Another of Fairfield County’s restaurant owners joins the growing list of winners on The Food Network.
Last night Angela Baldanza, owner Baldanza Café in New Canaan cooked her way to victory on Food Network’s Cooks vs Cons. The culinary competition, hosted by Geoffrey Zakarian, sees talented home-cooks go up against kitchen professionals. Angela remained focused and calm and won the prize in the blind taste test with her rack of lamb, followed by French toast and caramelized apple.
Angela, who lives in Pound Ridge has run Baldanza with her family for the past 3 ½ years. She is a self-taught, instinctive cook who excels at creating organic soups and dishes, fresh salads and baked goods. Angela believes she inherited her skills from her grandfather that she shares with her brother, who were both chefs. With family from Genoa to Calabria, she was locked into family traditions, such as the dried mushrooms arriving from Italy in a cheese cloth sack, allowing her Grandmother to make saffron flavored risotto. Angela says: “Cooks vs Cons was one of my best experiences to date. I was not particularly nervous, but I was conscious how I was going to be perceived. I genuinely liked my competitors and we have stayed in touch. It was a long, hard day but such a thrill to win. For me it is always about family and I knew they would be proud.
Before getting into hospitality, Angela was in the fashion industry, with a career spanning 25 years. Her mantra is “food is the new fashion,” as she believes there is an affinity between the two. Angela says: “I started at Bloomingdales when the customer was interested in high end fashion, quality and source of materials. The focus was to make the best garment and food was emerging as “fast food” on the run. Nowadays there has been a switch, because there is more education and awareness about food. Consumers are more conscious of what they are putting into their bodies, rather than on them, hence the emergence of “fast fashion.” We only use high quality ingredients in our food, and people can tell.” Her synergy for fashion and food is further displayed by her careful balance of colors and textures on the plate.
Angela has done numerous local TV cooking spots and is very comfortable in front of the camera. She credits that to her experience in fashion – at the top of her career she was an Executive VP Merchandising for the Jones Apparel Group. Angela concludes: “My mentor has always been Ina Garten. I idolize her and respect how she has built up her brand. This win is so exciting giving our brand more exposure. My goals going forward are to complete our cook book, build baldanza soup kitchen and continue to produce simple recipes using good clean food from sustainable resources.”
Congratulations to Angela. Join her and her family for a delicious meal at…
Baldanza Café, 17 Elm Street, New Canaan, CT 06840
203 966 4000