Kyra is one of the most well-known gluten-free bakers in the U.S. right now, and there are two reasons for that: 1) she is an amazing pastry chef 2) she works really, really hard. She’s given us a behind the scenes look into her experience as a competitor and 2-time winner of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, now she is giving us an inside look into her day to day life as a new cookbook author.
5:48am My alarm goes off with its insistent buzzing and it takes me time to shake off the grogginess enough to realize that I have to wake up. I hit the off switch and roll out of bed. My dogs jump up with me and run to the patio door to be let outside.
6:15am I’m showered and dressed, the dogs have been fed, and I pour myself a giant cup of coffee (merely my first for the day). I add one packet of stevia and a hefty dollop of heavy whipping cream to it, because that’s how I roll. Cream, like bacon, makes everything better! I head into the bathroom to layer on makeup—I’m soon heading to do a segment on the local ABC affiliate so I need to apply it just a little heavier than usual to accommodate the studio lights.
7:04am I back into a parking space in front of the bake shop and open the rear doors. I will be making Creamsicle Cupcakes from my book (page 88) on air and need to have all my ingredients, as well as cupcakes in various stages of “doneness” for the camera. I load up a milk crate with bowls, spatulas, a whisk, mascarpone, eggs, orange juice and a box of our dry cake mix. I only have 7 minutes in the segment, so I am taking every shortcut I can. In addition to the cupcake ingredients, I have breakfast for the cast and crew (gooey cinnamon rolls, scones, and Everything bagels).
7:45am Traffic was extremely heavy getting across town but I’m a little early so I swing by the local coffee shop that is 2 blocks from the studio and grab another cup of coffee.
9:18am The sound technician removes my mike, tells me how much fun my segment was, and thanks me for bringing in the extra treats. She informs me that the production booth is going crazy for the cinnamon rolls and that no one can believe they’re gluten-free!
10:30am Back to the shop, I drop off the dirty dishes from the news segment and pick up the ingredients for my next event, a book signing and baking demonstration at Williams Sonoma. The girls are making biscotti (also from the cookbook) and it smells good. I snag the end pieces as they’re slicing the cookies. At times like this, I am SO thankful for the awesome team I have at the bake shop helping me prepare for all the events!
11:12am I park in the lot beneath the Williams Sonoma and start carting my supplies upstairs to the demo floor. In addition to the ingredients and equipment I will need for the mini S’Mores tartlets, I have a pack of brand new gold and silver sharpies for book signing.
2:20pm The past several hours have been a blur with people watching me bake, tasting my samples, buying books and asking me questions on a deeper level about gluten-free baking. I love my job! Driving back to the shop, I return my travel planner friend’s call. She’s left me a message about an upcoming gluten-free cruise I’m doing, and I have time to chat and answer her questions while I head back to Lake Oswego.
3:00pm Lunch time! I keep a stash of healthy treats in the staff fridge at the bake shop and pull out some slices of pepper turkey, a few string cheeses, a packet of Justin’s Nutbutter (maple almond), and an avocado, which I dice and drizzle with 25 year aged balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. This, along with a big bottle of fizzy water, will (mostly) tide me over for the next few hours.
3:29pm The phone rings with my afternoon interview for Delight Gluten-Free magazine. Kristin and I have a lovely discussion about my experiences learning to bake gluten-free. She asks me, if I could have anyone over to dinner, who would I have and what would I make. I think about this for a minute and ask if I can invite more than one person. “Sure!” Kristin responds. The invitation part is easy: Oprah, Dr. Oz, Martha Stewart, Ina Garten, Rachael Ray, Giada de Laurentiis, and my mentor Laura Byrne Russell. The hard part is figuring out what I would make for these heavy hitting idols of mine. I settle on garlic roasted chicken, rosemary whipped parsnips, lemony kale salad with parmesan and slivered almonds, and for dessert: Chocolate Mousse Meringue Pie and Lilikoi (passionfruit) Chiffon Pie. An occasion like this calls for (at least) 2 desserts!
4:45pm I’ve spent the last hour answering emails and in discussion with Jackie and Jen, managers at my shop making plans for next week’s events, and it’s time to head to my next class: a baking class for the Portland Culinary Alliance, I’ll be demo-ing in a space I’m not accustomed to, so I don’t know how the ovens will run, or how clean the kitchen will be.
5:39pm Lauren, the class coordinator, offers me something to eat before I begin the class, since it will be 4 hours before I can really eat dinner. I eat a millet burger, some kalamata olives and more fizzy water, and then tie my hair up and wash my hands in preparation for the class. My contacts are starting to bother me, so I have switched to glasses for this class. I look like I”m pretending to be a grownup.
8:52pm The class wraps up and there is a line of people waiting to have a few words with me and ask me to personalize their copy of my book. One woman tells me she has been afraid to try baking since she went gluten-free, but the tips and tricks I have shared during the class have inspired her to buy some gluten-free flours and start playing in the kitchen. I am humbled and honored.
9:16pm I pull into my driveway. My puppies are waiting at the door for me, wagging their tails so hard, their little bodies are curving into jelly beans. My husband is lounging on the couch and I grab an apple and plop down next to him to watch an episode of one of our shows (currently, it’s House of Cards).
10:02pm The show is over, so we take the dogs out, then brush our teeth, I wash my face, and crawl into bed and get ready to do it all again tomorrow. Lights out. Sweet dreams.