It only took a year for 32-year-old Danie Baker of Seattle to go from working from home for PwC during lockdown to appearing on the new Top Chef spin-off Top Chef Amateurs, which debuted on July 1. The show lists her as a “tax accountant” but you know we snooped LinkedIn to find out she works at PwC.
Like many people, aptly named Baker realized early on in the pandemic that she needed something to do. And thankfully unlike many of us, she didn’t make competitive binge drinking her pandemic hobby. Instead, she hit the kitchen, a place she’d been comfortable since making cookies with her grandmother as a kid. Friends and family swooned over her treats on social media which led her to starting a blog Hey Danie Bakes last July. It wasn’t her first attempt at a food blog, though. According to a recent profile in The Seattle Times, she tried it years ago after she graduated from the University of Portland but abandoned the project due to what she says were “horrible” photos.
Things were different this time around. After all, quarantine offered the necessary time (and noticeable reduction of work-related stress) to put some real energy into her blog.
It didn’t take long for casting coordinators from Top Chef to reach out about getting her on their new show, but she was initially hesitant. “I was like, ‘I’m not ready for this. There’s no way I’m qualified. I’m not going to apply for something that I’m going to just get rejected from,’” she told The Seattle Times. Her sister eventually convinced her to take the chance, so here we are.
With “Top Chef Amateurs” under her belt, Baker’s now looking to launch a career in food media. She says she’s starting a YouTube channel soon and releasing an e-book on her blog with summer recipes, with the hopes she’ll get her own TV show soon.
Baker says being on “Top Chef Amateurs” gave her the confidence to put together a good dish or pastry without a recipe under pressure, as she was forced to in the show’s challenges. She says the show also spurred her creativity — she might not have made a honey lavender cookie a year ago.
“I think it would be really fun to have a show where I’m cooking things that people are a little intimidated by, and just show them it’s not that hard,” Baker says.
So goodbye PwC, hello Food Network? That’s certainly a unique exit opportunity.
Baker’s episode airs Thursday July 22 on Bravo.