Profiles of People We Love: Joe the Baker

Joe Baker or Joe the Baker, whatever you want to call him (photo by Kelly Sackley)

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.

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