One Havertown native will be putting his pastries to the test, courtesy of Food Network's Spring Baking Championship.
Dan Langan, 26, will appear on Spring Baking Championship beginning April 10. A self-taught "sugar artist," Dan currently owns and operates the Baked By Dan baking company, and also works as a personal fitness trainer — an unlikely combination of professions he says compliment each other well.
"Professionally, it helps me keep a balance when I'm constantly surrounded by all these baked goods," Langan said in a phone interview Wednesday. "I understand where people who like to indulge are coming from."
Langan will compete against several other bakers, pastry chefs and sugar artists on the program, which awards one winner the top prize of $50,000, as well as the Spring Baking Champion title. Food Network personalities Nancy Fuller, Lorraine Pascale, and Duff Goldman will serve as judges throughout challenges that will focus on specific baked goods, like cakes, brownies, and cookies.
A high-pressure situation, to be sure. Langan, however, says that type of "trial by fire" challenge was part of what attracted him to the show in the first place.
"As a self-taught baker, I have always felt that it was important to put myself up there against pastry chefs who did go to school," he says. "Food Network is an outlet to show that I am just as good as someone who went to pastry school."
So, too, is Langan's Baked By Dan, which specializes in large, creative celebration cakes. Like, for example, a gumball machine cake that looks like the real thing, or a fondant-realistic recreation of a six-pack of Corona, or a wine-and-cheese plate made entirely out of — you guessed it — cake. The possibilities, it seems, are endless.
But despite his elaborate creations, you won't catch Langan taking on any hifalutin culinary titles anytime soon.
"I tend to shy away from 'pastry chef' because I did not go to pastry school," he says. "I consider myself to be an artist in sugar."