Kid Baker Lucia Calonge Bakes Her Heart Out

The Madeira resident talks about her time on Kids Baking Championship.
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Lucia Calonge didn’t make it to the end of the competition but she’s using what she learned on Kids Baking Championship to help her grow her craft. We spoke to her about her TV debut, her baking career so far, and what she’s been up to since leaving the show.

Illustration by Chris Danger

How did you get started baking?
I have always loved baking because it is a special part of our family. During the start of the pandemic, I began watching Kids Baking Championship with my family and when I saw the amazing kids making amazing desserts, I was incredibly inspired. So I baked and baked and when I was ready, I submitted my application and I made it.

How long have you been baking?

I started baking when I was 2 years old. I would push my little learning tower over to the counter so I could reach counter height and I would help my mom add a cup of flour, a teaspoon of vanilla, whisk the dry ingredients together, or roll and cut out cookie dough. I really started getting into baking on my own when I began watching Kids Baking Championship when I was 8 years old. That’s when I decided I really wanted to bake for Duff [Goldman] and Val [Bertinelli], and I was motivated to do all that I could to become the best baker I can be.

What’s the first baked good you ever made?

The first baked good I ever made was my great grandma Marsala’s sugar cookies. They are not your typical sugar cookie—they are fluffy, crumbly, delicious goodness. A recipe that has been passed down to me from my Italian great grandmother. I put a lot of love into them and use cookie cutters in all different shapes and sanding sugar in lots of fun colors to decorate them.

What was it like competing on the show Kids Baking Championship?

It was a dream come true and I am so proud and grateful for the experience. If I had one wish, I would wish to be on Kids Baking Championship again. I also would love to get asked back to a holiday special. I am so grateful for all of the love and support our amazing Cincinnati community has shown me. Thank you for cheering me on throughout my journey!

What was the best part about the competition?

So many things! The best part about being on Kids Baking Championship was walking into the kitchen. I had to keep pinching myself because I couldn’t believe I was in the kitchen and on the show! I loved meeting Duff, Val, and all my fellow bakers. They are all my lifelong friends now. I also loved being able to bake for Duff and Val. It was a pretty special opportunity to have two of the best pastry chefs in the world giving me feedback on how to become a better baker. I look up to Duff and Val and really value their feedback and advice. I feel I am a better baker and I have grown as a person because of this experience, and I am so thankful. It was also pretty amazing when Duff offered me a job when I’m older because he thought I did a good job decorating my butterfly cake on the first episode!

What’s your favorite thing to bake?

I love to bake all things but if I had to choose one, I would say cakes because I love to decorate them. I also like to draw, so decorating a cake is like having a blank canvas to draw on and it allows me to express my creativity in a different way. Right now, I am having fun trying all kinds of new recipes so I can continue to learn.  And one of the best parts about baking is packaging up the tasty treats and giving them to someone to show I care.

Do you have any favorite bakers that you follow and why?

I am very inspired by who I consider to be the best pastry chef in Cincinnati, Chef Megan Ketover [former contestant on Top Chef: Just Desserts]. She is amazing and I have learned so much from her, and she has also been on a baking competition television show. And of course, I love to follow Duff because I am a huge fan! I love Christina Tosi and had the opportunity to take her amazing online class. She helped me understand how to get creative with my flavors and textures and she’s super fun. And when I’m looking for a great new recipe and/or to learn a new technique, there are so many talented bakers that I learn from online—Mel’s Kitchen Café, Sally’s Baking Addiction, Preppy Kitchen, Mom Loves Baking, Sugar Spun Run, Molly Yeh, Buttermilk by Sam, to name a few of my favorites. My other favorite bakers that are local are all of the bakers at The BonBonerie, which is a very special bakery to me because I have basically grown up going there on a weekly basis. I even had a birthday party in the tea room!

What have you been up to since appearing on the show?

I am happy to share that I have been taking orders and that has been keeping me busy. I am also thinking about selling my treats at the Madeira Farmers Market. It makes my heart happy to give back, so I donate a percentage of all of my sales to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, which is close to my heart. I recently had the amazing opportunity to teach a virtual cookie decorating class at The BonBonerie and we’ve talked about doing an in-person class and meet and greet this summer. A few Girl Scout troops have asked me to teach a class as well. I love to meet other kids who love to bake, teach classes, and help others enjoy baking as much as I do!

Follow Lucia on Instagram at @bakingmywaytoheaven

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