According to his website, Chris Falman is called Baker By Design for a reason: This Boston resident is both a “graphic designer and bacon lover turned student of pastry”. It’s this combination of eye for design and love of all things edible that helped turn Chris into one of Pinterest’s most popular users, with over 400,000+ followers.
We recently caught up with Chris to ask him about everything from his Pinterest popularity to love of Kylie Minogue and everything in between.
You have a background in graphic design – what motivated you to make the switch into a full-time pastry designer? What was it that got you into food and cooking in the first place?
It was a number of factors. I was just really not happy with where I worked and started looking for other jobs in graphic design. Nothing was grabbing my attention except for design jobs related to food, but it was hard to interview for them since most of these jobs were far away. One day I was just like, why don’t I just do my own cookbook? I got encouragement from family and friends just went for it. It all just fell into place!
Why did you decide to focus on desserts and pastries?
There’s more of a mystery to pastries and the whole process of it. You can spend all this time making it, and you’re not going to know how it comes out until maybe an hour later after it’s cooked in the oven. Unlike more savory dishes, you can add a little bit more of salt, or a little bit more of this as you go along to make it taste better. But with pastries, you just kind of have to wait to see how it turns out.
When did you start using Pinterest? What was the turning point that helped you amass over 400k followers?
I think I started using Pinterest when it was in the imitation-only phase. There was no real reason I got on it except that I just wanted to try it and that it could be something different. And, being in graphic design, I am a very visual person so it was a natural fit.
As for my large following… I think it’s some sort of fluke. I don’t think I was doing anything that much different than anybody else. I don’t know, one day I kept getting e-mails that I kept getting new followers. I had no clue what was happening. I pin what I like. I don’t think I’m that special or all that different.
How do you feel when people say Pinterest is mostly female dominated? Did you notice at all?
I mean, you can’t help what you like. I don’t like labels and I personally love The Golden Girls…
Do you use Pinterest a lot to look for creative recipes or to inspire your own creations? Have you found any of your favorite recipes through Pinterest?
I used it more before I went to pastry school. One reason I went to pastry school is to learn that if I take this much flour or this much butter, it’ll turn into something good. From that I can work on my own recipes and creations. But, I’ll still use Pinterest to see what’s trending or something and work it in there. After all, if it’s not trending or something other people are currently into nobody’s going to want it.
What’s your favorite dish or ingredient you like to use?
I like food way too much, and like just about anything. However, the one thing I will never use and hate is cilantro. It tastes like soap to me. Sometimes I’ll see other people enjoy it in their food and I just want to know what it tastes like to them so that I can like it.
I do tend to use cinnamon a lot, but I try to mix it up. I notice when I do too many similar things and I try and keep doing something totally different.
How much do you love bacon? If you had to choose between bacon and Kylie Minogue… what would you choose?
That is such a hard question! I would probably say…. Kylie Minogue, because I wouldn’t get a heart attack from having too much of her.
If you could cook a meal for anyone, who would it be and what would you make?
Oh, this is also a hard question. I wouldn’t be able to say a Chef, because then what if they don’t like what I make? It’s a lot of pressure. It’s a cheesy answer, but I would say my closest friends and just have them over and just make them something like chili and pasta and have some good wine.
What would you pick for your last meal?
Anything with dairy. Lots of ice cream and nachos.
What is your favorite restaurant? Who is your favorite chef? Why?
I’ve lived in a lot of great cities that have great food. Like when I lived in Providence, there’s so much good food there. There’s this restaurant there called Tini. The restaurant is tiny. They have only small plates. The menu changes all the time. And the food there is s good. Here in Cambridge I really like the restaurant Rialto. Every time I go there I’m like, blown away.
Do you think you will ever open your own restaurant?
Maybe one day. I just graduated from pastry school a year ago, and then worked at a bakery for about a year. I just started working at another place, so I’m just currently getting a lot of experience and learning the ins and outs of a restaurant. One day I’d like to do my own thing and open my own place. Ultimately, I would like to write and design my own cookbook, going back to why I decided to go to pastry school in the first place.
Any advice for those of us whose friends never trust them around a stove?
Don’t be afraid. If you know someone who cooks, ask them how to do something. Everyone thinks or says that baking is exact, but it’s not really. You know, depending on the humidity, maybe you have to throw in more flour. Or if it’s too dry you’ll have to add more water. Like anything, it just takes practice.
If you’d like keep up to date with what new and interesting food concoctions Chris has up his sleeve, visit his social links below.