Going Bananas with Chris Tucker
As the saying goes, “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” but let’s face it, that is the way to anyone’s heart! TV’s favorite baker, Chris Tucker, gave Bello an inside look into his journey as a baker, some fun tips on baking, and more! For all you future bakers out there, Tucker recommends starting simple and working your way up! Baking should be a fun experience… and a tasty one! Of course, let’s not forget the infamous banana bread we all yearn for…Haven’t tried baking one before? No worries! Tucker shares his input on how to make a great one. Overall all, Chris Tucker embodies sweetness both in his being and cooking. Time to go bananas!
By Alexandra Bonnet @alexbonnetwrites
Growing up, what was your favorite part about being in the kitchen when someone was cooking?
I was always intrigued about how they were preparing whatever it was they were making! I wanted to absorb everything there was to know, even from a young age!
Can you recall a specific moment in which you felt your relationship with food evolve?
My early 20’s is when my relationship with food took a turn. I started being more interested in why things worked or didn’t, in a recipe, and what flavors complimented each other. That’s when I started developing my own recipes and rolling up my sleeves to get dirty!
What was your favorite type of food growing up?
I grew up in the south so we ate a lot of fried chicken, a lot of biscuits and gravy, and just food made with love. I think to this day I still crave fried chicken from my grandparent’s restaurant (even though I’m vegan).
Banana Bread is currently one of the biggest trends nationally. Share with us why you think that is alongside different ways we can make some with simple ingredients.
Banana bread is made with simple, staple ingredients that people often already have in their kitchens. It dates back to the great depression when times were very similar to now, fewer cell phones and technology. There are a million different ways to make banana bread! You can use butter, olive oil, you can choose to use yogurt or buttermilk. It all depends on the outcome of the flavor that you are looking for. I have a great recipe for Banana Bread on my website I recommend making when you had some old bananas to get rid of!
What are some easy tips you would give to bakers in the making (no matter the age)?
Start with something simple! Don’t try to shoot for the stars and offer to bring a layer cake to your friends socially distant birthday gathering. Banana bread or a simple cookie is a great place to start. Get rid of your measuring cups! The most precise way to bake is by weight measurement so throw out everything you ever saw your mom and grandma do with cup measurements, and buy yourself a scale. The last thing I would advise is to get all of your ingredients out for your recipe before you start making it. As you measure your ingredient, put it away. This is going to eliminate any doubt or if you have already used it in your recipe. Oh, and one more thing… always read your recipe in its entirety at least twice before you start baking!
Tell us more about your “baking kits” and why it was so important for you to donate back to COVID relief.
The baking kits were born out of a need for something fun and positive to do in the age of lockdown, but we also wanted people to have the ability to get fresh, bakery quality pastries from the comfort of their own kitchen! We believe in being charitable and giving back, that’s just how we’ll always be. It goes back to that old saying, it’s better to give than receive and we knew that in this time of crisis, that statement range more true now than it ever has. The Covid-19 fund just seemed like the best place to start when looking for a charity to give a portion of the proceeds to.
What are “must-have” baking essentials everyone should have in their kitchen?
Going back to the kitchen scale, that would be my number one kitchen tool must have! If you’re not someone that does a ton of baking, maybe don’t invest in a stand mixer, but a quality hand mixer is a great tool! Anything that allows us to work smarter, not harder is ideal! A set of nesting bowls for measuring out your ingredients is a must for me. I like to keep very organized while going through a recipe and different sized bowls are great for that. A candy AND digit thermometer are also essential! They both serve different purposes so I would suggest having one of each on hand!
With the holidays coming up, what are some great recipes for family/friends?
For me, the holidays are all about pies and cookies! Actually, I’m in the process of developing an entire line of Gluten-free and Vegan Thanksgiving and Christmas baked goods for delivery and nationwide shipping to take the hassle out of it!
When you are not baking, what does a typical day look like?
When I’m not baking, I am either doing something on the social media side of the business or filming something. I tend to always be working towards the future so I’m mostly in the kitchen. From recipe testing future menu items, to doing live TV segments and interviews, running your own ship takes a lot of time. You’ve heard people say you must love what you do? I’m lucky to love what I do because I just always want to be doing it! Most people aren’t that lucky and it’s not something I take for granted!
What is it like baking on TV versus at home?
I would say the biggest thing, aside from the camera and lights (although, there are days that I light myself in the kitchen if I need to feel special, haha) is the timing! Sometimes you have FIVE minutes for your segment and you are presenting something that would normally take 45 minutes to make. It’s really about going through the process several times in your head and having a few of the finished product ready on standby!
Did you ever get nervous before going on TV? If so, how did you calm yourself?
I used to get nervous when I first fell into this, but not so much anymore. There is always a rush of adrenaline that hits at the “action” call, but it’s smooth sailing from there. This isn’t a career that I sought out. I didn’t move to LA to become an actor or a food personality. Once I decided to focus my energy on my passion and start honing my craft, this all just happened. That’s why I never second guess what I’m meant to.
What can your audience expect next?
My audience can expect to continue to see me on TV, fingers crossed in a larger capacity in 2021. There is also conversations around getting my recipes on paper, in a form of which one could purchase them (wink, wink), and just an expanded leg of charitable giving. We currently have an initiative that is coast to coast in the US, but has also made its way to London, Canada, and the Netherlands!