You may be familiar with First Second’s Science Comics but have you heard of their new Maker Comics series? The new books kicked off last week with two debut titles including Falynn Koch’s Bake Like a Pro! I’m personally pretty terrible at baking (and really just cooking in general) but Bake Like A Pro! mixes an often hilarious fantasy story with some basic, baking recipes that can appeal to readers of any skill set!
In Bake Like A Pro!, young mage-in-training Sage finds herself unwillingly apprenticed to alchemist and baker Korian. Throughout the book Sage learns the importance of following a recipe’s instructions, prepping ingredients, and, of course, how to make some pretty awesome stuff. Helping her along are the various ingredients themselves which are a little weirdly super okay with being eaten and baked into tasty things. (Trust me, though, it’s kinda the best thing ever.)
Whether you’ve got a bit of experience under your apron or you’re completely incompetent in the kitchen like I am, Bake Like A Pro! is a really fun story with some really cool ingredients. We had the chance to ask Falynn Koch a few questions last week. Check out her answers below!
Thanks so much for answering some questions for us!
One of my favorite parts of Bake Like A Pro! is the fun story that goes along with the recipes, techniques, and science. What made you decide to take a fantasy angle with the story?
To me baking really is magic, the way the ingredients interact can be almost unexpected, so instead of thinking of it as magic figuratively, I decided to make it literal.
When you first started baking did you share Sage’s reluctance or Korian’s passion?
Korian is based on a real person, my culinary school professor, Chef Mimi. She was both calm and intense, and trusted her students to make some very technical desserts even though we didn’t know what we were doing.
What was the hardest ingredient or kitchen tool to anthropomorphize in Bake Like A Pro!?
Eggs! Do you make the shell have personality, or the egg inside? Are the white and yolk different entities? I went with a combination of all of that.
If the ingredients or kitchen tools in your kitchen were alive, which would be the sassiest and why?
Probably the stand mixer, it’s the one expensive tool I can’t be without, and it knows it.
Why did you pick the particular recipes you included in this book?
I tried to go with favorites and classics that were different enough to cover lots of baking basics but someone could feel accomplished about making.
Was there a particular recipe you wanted to include that you decided just wasn’t right for Bake Like A Pro!?
Yes, custard! There just wasn’t room and technically you don’t have to bake a custard, I decided to keep it to things that had to be baked in an oven.
If you were to write a sequel, what sort of recipes would Sage tackle next?
Really tricky ones like puff pastry, pate a choux, soufflés, etc, things that can go really wrong, it be a cruel sequel if you weren’t into baking details.
Bake Like A Pro! isn’t the first book you’ve published with First Second. How did working on the Maker Comics differ (or how was it similar) to your work on the Science Comics series?
My science series self couldn’t resist adding lots about the science of the ingredients, why the proteins and fats and sugars and gluten all do what they do. I think knowing how the ingredients work together can only make one a better baker and it’s what really interested me while writing the book.
Lastly, what do you hope young readers can take away from Bake Like A Pro!?
That baking is for everyone! Maybe you like to get things perfect, or maybe you like to experiment, whether it works out or not. Baking can be about making yourself and others happy with food or it can be about testing your skills, or both, its up to you!
Bake Like A Pro! is out now and available in-stores and online. You can check out a preview here. Or pick up a copy for yourself and learn to bake cookies, pies, pizza dough and more!