10 Sweet Questions for Dessert First’s Anne Thornton

by in View All Posts, October 22nd, 2010
Anne Thornton's personal faves? Ice cream and anything salty-sweet.

Pastry chef Anne Thornton’s ridiculously delicious Salted Caramel Banana Pudding Pie (and fun, bubbly personality) caught the attention of many a guest — including a few top Food Network execs — at last year’s SWEET event at the NYC Wine & Food Festival. Now, one year later, Anne has joined the FN family with her very own show for the sweets-obsessed: Dessert First.

It’s a dream come true for Anne, who left a corporate career to pursue her passion for food. “I always thought, I’m going to go to culinary school when I retire,” she says. “Then I realized, you don’t have to wait until you retire to do what you like!”

Dessert First premieres this Sunday at noon. Before you tune in to watch Anne make festive Halloween treats (Couture Caramel Apples rolled in fun toppings like popcorn and peanut butter cups; spooky Red Velvet “Brains” Cupcakes), get to know our new pastry gal with 10 questions from the Dish.

1. You majored in finance and worked at Apple before becoming a pastry chef. When did you discover your love of baking?

I’ve loved baking since I was very little. I used to wake up really early, and the only other person who would wake up so early, like after Christmas, was my grandmother, who would be making blueberry muffins for everyone. She put me to work. So that’s how I started. I’ve been baking and cooking my whole life…I studied finance and philosophy, but that was just because there was no major in cooking!

2. Do you have a culinary mentor?

I love Ina Garten. I’m obsessed. But I’d say John Delucie is probably my mentor. He’s the executive chef at the Waverly Inn, and he was the one who put me in pastry. I’d never done pastry professionally before.

3. Favorite place to order dessert?

Grandma’s kitchen! A brownie sundae. I’m basic when it comes to that stuff. I just love ice cream. Take me to any ice cream parlor on the planet.

4. If you had to choose, are you more of a chocolate dessert person or a fruit dessert person?

Put chocolate and fruit together! I love chocolate-covered strawberries, I love white chocolate pear brioche bread pudding.

5. What’s a dessert recipe of your own that you’re most proud of/love the most?

I always say this, so I guess it is my signature — that’s my Salted Caramel Banana Pudding Pie. That’s what started it all when I made it at the SWEET event last year. I make it on the caramel episode of Dessert First.

6. Can’t-live-without ingredient?

Salt. I put salt in everything. Yesterday I made chocolate chip blondies with fleur de sel on top. I love that balance, salty-sweet. That’s my thing.

7. What do you give out to trick-or-treaters?

I love those mini Butterfingers. Those are my favorite things, they’re better than the big ones because there’s more chocolate on them!

8. Favorite Halloween candy as a kid?

I lived in Cleveland and there’s this chocolate place called Malley’s, they make amazing chocolate bars. The people who owned the Cleveland Indians lived in our neighborhood, and of course that was the house everyone wanted to go to because they’d always give out these huge, huge candy bars. We’d go to that house and then say, can we go back again? Will they recognize us?

9. What’s on your Thanksgiving dessert spread?

Pumpkin Maple Pecan Cheesecake. It’s as good as it sounds. Instead of doing a pumpkin pie I do this cheesecake, and it’s really light—well, not light in calories!—but it has this great maple flavor and just tastes like what Thanksgiving’s about. I’m in charge of everything at Thanksgiving—not just dessert!

10. With all the baking going on for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and then the holidays right around the corner, can you give your top three tips for home bakers?

  • No fear. That’s the first step. Don’t be afraid of making desserts; it doesn’t have to be perfect. I’m all about perfectly imperfect.
  • Read the whole recipe. That’s Julia Child’s advice, but I’ll borrow it!
  • Have ice cream on hand. If something goes wrong, who doesn’t love ice cream?

Catch Anne’s TV debut on Dessert First this Sunday at 12pm/11c.

More about Anne:
Follow @anne_thornton on Twitter
Anne on Facebook

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Comments (20)

  1. PinkLibrarian says:

    Can't wait for the debut tomorrow!

  2. Silvy says:

    Can't wait either!!

  3. trisha porter says:

    I think she is confident, talented and beautiful. She actually got me interested in baking.All the best trish

  4. jj cooks says:

    Great. Finally a show with desserts we wont be afraid to make

  5. mcm22grand says:

    sounds yummy

  6. Danielle says:

    SO glad to see a show about desserts & sweets. There's not much on FN for aspiring pastry chefs or at home bakers who want something approachable. Thanks FN!!!

  7. Leese says:

    Looking forward to seeing her style…maybe learning a something new…

    Wish she would dress a little more modest like the others on Food Network…

    • gardener says:

      You're correct. The only other person on the food network who always wears something low-cut is Giada D. Mostly women watch food shows, but regardless who watches it, it's in very bad 'taste'. It's also very weird when people feel the need to dress like that. Few people truly want to see it. There is enough raw stuff on tv; do we really need this on a cooking program? It really angers me when she dresses like that when children are on her show. That's the reason that I don't watch her, plus I don't think she's that great anyway. Obviously got the show because of her grandfather.

      • Nancy Nurse says:

        Oh come on. There is nothing wierd about how Giada dresses. She is wearing normal clothing. I can't understand the mind that thinks that a normal woman's body is weird, or something children shouldn't see. Have you seen how she interacts with her daughter, and other family members including children? She is genuine. And not only women watch food shows. Plenty of men like to cook. And I am not a man.

  8. Trini says:

    MY favortie thing is salty and sweet together. I am really excited to see the new show…

  9. chinapen247 says:

    I love that Miss. Thornton followed what she was passionate about and didn't wait for retirement to make such an exciting leap! I'm a huge food network supporter so I can't wait to see some of her skills on air!

  10. guest says:

    not impressed at all by the show. she looks really uncomfortable in front of the camera and adds a fake laugh into every other sentence. FN has nothing new to offer, and the 'talent' is far from it.

    • ally says:

      love the show… all the desserts look delicious, and the two that i have tried (graveyard cake and pecan rolls) were spectacular! directions clear and easy to follow… hostess is so beautiful – love the young, bubbly personality… found myself smiling and feeling happy just watching her!

    • Guest says:

      Don't like it? Watch something else! I loved it!

    • fn fan says:

      I agree about the fake laugh…can't stand it! but otherwise i like anne and i like the show.

      • gardener says:

        Yes, very fake laugh. She doesn't need it. Why doesn't someone – a director maybe? – see this and tell her to stop?

    • Lisa says:

      I agree. And her command of language is dismal as well. I tried to count the times she used the word "so" (so good, so yummy, so delicious…) but got dizzy! I had an English teacher in middle school who drilled into my brain that the submodifier "so" had to be followed by "that" or "as" either literal or implied, i.e. "So good that I couldn't stop eating" or "So sweet that my teeth hurt". I am so tired of this show I won't be watching again.

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