If there’s one thing Westchester is used to, it’s celebrity chefs. But in case you needed another reason to feel cavalier about where you’re from, a Westchester chef recently cooked her way to a Food Network victory on Cook vs. Cons.
Last Wednesday, Angela Baldanza, a Pound Ridge resident and co-owner/chef of Baldanza Café in New Canaan, won the culinary competition that pits home cooks against kitchen professionals in a blind taste test. Baldanza prepared a rack of lamb followed by a French toast and caramelized apples, using the secret ingredients provided on set.
For the past three years Baldanza has put her cooking skills (passed on from her grandfather and brother) to the test for visitors at Baldanza Café. Largely self-taught, her style wields an artistic balance of colors and textures, using only high-quality, organic, and local ingredients when they are available.
The colorful dishes that led to Baldanza’s success also draw influences from her 27 years of working in the fashion industry, where she would pull apart her work “by color, texture, and pattern” encouraging her audience to “eat with their eyes.”
Being on the show was just another day in the kitchen for Baldanza, who felt at home cooking in front of the camera.
In fact, Cooks vs. Cons isn’t Baldanza’s first time doing so. Dreaming of pursuing a career in food television, she’s presented a few of her recipes on various Connecticut news channels, including a “Mediterranean Power Plate” for CT Style. “I was relaxed once there was a stove in front of me,” she says.