Even though Joe the Baker has only been in Dallas for under a year, he’s made his presence known on Twitterverse as a hardcore tweeter and pastry whiz. Currently, he works at Le Cordon Bleu. When Joe isn’t teaching students about pumpkin Mont Blancs, he runs an online cooking blog – JoetheBaker.com. Joe Baker (that’s his real-life name, no joke) demonstrated how to make a souffle-style cake (cake batter with egg whites and microwaved in a cup) while we chatted in his kitchen.
PH: Why do you think Dallas is so crazy for crème brûlée?
JB: I don’t know why Dallas is crazy for crème brûlée. I mean, they’re delicious. It’s an all-inclusive dessert – sweet and rich, you can flavor it with anything. Hoping we can move toward something a little more modern and creative, though. I keep trying to push the envelope a little bit, every time I meet someone new.
Jump because you like Joe.
PH: Do you mow your own lawn?
JB: No, I don’t.
PH: What’s the best dessert you’ve ever had?
JB: Best dessert I’ve ever had? When I worked at CityZen with Amanda Cook, she would make a Cinnabon souffle. We would serve it with coffee ice cream and foam milk around it, so it would look like an espresso. Yeah. It was pretty awesome.
PH: What is the new cake ball?
JB: The new cake ball is the macaroon. By far. They’re little merengue cookies with all kinds of filling in the middle – and me and a couple of my friends, that’s what we specialize in.
PH: Which Dallas restaurants are making great desserts?
JB: Great desserts? I guess I’m kind of a snob. Stephan Pyle’s desserts are good. The Mansion makes good desserts, but they’re trying to play “keep-up.” It’s hard because the clientele wants what they had twenty years ago. Honestly, it’s really good, but not amazing. I think everybody’s one step away from really bringing it home.
PH: Which Dallas restaurants are making bad desserts?
JB: Bad desserts. Honestly, I’m not sure. I don’t really know much. I only drop money when I know it’s going to be worth it, and to be frank, I can tell you – some places are overrated, but I think, on the whole, everybody makes good desserts. Just not great desserts.
PH: Pretend you’re on Death Row. Your time is up. What is your last meal request?
JB: Honestly, I love old-fashioned stuff. I’d probably get some French toast with maple syrup on it. Just something nice and easy. Just old-fashioned American.
PH: What do you do with your empty Cool Whip canisters?
JB: Well, for the bowls – that’s great for throwing ice cream in. When it comes to the aluminum ones, [I] just throw them away. Now we all now have the E-Z chargers, like the foam ones you see at Starbucks. They’re completely reusable, and we’ll make cakes in those.
PH: Tell us your favorite bar of chocolate.
JB: My favorite’s Three Musketeers. It always has been. It’s deceptively complicated, but it’s simple. It’s not full of nuts and all this other stuff. Just clean chocolate, clean goods, perfect.
PH: What’s your favorite swear word when you’re baking something and it doesn’t turn out right?
JB: Usually, I cuss in French. It’s kind of funny. I shout, “merde!” really loudly, but I’d say that under my breath pretty quick. Because I don’t want to seem out-of-control.
PH: Is there anything else you’d like to say?
JB: I think Dallas is ready to really start making great desserts. There needs to be more people pushing the envelope. And I think the time is right. Hopefully, it’ll all come to flourish in the next few years.
D Magazine intern Paige Harriman is going to be a sophomore at UT Austin.