By Allison Ganey
We’re just a few days away from Christmas, and less than two weeks from the New Year! To get in the festive spirit, we asked the CEO and founder of Betta With Butta – and Great American Baking Show alumni – Chris Tucker about everything from baking with his grandma to his favorite dessert of the season.
Happy Holidays, Chris! What is your favorite thing to bake this time of year?
Thank you, and Happy Holidays to you as well! Christmas, in my mind, is all about grazing so I like to bake things in small form and create spreads. Cookies are always a hit this time of year but I scale them down a bit so, while enjoying the fruits of the season, you don’t feel guilty if you go in to try everything on the platter!
Your new “Holiday Dessert Boxes” look amazing. How did you choose what to include in them?
Yes, the Holiday Dessert Boxes have been a massive hit, but there’s still time to order! Over the course of quarantine, I discovered that people were really drawn to our gluten-free and vegan options. When it came time to put together the boxes for this cheery time of year, I decided to go completely vegan and gluten-free when developing my recipes. I wanted them to be safe for people to send to any loved one with an allergy or dietary restrictions. No one should be limited to enjoying what the season has to offer just because it does not agree with their system!
I know you grew up baking with your grandma; Did you have a favorite dessert that you most loved baking with her?
The one thing that my Mimi and I would make year after year is her Peanut Butter Balls. They are basically Truffles, but aside from her makeup and fashion, Mimi was a simple woman. This tasty bite was truly something that made the holidays feel special every year. To this day, my family still requests them every year!
What has brought you joy during the pandemic, and what are you most looking forward to doing when it’s over?
Here at Betta With Butta, we have been doing a lot of social activism work which has brought a lot of smiles to us during this trying time. From running food drives to giving away free cakes to kids whose families have been economically impacted by covid, to the current toy drive we are running where we have received hundreds of gifts to donate to a local violence intervention program here in Los Angeles. Giving back is truly a way to get out of one’s self and into the community they live in.
You were a contestant on The Great American Baking Show. Which challenge did you look forward to the most: the Signature, the Technical, or the Showstopper?
Surprisingly enough, I really enjoyed the Technical challenge! It was the more nerve-wracking of the three because it was the only one that we had no time to prep for, but it was always something that I had never made before. It forced me to pull from my memory bank of skills and just figure it out! I surprisingly did well in all the technical challenges which was rewarding, now looking back!