a great way to get out some angst.

Amanda Faber:             But I cannot wait for the day, I feel like when I think about the future, I can't help but to think about the events that we'll bake for and I cannot wait for the day we bake for celebration of our first female president. That would be pretty awesome. I can't wait to bake for my daughter when she gets a job and she has equal pay, and it's hopefully not even a thing by then. She's five-years-old right now and I'd love her to come in and say, "I got a job. Here's what I'm getting paid", and I'm so excited because it's equal and I hope she doesn't even know why I'm excited.

Amanda Faber:             Another thing that we can use to predict the future of baking is currently who are the bakers. I lurk around a lot on social media and I've noticed, and you probably have too if you follow bakers, that the community is crazy strong for a topic that can go really nostalgic, very gingham, full skirts, very Betty Draper. I thought about wearing that tonight and then I was like... The bakers I know are thoroughly modern. The trend of collaboration over competition is something that's talked about often and I'm really happy to say that I see it in action every day.

Amanda Faber:             The passionate bakers that I know are fantastic people. There's a flurry of idea sharing, idea honing encouragement. Bakers come up with very creative ways to help their communities and a generous sharing of skills. This to me is the way of the future. Women are amazing, you guys know that, but sometimes I think we let the amazingness of another woman make us feel less amazing, and I don't see that so much with baking. In baking, I see less comparison and more celebration of our differences. For example, something as simple as frosting a cake, there are endless ways to do it. You can pipe your frosting, smooth your frosting, comb your frosting, you can cover your frosting and then that's not even talking about all the different flavors that you could have.

Amanda Faber:             But I do see that bakers don't divide up into groups of frosting people. We don't just support the smooth frosting people, because I'm a smooth frosting girl, or support the rough frosting people, because I'm a rough frosting girl. It crosses all the lines and there's a respect for another baker's art that comes without having to make yourself feel lesser, or suspicious of the other person. We learn from each other and we are excited to see the other makers succeed, because it means baking is succeeding in and that means we all win as bakers. So all that blablah about who are the bakers are and what are we baking, what is the future of baking?

Amanda Faber:             I think there may be less opportunities to work with our hands in the future, just because of technology and all these things that are really wonderful, but I'm sure that we'll still make bread. Bakers will still mix up flour, salt, sugar, yeast because it's amazing. We love to eat it and the process of making it is an experience like no other. In the future, we'll be able to do even more with our devices. I can't even come up here without my device, but I do think that we'll put our devices down, put some candles on a cake, celebrate another year of life and enjoy the cake together, even in the future. And I think that we will still, no matter how much we learn about our health and make decisions about how to build our best bodies, we'll still continue to eat things like a warm cookie because it makes all those shitty moments worth it to get that cookie. It's totally worth it.

Amanda Faber:             In the future, the techniques will change, the ingredients will evolve, our equipment will look and perform differently. The future of baking is super solid, because baking is a way to bring people together. It brings communities together, friends together, families together and whether we're living in cities, on a farm, apartments, houses, or even future science space pods, which I really like to think about, I think something sweet and baked will still draw us out and draw us together. It's an affordable luxury. It's creative, it's comforting and it's fun. And it was all of these things for our grandmothers and it will be these things for our children to. So cheers to baking.

Kerry Diamond:             Thank you, Amanda, if any of you need some cake decorating inspo, or just a burst of loveliness, be sure to check out what Amanda is up to on Instagram. Next we'll hear from Sam Cade of Cade's Cakes, from our Dallas, Texas tour stop at the beautiful Adolphus Hotel.

Sam Cade:                    So, hi, my name is Sam Cade of Cade's Cakes, and obviously here to talk about the future of food. But for me personally, when I want to talk about food, I really can only talk about cake. I eat, sleep and breathe cake all day, every day. And this really all started with a major sweet tooth. And I know a lot of people say they have a major sweet tooth, but no, no, no. I have a major sweet tooth. I get Mustang Donuts every Friday, if you know, you know. And I also eat cake for breakfast every day with black coffee. It is just the perfect way to start my day. So this sweet tooth is something to be dealt with. So you combine that with a knack for anything creative that tends to be on the messier side, any arts and crafts project, really just anything that just makes a huge mess.

Sam Cade:                    So you put those two together, that's pretty much cake decorating. It all started, I've worked everywhere from just your typical bakery to a waffle dessert food truck. I worked there when I was down in Austin attending the University of Texas and I soon began to discover that millennial birthday cakes. I didn't realize this was such a thing. These tended to be shaped, I don't know why I thought I could do shaped cakes because I was just starting. And they also were typically alcohol-focused. Hint, your 21st birthday cake, a lot of bottles, a lot of drunk Barbies, that kind of thing.

Sam Cade:                    So two years on an Austin went by like a complete blur. I was attending business classes somewhat and baking cakes on the side and somewhat trying to maintain a social life. And by the end of it, as you can predict, I dropped out of school and took my last accounting final, thank God, and started French pastry school in New York two weeks later. So pastry school pretty much just confirmed everything I already knew in that I don't have the patience for bread baking, or chocolate making. I wish I did, but I really just love cake. Any cake. I got my absolute dream job at Momofuku Milk Bar. I was so excited. It was the best of the best. But I missed doing the one-on-one cakes that I did down in Austin. I missed that one-on-one customer interaction and the custom orders.

Sam Cade:                    So before I knew it, I moved back to Dallas, which is where I'm from, to start doing custom cakes. So that's a little bit about me and you can realize how I got literally right here, but now let's talk actually about cake. I think my view on cake is probably a little different than you would expect. So I think we can all agree the birthday cake is so timeless. Everyone has memories of a birthday cake, like the concept probably of cheers, few things or is universally celebrated as a birthday with some version of a cake. But as we all know, everything is getting upgraded and although the birthday cake is so intertwined with tradition, it needs to be upgraded like everything else. We're competing like everyone else.

Sam Cade:                    To me, competition isn't really what you would expect. It's taken me five years of making cakes to realize that everyone has a birthday and birthdays are 365 days of the year. So there's plenty of birthdays and birthday cakes to really go around for everyone. So I don't even think of competing with other bakeries, or other bakers as much of a thing. I feel like now in 2018, in any food industry, you're competing with things like pop cultural performances, or social stunts. Everybody's trying to be the wow factor of the night.

Sam Cade:                    So really what I mean by that, to put in more simple terms is, I want any cake to be the most Instagram aspect of an event. I want it to be the most virtually shared. This sounds like a little aggressive. How are we going to do that with a birthday cake? It's just a cake. It doesn't matter. So let's back up. I really think that it's about balancing a mix of competition and inspiration from things like food trends, artists on the rise, pop culture icons, and fashion movements, really anything like that. The best example is my most popular cakes are my food cakes. And if you're like, "What the hell is a food cake?" It's anything you want it to be. It's your favorite food turned into your cake. So I've done everything from a water burger, cheeseburger for 300 people to a sushi board to an oyster platter, meat and cheese spread, pancake stack. I'm sure you can find your favorite food on there.

Sam Cade:                    This kind of cake is a direct correlation to where I think the consumer's mindset is today. If you look through your Instagram feed, what is on there more than anything else? It's probably food. Okay. And I know this crowd's Instagram feed is filled with food. So I think cakes like that perfectly represent that. If you can find the balance, for me I think of balancing like inspiration and competition with the categories I mentioned before. And then also you just need to add in that personal element that's direct to that customer, or consumer. That's when you get the magic. That's when you get the Instagram. That's when you get the virtual share. Little things like this, I feel like every time I look at my email I seriously get a crazier request. I don't know where people get these ideas. I think it's from Pinterest and TV shows and who knows, but everyone seems to be trying to order something crazier than the last.

Sam Cade:                    If they're not trying to beat their cake they ordered last year from me, they're trying to beat the cake their friend ordered last week. I seriously have people email me being like, "I need to change it, immediately." It's pretty funny and dramatic. I think it's unnecessary, but it's fun. It keeps my day-to-day interesting. So yeah, so I feel like now in any aspect, people don't always want the best seller, or what's the most popular they see, they want something that's completely custom to them and just totally unique and one of a kind.

Sam Cade:                    So really, as I'm baking, there's a few questions I ask myself pretty much every day. I'm like, "How can the cakes I make today be different than yesterday? And what trends am I most excited for tomorrow that I can infuse today? And what are people doing in other industries and how are they setting the social media bar so high?" I don't like to look at cakes, or food industries I like to go completely out of the box. So things like that keep my day-to-day interesting. And really keep baking cakes different every single day. I know that sounds like it can get repetitive, but every day is different.

Sam Cade:                    I've made about 20 to 30 cakes a week and I also got D Magazine's best birthday cake two years in a row. I'm pretty convinced they just created that category. I think they just created it to get free cake at the event to add to the open bar, but it's fine. I'll take it. I'll take. So I've had an amazing time here in Dallas and I just think it's important to keep the mindset I've developed here of constantly creating, evolving and looking around, so I can add on to the inspiration and definitely the competition that's going to be waiting for me. So wish me luck. We'll see how it goes.

Kerry Diamond:             Thank you Sam. Be sure to check out Cade's Cakes on Instagram to see Sam's creations. We'll be back with our next piece of baking wisdom after we hear a word from Kerrygold.

Kerrygold Ad:                Kerrygold is delicious. All natural butter and cheese, made with milk from Irish grass-fed cows. Our farming families pass their craft and knowledge from generation to generation.

Kerrygold Ad:                I'm fifth generation goes back over 250 years.

Kerrygold Ad:                This traditional approach is the reason for the rich taste of Kerrygold. Enjoy delicious new sliced, or shredded Kerrygold cheddar cheese, available in mild, or savory flavors at a retailer near you. Find your nearest store at

Kerry Diamond:             Get ready to hear from one of my favorite baking bad asses. Rebecca Masson, also known as the sugar fairy. Rebecca is the owner of Fluff Bake Bar in Houston, Texas. This talk was recorded at Nancy's Hustle, one of the coolest places in that big town.

Rebecca Masson:          Being the face of something is really hard, right? And so now I've just put myself in a position where I get to do it all over again. We finally got to a point where I could hide in the kitchen and wave to people, instead of actually talk to them because not everybody gets my sense of humor. You ask me what my favorite thing is and I'll tell you none of it, because I've been making it for eight years. Or they look at you in the kitchen and they're like, "She looks so angry." Right? I've considered Botox, all these things because I have a resting bitch face, not unfortunately, but it's a fact our male counterparts in the kitchen, they're focused, right? You see the chef on the line and he's hollering at someone, he's not angry. He's focused.

Rebecca Masson:          But I'm in the kitchen with the equivalent of pastry napalm and I'm angry. So these are all these things that as a business owner, I didn't think about. I thought I'd just get to go in and make cookies. So let's just do it all over again. So I'm going to pick up Fluff Bake Bar and I'm going to put it somewhere else. I can't tell you yet where. Lisa signed, we're doing it, it's happening. But I'm not telling you where yet. And I get to do this all over again. I get to learn new customers and they get to learn me. And now we have eight parking spots and they're all mine. And you can park there. You don't have to drive around the buildings.

Rebecca Masson:          I don't know why I keep doing it to myself, maybe it's this passion that I have, this fact that I like to make delicious cookies and pies and bars and brownies and ice creams and now croissants and kolaches and cinnamon rolls. And I just keep going and going and going. It's hard though. It's very hard. It's crazy. It's insane. I've already mentioned Mrs. Wilson once, that's my mom. I literally couldn't do this without her. What is it, they say behind every man is a good woman? Well guess what? Behind every pastry chef, there's a damn good mom.

Rebecca Masson:          Oh, I untied my shoes. She's there every Saturday morning, so you can come see her. So these are the things that as a woman, business owner, trying to make my way that are my hurdles that I have to go through every day. So if you do come in the bakery, I'm not angry, I promise, you can wave to me. You can say hi to me. But these are things that people don't realize and don't think about. You just see this rosy cheeked, ruffled apron girl making cookies. And you think that's Betty Crocker. That's who she's supposed to be. Well obviously I'm not, but I'm still good at my job. I'm still good at what I do. I have successfully had a business for almost nine years. And from what I understand that's a landmark moment.

Rebecca Masson:          And so I just want everyone who follows behind, every person who comes in my kitchen, every person that I meet in the world or Julia and Alba and [Eckie 00:19:37], and all these ladies who are killing it in their game, we're showing future females, come on, you can kill it too. So that's really my food for thought.

Kerry Diamond:             Thank you. Rebecca. If you want to help out the Fluff team, check out the Fluff Bake Bar website to see what cookies and merch they have available. For our last talk, we'll hear from my good friend, the one and only Joy the Baker AKA Joy Wilson. She joined us for our event at the Ace Hotel during our stop in New Orleans.

Joy Wilson:                   I am a baker as the name implies, and a blogger, a yoga teacher, and a teacher of baking. I opened up my bake house home studio two years ago now and not but half an hour ago, I made eight sweet potato pies with people in my house for Thanksgiving. And it has felt like a lot of my work is alone on a computer. And opening my house to people has been a really rewarding way to connect with people in and out of New Orleans.

Joy Wilson:                   So my story and journey with food started like anyone who's obsessed with it, in my parents' kitchen. And my dad taught me how to bake and he is a very neurotic, enthusiastic home baker and it didn't give me any issues, so don't worry. I also learned from my aunt who was blinded by a brain tumor in her thirties and she baked before and after she lost her sight and she taught me a lot about being connected to your ingredients through touch, when you don't have all of your senses. And then I started working in restaurants, which is an absolutely insane thing to do. You have to guard your spatulas so they do not taste like onions. Nina knows that.

Joy Wilson:                   And when I think about the future of food, I think back to a future of food that happened in my opinion 10 to 15 years ago that I was serendipitously a part of. I started my blog, Joy the Baker about 11 years ago now. And I didn't know it at the time, but it was a big transition in the way that people have access to recipes and home cooks. And it opened up a lot of different voices in the food world and it opened up access for people to have interactions with different recipes, from different countries and cultures. And it was a cool time. And I still blog and I might be the only one that still does it, and that's okay.

Joy Wilson:                   When I think about where we're headed, it feels daunting and exciting and it's impossible to know. But with all of that uncertainty, I want to distill it down to the things that are certain. Like the idea that baking soda and buttermilk make the best biscuits, or the idea that fried doughnuts are always better than baked donuts. And I don't even know why we do that other thing, like why? It's just a little cake. We don't need to do that. And the certainty now and in the future, that baking is a practice and an art. And for the people that love it a lot, it's a meditation, but it's aim is connection. Connection to the people that mill your flour, or the people that grow your strawberries. And a connection over celebration, or over a loss, or seeking comfort.

Joy Wilson:                   And I think that the future of food is in the generosity of our connection in that way. And it creates space to know each other, to me. And I know it's just a cookie, or it's just a cake, but it is creating a space to be curious about someone, or to learn something. And so I think our future is in our intentionality behind that connection. Those are my words.

Kerry Diamond:             Thank you, Joy. Joy by the way, is teaching some baking classes on Zoom that you do not want to miss. Check out her Instagram for more details. That's it for today's show. A big thank you to Kerrygold, for supporting our tour and providing us with beautiful butter and cheese at each stop. Our show was produced by Jess Zeidman. And hey, Jess and I and the rest of the Cherry Bombe team send our best to all of you. Hang in there, everybody. As always, thanks for listening. You are the bombe.