When you turn on your TV this evening, you may see a familiar face. Frisco resident, and owner of Kess Kravings, Kess Eshun is scheduled to return to the Food Network at 8 p.m. to compete in the third round of season seven of the “Holiday Baking Championship.”
Eshun has excelled through the first two episodes — made up of four challenges — and even won a challenge.
In the season premiere, the 12 pastry chefs competing for the top spot were challenged to make quick bread wreaths and winter hat cakes. Eshun won the wreath challenge with her apple cinnamon bread wreath and placed fifth in the winter hat cake challenge with her personal-favorite Bourbon pecan coconut cake.
Eshun performed well in the second episode, receiving second place with her almond apple coffee cake and fifth place for a chocolate ice cream cake in a challenge that had her prepare a holiday dish with required mango and dried fruits.
Originally from Ghana, Africa, the website for her business, where you can do everything from order food to scheduling a private cooking lesson, describes her creations as a “culinary bridge between African flavors and Western cuisine using French culinary techniques.”
Ahead of the third episode, Eshun took some time to answer a few questions.
How long have you been a chef?
Forever — I started cooking around the the age of six. But, I actually went to college and got a degree in computer science, and I got my master’s in business administration. I kept thinking I was missing something; I just wanted to be a chef.
So, I went to culinary school, and here I am now on TV, competing. Professionally, I’ve been a chef for eight years.
Was it at that age that you realized that was what you wanted to do forever?
At that very young age, I do remember wanting to do that. I was always around my grandmother cooking, and my family members baking, so I kind of picked it up very early. But when I came over to the United States for college, and I told my parents I wanted to be a chef, they told me no. Coming from Africa, the only professions there are, are doctor, lawyer, accountant, you know. Cooking was not part of it. So, they told me, “No, you’re going to go to school and learn how to be a programmer.” So, I did, but I hated it.
I did that for them, but when I started paying my own bills, I enrolled in culinary school. There’s nothing like doing what you love. I’m never tired of it.
What’s your favorite thing to bake? Is this also your most-requested dish?
My coconut pecan cake. I’m from the tropicals in Africa, so I love baking cakes with coconut and a nut. That cake and my Wagyu beef pie are what I receive the most requests of.
What did it take to be part of this competition?
Producers reached out on social media and invited me to be part of the competition.
What are your goals for the future?
I have a lot. First, I want to go ahead and open up my brick-and-mortar shop (in Coppell), which will open in a week or two. Second, I want to expand past Frisco, Coppell, wherever. I want the world to taste what I’m good at.
Which famous chef do you most look up to?
I don’t have a famous chef or anybody like that I look up to; I look up to my mother, and she can cook and bake.
What’s one kitchen appliance you couldn’t live without?
A food processor. I can make all types of things with a food processor: bread dough, pie dough, cake patter, pie crust.