Social media influencer and Scottsdale native, Tess Levin, is “rolling in the dough” after recently competing in a baking reality show.
A new competitive baking show called, “Baker’s Dozen,” premiered in early October on Hulu. The eight-part series is hosted by Sister, Sister star Tamera Mowry-Housley and former White House pastry chef Bill Yosses, according to a press release.
One of the winners of the show, Levin, 26, won on episode 3 of Baker’s Dozen, receiving a coveted golden rolling pin and a cash prize. She impressed judges with works of candy art and advanced to round two where the remaining contestants baked 13 identical signature desserts.
Making it to the final three, she turned the temperature up a notch with her mermaid under the sea themed macaron tower, which “stole the spotlight and ultimately won the show.”
Levin, who went to Arcadia High School, frequently returns to Scottsdale although her home is in Los Angeles.
Demonstrating how she made her famous macarons featured on the Hulu show, Levin, who is noted to brand herself as a “culinary comedian,” with over 38,000 followers on Instagram and more than 428,000 “likes” on TikTok, answers “heated” questions from the Independent.
• How long have you been interested in the culinary arts?
I always loved baking, even as a child. I used to bake banana bread with my mom, but started taking baking seriously in 2018. I was unhappy in an advertising role and turned to baking after hours to relieve my stress. I had so many cupcakes, cookies, and brownies on my counter that I thought, “hey, maybe I should sell these!”
I started Fluff Cups Specialty Desserts and began selling baked goods around the Los Angeles area. Through these last few years my online presence has morphed itself into comedic culinary content and becoming almost a “friend” to all those in this industry, and out of it. People have identified with my mental health advocacy and humor.
• Describe what it is like or what is involved with being a culinary comedian?
Honestly, it is just so fun! One commonality we have among cultures is food. As someone who brings comedy to the food space, I receive many positive comments like, “I thought I was the only one — You make me feel less alone!”
I believe the culinary industry is one that focuses on the final product that usually is, quite literally, perfect. It is a lot of pressure to be in the industry and bringing comedy to that type of situation makes it bearable for myself and others.
• What was it like meeting Sister Sister Star Tamera Mowry Housley?
Meeting Tamera was rad! She was so down to earth and just a fun person to spend a few days with. I loved Sister Sister as a child, so I immediately recognized her. I could totally see us being friends in the future.
• How did you find out about competing on the reality show?
The casting agency found me on Instagram. I think social media is such a great place to showcase your talents and mine caught the right person’s eye!
• What was it like filming (describe what that entailed)?
I thought it was going to be nerve racking, but the minute the clock started, I was in my element. The only thing I thought about was getting that bake done, but remembering to have some fun. The filming process was a lot of waiting before production started, but once the cameras were rolling, it was all about myself and the other contestants, which was pretty cool to be the center of attention for a second, haha! You don’t realize how many people and moving pieces are involved in a production.
• What inspired the “mermaid under the sea themed macaron tower” and did you expect it to be a winner?
I had never created a macaron tower until this competition and frankly, I enlisted the help of my boyfriend to brainstorm eye catching designs for something like this. He and I came up with mermaid under the sea because that is a huge trend for many industries.
I envisioned the bright colors and unique decorations would catch the eyes of the judges.
I did not expect to win, not even after they called my name. I was waiting to hear someone else’s name, so it didn’t even register right away that they said Tess. I don’t claim to be the best baker in the world, so I knew the competition would be tight.
• How much was the prize money and what will you do with it?
There was a cash price of $5,000 and I am going to put that towards furthering myself and my business.
• What’s in your future?
I am continuing to put time and effort into enhancing my online presence. Additionally, I believe this win gave me credibility as a successful baker in this industry and the opportunities that come my way could be guest judge positions, host positions, or other types of roles in the culinary world and beyond!
• Where is the gold rolling pin displayed?
Right in my kitchen! So I can look at it whenever I bake a successful or unsuccessful dish … I can remember I’m a winner.