Meet Baker Simone Faure, Competing in Spring Baking Championship
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.
After culinary school Simone Faure (St. Louis) worked at The Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans, and then became executive pastry chef at the hotel's St. Louis location. Inspired by her French husband, Simone found a love for pastry, naming her St. Louis shop after the couple's favorite, chouquette. Simone's work has been highlighted in American Way Magazine, The New York Times and The Washington Post.
I was obsessed with my Easy-Bake Oven. I was convinced that I would become famous baking by light bulb.
What's the first thing you learned to bake really well? Do you still make it today?
Biscuits! Sounds simple, but there really is something to it.
What would you say is your signature baked item, one that everyone knows you for?
My French macarons, definitely! I like to take the classic French cookies and give them an American twist with a touch of pop culture.
If you could bake only one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
What's your favorite ingredient or item to use in your baking?
What's your favorite holiday to bake for? What do you typically make?
Who is (or was) your baking mentor? What's the No. 1 thing that person taught you?
James Sayterwhite was my mentor at the Ritz in New Orleans. He taught me to develop a thick skin and not to be afraid to let the crazy out — a little at a time.
When it comes to baking, how would you describe your style, your mentality?
I love beautiful and delicious pastries. If it doesn't taste good, appearance means nothing. But if it doesn't look good, why bother eating it?
If you could bake a cake for anyone (alive or dead), who would it be and what would you make?
It would be for Oprah! After hearing her speak in St. Louis I decided to leave my job at The Ritz and take a chance on myself. So I'd bake Oprah a thank-you cake.
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?
I once gave a groom's cake to a co-worker who offered to transport it to a cooler. When she didn't return, I knew that something had gone wrong! When she returned to the kitchen, she was covered with tears. I went down to look at the carnage and found my groom's cake — in the shape of California, complete with the Golden Gate Bridge — splattered on the floor. After momentarily blacking out from the sheer shock of the situation, she and I quickly created a new groom's cake for the wedding that was in less than two hours. That was a very close call.
In your opinion, what's the No. 1 mistake that most home bakers make?
Substitutions! Occasionally you can substitute and actually come out with a pretty good product — maybe even better than you had hoped for. But in most situations that simply isn't the case.
What are five or so tips or words of advice you'd give to beginner bakers to improve on their baking?
2. Always use great ingredients.
3. Always follow proper techniques.
4. Give yourself plenty of time.
5. Baking is a science, but it's a fun science. It should be planned and enjoyed.
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.