What started as an Instagram direct message turned into the experience of a lifetime for a Simsbury pastry chef.
SIMSBURY, Conn. — A Connecticut baker will be featured as a contestant in the new season of Food Network’s “Spring Baking Championship,” airing in late February.
Kim Wood of Simsbury has over 10 years of culinary experience, specializing in French pastry and cakes.
“I always dreamed of having a bakery, a business,” Wood said.
She has aspired to fulfill these dreams since she was a child.
Wood worked in the kitchens of the corporate world, developing his passion for baking and continuing to master his craft. She then moved to Connecticut to continue working for a company and eventually settled down to raise her son.
Do not mistake yourself; she loves being a mom and spending time with her son, but she missed cooking.
“A part of me was missing, you know, and I didn’t want to lose it,” Wood said.
Without a business plan, she launched Le Báhn Patisserie in January 2020, which combines her Vietnamese heritage with her French pastry experience. It was a delivery-only bakery, which kept it afloat during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when delivery services prevailed.
“The community was very supportive of me and I blew up,” she said.
Le Bánh Patisserie in Simsbury
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As for being cast in a TV show, it sounds like it was a “whirlwind.”
“Funny story, they actually DMed me on Instagram,” Wood said.
The message was vague, completing the photo gallery and asking Wood if she was interested in appearing on a TV show, without immediately saying who they were representing.
She answered and after a phone call, the producer offered her to appear on a Food Network show.
“They proposed me for the Holiday Baking Championship show. I went through the interview, the demos, the baking, all that. I was one of the finalists but unfortunately they didn’t choose me for the holidays. And then they pitched me again for the spring and I got booked,” Wood said.
The episode was filmed in the summer of 2021 in Tennessee. In the season premiere episode, Wood was among 11 other bakers who were challenged to create fruit pies and then a “floral bonanza cake”, both in his wheelhouse.
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“Everything you see on TV is totally true and it’s very stressful. And I would have thought 10 years in the kitchen would prepare me…you have to think, but it’s 10 times harder because the time is running out, ticking and something has to be done so he can be judged,” Wood said.
While it was a contest, the contestants she met and cooked alongside made it even more enjoyable.
“It’s a wonderful experience. Great competitors, super nice people, and it was so much fun but very stressful,” she said. “My other teammates – oh my god they – I’ve learned so much from them. They’re so helpful and we kind of swap our knowledge with each other, so we’re all kind of helping each other in that way.”
Now that it’s time to see the final product on national television, Wood said she’ll invite family, friends and neighbors to a viewing party, where she admits she might “cringe in the corner”.
But if given the chance to be on a baking show again, Kim would say yes in the blink of an eye, “Heck yeah! How can you tell them no?”
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Along the way, there are more achievements to complete on the to-do list. One of them includes creating a storefront for Le Báhn to grow and offer in-person service. This showcase is ongoing right now, but once open people will be able to find it at 542 Hopmeadow Street in Simsbury.
In the meantime, orders can be placed on LeBahn.com and can be delivered to multiple cities in the Greater Hartford area.
The new season of the Spring Baking Championship begins Monday, February 28 at 8 p.m. on Food Network and can be streamed on Discovery+.
Leah Myers is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. She can be reached at [email protected]
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