Danie Baker of Hey Danie Bakes competes on Top Chef Amateurs

Georgann Dolfay


Danie Baker, who grew up in Tacoma and now is a Seattle-primarily based accountant, released a cooking web site in the course of the pandemic that led to an visual appeal on “Top Chef Amateurs,” a spinoff of the hit Bravo tv present. Her episode “Opposites Attract” airs July 22.

David Moir/Bravo

Two months following Danie Baker formally introduced her foods and recipe blog site with an accompanying Instagram webpage, she obtained a DM that catapulted her new pastime from quarantine job to expert gig.

The concept was from a casting agency for Bravo’s “Top Chef,” seeking competitors for a new pandemic-born demonstrate for “talented household cooks.”

“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m not all set for this,’” the accountant-by-day recalled in a online video interview with The News Tribune before this month. “I can cook dinner in my house I do not prepare dinner on Television set. I’m super unrefined. ‘Oops! Spilled that, broke that.’ It is very considerably Julia Baby-fashion, where it is not fantastic — it’s just delectable.”

“Top Chef Amateurs” is a spinoff of the authentic strike present, which aired its 18th time this spring. The brand name also lately released “Top Chef Following Gen,” showcasing below-30 chefs, which include a different South Sounder, Elise Landry of the yr-old Olympia cafe Chicory. Fairly than a whole time, each new demonstrates run in standalone episodes.

In excess of 30 minutes, the most recent demonstrate pits two household cooks against just one another — with a former Best Chef finalist, frontrunner or lover-beloved by their facet.

“The whole time, I was so unbelievably nervous,” explained Baker, who was paired with Tiffany Derry, a Texas-centered chef, and competed from Steven DeCarlo, a hair stylist-turned-prepare dinner from New York Town partnered with Chicago chef Joe Flamm. “Everything is much larger than life. The entire production was so very well-oiled.”

She explained herself as “starstruck” all over filming final slide in Portland, Oregon, but she also felt a calming sense of serendipity remaining back in her college town, where by she satisfied her spouse.

Though she hesitated at first to say indeed, her sister convinced her the prospect was way too great to move up.

Reflecting on the practical experience, she mentioned that even with sensation like a home cook in the instant — “I was like, ‘“Oh my god, Danie, what are you undertaking?!’” — she received self confidence from the problem.

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Danie Baker, a Tacoma indigenous and Seattle-primarily based accountant, released a cooking blog site throughout the pandemic that led to an visual appearance on “Top Chef Amateurs,” a spinoff of the hit Bravo tv display. On episode “Opposites Catch the attention of,” Baker, on still left, competes in opposition to one more home prepare dinner with the assist of Texas chef Tiffany Derry, on correct. Bravo David Moir/Bravo


A Tacoma local and Bellarmine Preparatory Faculty graduate, Baker dabbled in foods and travel running a blog in the previous, and she’d somewhat overlook the memories of individuals 1st tries. Instagram was manufacturer-new in 2010, and the idea of a “food influencer” was yet to be defined.

“I’m not definitely guaranteed what clicked for me, but this time, I truly focused on presentation, on eye-capturing visuals,” explained Baker, who captures and edits all of the pictures for her internet site Hey Danie Bakes.

She dove into the project in the early days of the pandemic. Functioning from her residence in Seattle meant she was cooking every meal in her own kitchen. Casually sharing all those recipes and homebound culinary times on Instagram, her followers — outdated close friends and new strangers alike — told her it was time to just take it to the web.

The resulting collection feels airy and clean, relying on neutral backgrounds to permit the food’s organic colors to pop off the webpage, luring visitors to find recipes for strawberry ricotta cookie pizza, an avocado caprese salad and cornbread pudding. She even can make eco-friendly bean casserole glance engaging.

On her weblog Hey Danie Bakes, Danie Baker strives to make scratch-cooking approachable and new, as in this strawberry ricotta cookie pizza. Danie Baker Hey Danie Bakes

Top rated Chef must have appreciated her model, which does not attract a line at simply fairly shots of smashed garlic potatoes and sweet potatoes stuffed with harissa-spiced lamb, cucumbers, yellow peppers and pink onion.

“My viewers likes me to toss in personalized pictures,” reported Baker, nevertheless admittedly they generally connect to food items in some capacity.

Centered on approachable scratch cooking and baking — brioche dinner rolls, ricotta, marshmallows — she hopes her recipes and text persuade other folks to embrace that cooking very good meals at residence from uncooked ingredients does not have to be intimidating.

“I want to current it to persons so that they are not scared to check out and to just get into their kitchen area,” she explained. “Things search much more hard than they actually are. It is Okay if we mess up — it is all about how you recuperate from that.”

In addition to creating information and producing recipes for a couple of brands, Baker’s working experience on “Top Chef Amateurs” has provided her the self-confidence to force her own strategy ahead. She will quickly start a YouTube channel with the intention of sooner or later obtaining her very own cooking present, no matter if on tv or an additional platform.

“I have this sort of a distinct attitude,” she explained. “It’s much easier for me to cook dinner spontaneously now.”

For these adhering to alongside, she additional, “I want all people to be able to arrive to my weblog and discover a little something that will work perfectly for them. Maybe it’ll acquire a excellent component of your day, but it is a skill you have endlessly.”

Acquire her brioche evening meal rolls, for instance. “They’re so astounding and I’ll hardly ever purchase a roll from the grocery retail store all over again!”

Look at Baker on “Top Chef Amateurs” on Bravo, July 22 at 6 p.m. Pacific Time, streaming on BravoTV.com right after that time.

Kristine Sherred joined The News Tribune in December 2019, adhering to a decade in Chicago exactly where she labored for dining places, a liquor wholesaler and a culinary bookstore. She beforehand covered the foods organization for Sector Dive and William Reed. Find her on Instagram @kcsherred and Twitter @kriscarasher.

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