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My Thursday Thing: Am I a great American baker?

This past week, I was home alone with my oldest daughter and decided to make us a Linguine Carbonara. It was actually the first time I had made carbonara. It was pretty easy and we both enjoyed it very much. As we were finishing up dinner, she said to me "Daddy, you should try out for Master Chef." It was a discussion we'd had many times before, and as she knows, I did try out for Next Food Network Star many years ago.

I went about my business, cleaning up after dinner and washing the dishes. Later that night, I settled down at my computer and logged into Facebook, only to find a message on my He Can Cook Facebook page. It was from a casting producer for The Great American Baking Show! They're looking for "guys who are amateur bakers". Hey, that's me! She wanted to know if I was interested and suggested I apply and then we'd chat.

At first, I was speechless. Was this real? Was this a con? Of course, I googled her and it seemed legit. I was pumped. Could I really be the next great America baker? I began to think about the many things I've baked.

And that's really just the start. Maybe I could do this. Of course, I'm usually following recipes so I'd have a lot to memorize. But I could do that. So I put together a 90 second video about my passion for baking to submit along with a gigantic application. I started answering the questions, when it began to ask me about my expertise with cakes, cookies, bread, pies, tarts, custards & meringues, and pastries. All of a sudden, my confidence dropped to the floor. So many things I need to work on. So many things I've wanted to make for years but haven't.

I argued with myself for a good day. Then I made a decision. I need a year. Just one year. Then I'll be ready to apply. And if it's not this show, it will be another. So my next life objective, along with trying to run a half marathon (if my body will cooperate), is to bake like a mad scientist for the next 12 months. And yes, I realize these two goals are just a little bit contradictory. So if you are a friend, co-worked, stranger I bump into on the street, pretty much anyone other than myself, get ready to eat, as I teach myself everything I need to know about baking.

My kids have already started a list: croissants, bagels, yeast donuts, chocolate souffle, croquembouche, lemon meringue pie, wedding cake, brownies, cupcakes, sugar cookies, muffins. And I'm sure the list will double by nightfall. I've created a brand new page on the site, Baking 101, where you can track my progress on this epic journey!

And suggestions are more than welcome! Add a comment to this post, tag me in a post on Instagram or Facebook or email me at I'll make sure to tag you on the final results.

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