Meet Baker Dwayne Ingraham, Competing in Spring Baking Championship

Get to know Dwayne Ingraham, one of the eight bakers competing in Spring Baking Championship on Food Network.

Photo by: Emile Wamsteker ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Emile Wamsteker, 2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Eight bakers have entered the Spring Baking Championship for a chance to win the title and earn $50,000 in prize money. Each one brings a unique talent to the competition. Some are professional pastry chefs, while others are culinary arts instructors, competitive bakers or self-trained bakers. This new series gives them the opportunity to show their skills on national television.

Before tuning in for the premiere on Sunday, April 26 at 9|8c, get to know the bakers. Every day leading up to the first episode we'll be revealing a Q&A with one of the eight.

Born into a family of cooks in Louisiana, Dwayne Ingraham (Oxford, Miss.) attended the New England Culinary Institute and went on to work at The Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota, Fla., before moving to Las Vegas. There he helped open the Encore's Switch Steak. He then moved on to Michael Mina's Seablue at the MGM Grand. Dwayne is currently the corporate pastry chef for City Grocery Restaurant Group in his hometown.

What's your first memory involving baking?

Baking pound cakes and pies with my mother.

What's the first thing you learned to bake really well? Do you still make it today?

Pound cake. Yes, I do.

What would you say is your signature baked item, one that everyone knows you for?

Chocolate lava cake.

If you could bake only one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Biscuits.

What's your favorite ingredient or item to use in your baking?

Chocolate and vanilla beans.

What's your favorite holiday to bake for? What do you typically make?

Thanksgiving. Molasses pecan pie.

Who is (or was) your baking mentor? What's the No. 1 thing that person taught you?

Jackie Carrabello. She taught me to understand my craft inside and out, and to always strive for perfection.

When it comes to baking, how would you describe your style, your mentality?

Simple flavors, complex pairings and elegant presentations.

If you could bake a cake for anyone (alive or dead), who would it be and what would you make?

My great-grandmother Mazie. I'd make sour cream pound cake with fig preserves and honey cream cheese frosting.

What's the biggest baking fail you've ever had that you're willing to admit to? Were you able to rescue it, or did you have to start from scratch?

My first attempt at caramel cake. I had to start all over from scratch.

In your opinion, what's the No. 1 mistake that most home bakers make?

Being intimidated by the "science" that comes along with baking.

What are five or so tips or words of advice you'd give to beginner bakers to improve on their baking?

1. Learn the craft.

2. Love what you are doing.

3. Scale out everything.

4. Taste everything.

5. Don't be afraid to mess up. Embrace the challenge.

Baking Quickfire (name your favorite for each)
Cake/cupcake: Lemon chiffon cake
Pie/tart: Apple pie
Cookie: Oatmeal raisin
Quick bread: Sweet corn bread
Yeast bread: Brioche
Pastry: Honey cream cheese Danish
Muffin: Blueberry muffin
Savory baked item: Quiche

Keep coming back to FN Dish for more on the bakers, and visit the Spring Baking Championship page for more on the new series, including behind-the-scenes galleries, episode recaps, video highlights and baking tips.

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